Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part II

[It will probably be best to read or review part I before reading this article.  In addition, it is important to view The Kingdom of God is at Hand, Part II as this provides more insight into Bill Johnson’s theology and its possible New Age implications. Once again, I’m indebted to all those who’ve assisted.  Thank you!]

In part I, we discussed the Christology of Bill Johnson based on his words from a portion of his sermon series titled Jesus Is Our Model as well as quotes from other sources. In part II, we will look further into Johnson’s doctrine and compare it to some other aberrant theology. Here’s the same part of his sermon which was referenced in the first part:

“…Did you know that Jesus was born again? I asked… the first service and they said, “No.” But I will show it. It’s in the Bible. He had to be. He became sin.

In Hebrews 1 it says this, “For to which of the angels did he ever say, ‘You are my son. Today I have begotten you’?” And Acts 13 explains that: “God has fulfilled this for us, their children, in that he has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son, Today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption.” He was born through Mary the first time and through the Resurrection the second time. He was ‘born again.’” [1]

Word of Faith Connections and Disconnections

Kenneth E. Hagin, who borrows heavily from E. W. Kenyon, used the same verses as Johnson in speaking about a ‘born again’ Jesus. Hagin starts out in Hebrews 1:4-5 explaining how Jesus inherited His “more excellent Name”[2]. Then, just as Johnson does (or, perhaps the converse is more correct as it appears Johnson is copying Hagin), Hagin proceeds to Acts 13:33 to ‘explain’ how and when Jesus was born again:

“When was it that Jesus was begotten? When He was raised up! On that Resurrection morn!” [3]

So far this is practically identical to Johnson in terms of the method used although Hagin writes in his idiosyncratic Southern style in explaining his view. While Johnson does not provide his reasons as to why Jesus was ‘born again,’ Hagin does:

“Why did He need to be begotten, or born? Because He became like we were, separated from God. Because He tasted spiritual death for every man. His spirit, His inner man, went to hell in our place.”

“…Physical death would not remove our sins….”

Jesus is the first person ever to be born again.” [4] [emphasis added]

“Spiritual death means something more than separation from God. Spiritual death also means having Satan’s nature.” [5][emphasis in original]

Can we conclude that Johnson may believe that Jesus died spiritually as does Hagin? It’s certainly possible; however, absent an explanation from Johnson himself we are still left wondering. There is one important difference between Hagin’s and Johnsons’ renditions, though. Hagin claims Jesus was “not born as He took on flesh” because He “preexisted with the Father” stating that Jesus “just took upon Himself a body.”[6] Then, he makes the definitive claim that Jesus died spiritually on the Cross requiring that He be born again. However, Johnson states that Jesus was “born through Mary the first time” and had to be ‘born again’ because He ‘became sin’ with no further explanation.

Kenneth E. “Papa” Hagin is known as the “Daddy” of the Word of Faith movement. If that’s the case, then E. W. Kenyon is the grandfather since Hagin largely emulates his teachings. Kenyon’s doctrine has much in common with New Thought [7] and that’s because he was a follower of founder Phineas P. Quimby’s teachings. For an excellent expose on Word of Faith read Atonement Where?[8] by Moreno Dal Bello.

Some New Age doctrine seems to come from New Thought ideology:

“The New Thought movement, which originated in the late 19th and early 20th century, has at its core a belief that a higher power pervades all existence, and that individuals can create their own reality via affirmations, meditation and prayer. Early New Thought groups emerged from a Christian Science background, and many New Thought writers refer back to the Bible as their foundation text. New Thought resembles in some respects New Age philosophy, although some… …groups dismiss a connection….” [9]

While Johnson may diverge a bit from Word of Faith teachings, it seems he has much more in common than not with this false doctrine as much of the rest of this article will confirm.

Baptism in Confusion

There was an unanswered point in part I of this article:

… The view of Jesus being God’s Son at or through the Resurrection is only unorthodox if the belief is that Jesus was not the Son of God before this event….

Bill Johnson quoted Matthew 3:17 from the NKJV, “‘This is My much loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”[10]; so, it would seem that he believes Jesus was the Father’s Son at baptism, if not before. However, the question that remains is if Johnson believes Jesus was divine at any point before baptism. It also seems possible though that Johnson believes Jesus was divine at the Virgin Birth (His Incarnation) even though his claim is that Jesus did not become The Christ until baptism at which point He received this ‘title’ of Christ. As pointed out in part I, this, of course, creates a contradiction within Johnson’s theology as Christ is the transliterated Greek word Christos which is taken from the Hebrew word meaning Messiah of which there can be only one; however, Johnson states we all can receive the same “anointing” as Jesus did. This would mean, in effect, we, too would attain the ‘title’ of Christ – which is tantamount to calling us individual Messiahs!

Passages such as the following from his 2007 book Face To Face With God aid in perpetuating this contradiction:

“…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him.” [11]

Johnson makes it clear that Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist was what is known as the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and it’s this baptism which provided the ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit which Jesus needed to perform the works of His earthly ministry. And, again, it’s this baptism all believers must receive in order to live a life of miracles, signs and wonders according to Johnson. [12]

Johnson explains this by differentiating between the Holy Spirit indwelling which “comes about at our conversion” and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which is “upon” the believer.[13] Johnson declares emphatically “He’s in me for my sake, but He’s upon me for yours! ” in affirming the supposed tangible nature of this “anointing.”[14] He uses the Apostles – the real first century ones – as an example claiming Jesus Christ “breathed” the Holy Spirit indwelling into them in John 20:22:

“…In the lives of Christ’s disciples, we see this take place in John 20:22, when Jesus met with them, ‘breathed on them’ and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ But at His ascension [sic], Jesus told these same people that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them. The Holy Spirit was already in them, but He was going to come upon them with power… ” [15] [emphasis added]

This raises some questions such as: Why didn’t Jesus “breathe” the Holy Spirit in/on them sooner? Given that the 72 were sent out (Luke 10) well before the events recorded in John 20:22 which took place while Jesus was on the earth in his post-resurrection body, why didn’t Jesus have the Holy Spirit indwell them at that time or before? Or did Jesus do this for the 72 and not the eleven (the twelve minus Judas Iscariot)? And, if the 72 weren’t – to use Johnson’s theology – both indwelled with the Holy Spirit and Baptized in the Holy Spirit, how could they have healed the sick and driven out demons?

Johnson states that the Holy Spirit “was already in Jesus’ life” [16] when Jesus received the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” at His Baptism by John. How can this be reconciled with Johnson’s belief that this ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ could only come after Jesus’ Ascension?[17] Since John’s baptism was one of repentance, how could he provide Jesus a “Baptism of the Holy Spirit?”

Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. This was an identifying sign that Jesus was the Son of God. This was not an “impartation.” The Apostle John makes this distinction clear:

32 Then John [the Baptist] gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” [John 1:32-34 NIV]

Orthodox Christianity attests that prior to the events of the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit indwelling was “selective and temporary.”[18] The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit was not available until after Jesus Christ’s Ascension. While most, if not all, Pentecostal and charismatic denominations believe in a second baptism or “blessing” – known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – (also the view is that sometimes these two can occur simultaneously rather than being separate events) many other Christians do not.

Sinless at the Other Side of the Cross

“Jesus Christ was entirely God. He was not a created being, yet He became a man and lived entirely within man’s limitations. His ability to demonstrate power, walk on water, and carry out countless other divine manifestations was completely due to the fact that He was without sin and was totally yielded to the Holy Spirit. He became the model for everyone who would experience the cleansing of sin by the blood of Jesus.

The forgiveness that God gives puts every believer in a place without sin. The only question that remains is how empowered by the Holy Spirit we are willing to be.” [19]

This is worded very poorly and seems to suggest heterodoxy. Johnson can be quite explicit in some passages as he writes; so, it’s curious why he wasn’t more careful with this one. He had already stated that Jesus “laid His divinity aside”[20] and when this statement is added to just the bolded portion in the first paragraph we seem to have a “Jesus” that “became man” (at birth/Incarnation?) and performed supernatural acts “entirely” by yielding to the Holy Spirit’s power. Taking the entire first paragraph as a whole this could lead to the conclusion that during His earthly existence Jesus was not God in human flesh but, rather a man who lived a life powered by the Holy Spirit after Baptism even though He preexisted as God.

The second paragraph of the Johnson quote above creates two problems, especially when viewed in its full context in the whole of both paragraphs. The first is that it can be construed that Jesus could have sinned but did not solely because of submission to the Holy Spirit. Further support for this view comes from this quote from part I: “…He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin…”[21]

Secondly, it can be understood – in fact it seems to state outright – that believers can live a sinless life if they “are willing” to be fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. If this second view is not entirely driven home above, Johnson makes it clear in his words below by claiming believers are now dead to sin and its nature:

“Many believe His power exists only to help us overcome sin. This understanding stops very short of the Father’s intent for us to become witnesses of another world. Doesn’t it seem strange that our whole Christian life should be focused on overcoming something that has already been defeated? Sin and its nature have been yanked out by its roots…”

“…Many in the church are camped on the wrong side of the Cross… …I don’t need power to overcome something [sin] if I’m dead to it” [22] [emphasis added]

The human sin nature does not ever leave us this side of glory since it’s a part of the human condition as a result of the The Fall in the Garden of Eden. It’s a struggle of all humanity – unsaved or saved. The Holy Spirit indwelled believer can choose to be led of the Spirit or to succumb to the sinful nature [cf. Galatians 5:16-26]; but, the believer never lives in a sinless state until the other side of Glory. The Apostle John states it quite succinctly:

“8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” [I John 1:8 NIV]

This is another example of the already but not yet [23] as discussed in both The Kingdom of God is at Hand articles on this blog. The Apostle Paul speaks of the struggle with sin and outlines the process of sanctification in Romans chapters 6, 7, 8 and 12 by a life lived by and through the Spirit. For a good discussion on sanctification see Sanctification – Set Apart.[24]

Kenneth E. Hagin’s view is similar to Johnson’s:

You see, as long as I believe that I receive forgiveness of my sins, and that’s all (not remission, but just forgiveness), then I remain in the position where Satan will dominate me all my life….” [25]

By making the distinction between “forgiveness” and “remission” Hagin seems to be saying that sin will, just like a sickness in remission, be absent from the believer for an indefinite period of time. He also speaks negatively about the Cross while promoting the Resurrection side:

“The Cross is actually a place of defeat, whereas the Resurrection is a place of triumph. When you preach the cross, you’re preaching death, and you leave people in death.” [26]

This negative view of the Cross bears a resemblance to the Theosophic/New Age/occult/esoteric teachings of Alice A. Bailey from a book from 1937:

“The outstanding need of Christianity today is to emphasize the living, risen Christ. We have argued too long over the death of Christ, seeking to impose a narrow sectarian Christ upon the world. We have fed the fires of separation by our Christian divisions, churches, sects and ‘isms.’ ‘Their name is legion,’ and most of them are founded upon some sectarian presentation of the dead Christ, and of the earlier aspects of His story. Let us now unite on the basis of the risen Christ…” [27] [emphasis added]

Notice how Bailey refers to the denominational orthodox Christian view and their focus on “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” [I Corinthians 2:2] as “legion” just like the self-ascribed name of the demons who inhabited the man from the region of the Gerasenes in the account of Mark 5:1-17. While Johnson does not go any where near as far as Bailey does here, he does speak negatively about denominations and “religion” throughout his books; and, at one point he even called our present age the “post-denominational era.” [28]

The question is: why would a New Ager speak positively about any aspect of the Cross? Wouldn’t the New Ager look upon Christianity in general with utter disdain? This question will be answered as we progress through this article and part III. And, why would Johnson and Hagin – purported ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – speak negatively on any aspect of the Cross? Shouldn’t this be the central focus of Christianity as the Apostle Paul stated numerous times?

The Resurrection of the Latter Rain

If there was any doubt, Johnson makes it clear that he adheres to Latter Rain (or New Order of the Latter Rain) doctrine – an aberrant branch of Pentecostalism/charismaticism:

“On the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared that the promise of Joel 2 was fulfilled. …Yet, that day was only the initial fulfillment of the promise – the Spirit was poured out on that day, but there is a day coming in which He will truly be poured out on all flesh….” [29] [bolding from emphasis in original]

The way this is worded it sounds as though Johnson is adhering to universalism – a New Age concept that all will be (or can be) saved.  In a video advertisement for a recent  “Open Heavens” conference (October 13-15, 2010) once again Johnson stresses the word “all”:

 “What does it mean to you when it says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on A-L-L flesh?’ Everywhere I go IS an open heaven. Miracles follow those who believe. Whenever He restores something, he restores it to a place greater than before. I’ve lived without miracles, and I’ve lived with miracles. With miracles is better.” [30]

Continuing with Johnson from the quote above regarding Joel 2:

“…This is a fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit being poured as the early and latter rain. The early rain was the first century, and the latter is now.” [31]

As justification for his position, Johnson uses the water turned to wine at the wedding in Cana and Job’s returned possessions as ‘proof’ that God “saves the best for last” and to disagree with him is “at best pure ignorance or at worst unbelief.”[32] Yet the Assemblies of God – the denomination of which Bill Johnson was formerly a part – denounced Latter Rain as heresy back in 1949.[33]

The Latter Rain movement went underground in the 1950s but emerged again in the 1970s and has gained momentum since then.

Here’s Johnson claiming we can seek to emulate Jesus in His glorified state as described by John in Revelation 1:13-16 by the power of the ‘other side of the Cross:’

“The ‘as He is, so are we’ [1st John 4:17] declaration is far beyond what any of us could have imagined; especially in light of the glorified description of Jesus in Revelation, chapter 1. Yet, the Holy Spirit was sent specifically for this purpose that we might attain… ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’

“The Holy Spirit came with the ultimate assignment at the perfect time. During Jesus’ ministry, it was said, ‘The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.’ …why didn’t the Father send Him until Jesus was glorified? Because without Jesus in His glorified state there was no heavenly model of what we were to become! …As He is, so are we in the world.

“The Christian life is not found on the Cross. It is found because of the Cross. It is His resurrection power that energizes the believer…” [34] [bolding from italicized original; underlining added for emphasis]

Johnson speaks more on this “resurrection power” for the believer:

At some point the reality of the resurrection [sic] must come into play in our lives – we must discover the power of the resurrection [sic] for all who believe.

“…we must follow Him all the way – to a lifestyle empowered by the resurrection!” [35] [bolding from italicized original, underlining added for emphasis]

Johnson’s words above are similar to some of Kenyon’s as taught by Hagin. After stating that as representatives of Christ “[w]e are Christ” “not only collectively, but individually” Hagin quotes 1st John 4:17 just as Johnson does above: “As He is, so are we in this world.” Then he poses the question: “when we get to heaven?” [36] to which he answers:

“No! In this world! Glory!” [37]

And, here Hagin quotes Kenyon directly:

“Oh, that our eyes were open; that our souls would dare rise into the realm of Omnipotence… …that we would act up to our high privileges in Christ Jesus.” [38]

“…so far, none of us have been able to take a permanent place in our privileges and abide where we may enjoy the fullness of this mighty power….

“But we have a conviction that before the Lord Jesus returns, there will be a mighty army of believers who will learn the secret of living in the Name, of reigning in life, living the victorious, transcendent, resurrection life of the Son of God among men….” [39]

“If our minds could only grasp… …that Satan is paralyzed… …it would be easy to live in this Resurrection Realm.” [40] [emphasis added]

Manifest Sons of God: The New Breed

This sounds very close to, if not is by definition, Manifest Sons of God (MSoG) doctrine. Known by other names such as Sonship[not to be confused with the orthodox doctrine of the same name], Overcomers, Joel’s Army and New Breed among others, MSoG is part of Latter Rain (or New Order of the Latter Rain) which teaches that certain individuals can obtain their resurrected, glorified bodies, as in 1st Corinthians 15:35-55, in the here and now before the Rapture and/or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Yet, as verses 51 and 52 of 1st Corinthians make clear, all true believers in Jesus Christ will receive resurrection bodies at the same time. This false teaching is largely based on a faulty interpretation of Romans 8:19-23:

19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. [NIV; emphasis added]

Verses 24 and 25 which follow the above make it clear that this is a future promise; and, as 1st Corinthians 15:50-52 and 1st Thessalonians 4:15-17 attest, the dead in Christ are raised first a nanosecond before the living and all this occurs “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” [NIV] at the same time. No living person precedes another living person and no living person will receive their resurrection body before the dead in Christ receive theirs.

For more on “resurrection power” and “Resurrection Life,” here’s Todd Bentley from August 08, 2008 at Rick Joyner’s Morningstar Ministries speaking of the fourth stage/floor/level he saw in a vision:

“I got up to the fourth floor, the door opened, it was Romans 8, the manifestation of the sons of God, power, dominion, and it was called ‘Resurrection Life.’” [41] [emphasis mine]

Bentley claims that at this point he enquired of God about the difference between raising the dead and “resurrection life.” In his account, God answered explaining that “resurrection life” will result in a coming “corporate anointing” in which people will be raised from the dead just because of “the anointing in the atmosphere.”[42]

“And that’s when I said, ‘God, I’m not focused on raising the dead anymore, I want resurrection life.’

“Do you know raising the dead isn’t something that happens? Raising the dead is a person. Resurrection isn’t something that happens – resurrection is a person. Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection, I am the life.’ Raising the dead is Jesus. When the dead are raised, it’s Jesus. …Resurrection is Jesus, not something that happens.” [43]

Following along with this train of thought leads to the ‘we are Christ, we are Jesus’ similar to Johnson’s ‘Christ anointing.’ Bentley continues:

“God’s going to move the church into such a realm… But, we’re moving into a realm of Romans 8: resurrection life; power; dominion over every sin, sickness, disease, death. …Because everything is the person of Jesus. [ed: panentheism?] And, we are pressing in for that ‘Romans 1:4 anointing.’” [44] [emphasis added]

Bob Jones relates just what this “Romans 1:4 anointing” is:

“What He’s doing now is bringing you to a level of maturity where you grow up. And, if you grow up you’ll never regress, you’ll continue progress year by year. So, what he’s talking about is the New Breed, is this: it’s Romans 1:4 – the spirit of holiness. So, for years I tried to get understanding of what the spirit of holiness is for it’s different than the Holy Spirit…” [45] [emphasis added]

Different than the Holy Spirit?! What ‘spirit’ would THAT be?! Continuing with Bentley:

“Do you know how Jesus was raised from the dead? By the spirit of holiness and declared by the resurrection of the dead…” [46]

Clearly, it was the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus Christ’s lifeless human body. However, it’s less clear which kind of spirit Jones and Bentley are speaking about (or, maybe it’s not). Continuing from the above:

“…And, I just believe there’s an impartation to call forth ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ – the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.’” [47]

True Christians already have the Spirit who raised Jesus Christ from the dead – the Holy Spirit indwelling – and the “hope of glory” at initial conversion. Why the need for a further ‘impartation?’ These ‘impartations’ seem to have more in common with the occult than Christianity especially as Bentley describes them as “levels” or “stages/floors” which sound eerily like “initiations.”

“And, I want to take one moment church, and I want to press in, I want you to press in with me, to go from one floor, to two floors, to three levels, to four. And, let’s progress and let’s say, ‘God, beyond raising the dead, beyond notable miracles, beyond healing, let there be a release in the Church of the realm of glory and power and dominion and authority that affects everything that’s death and decay around us.’ And, it’s true victory, it’s true resurrection life, true resurrection power, and true resurrection glory

People will be made alive – born again.” [48] [emphasis added]

So, according to Bentley, this “resurrection life” makes one or leads one to be ‘born again?’ Going back to Johnson: The original sermon series from which Bill Johnson makes the ‘born again Jesus’ comments is titled Jesus is Our Model – a theme echoed in his books. So, is he saying essentially the same thing as Bentley; i.e., is Johnson saying that we are to become ‘born again’ and achieve “resurrection life” using Jesus as our model given that – according to Johnson in the transcript – Jesus was “born again through the Resurrection?

While it is possible that Johnson means something a bit different than Bentley, the wording and implications look the same. However, one must take into account the fact that Bill Johnson feels so strongly about Todd Bentley that he defended him during Lakeland[49]. [Here’s the corresponding video with him reading an email beginning around the 21:00 mark.] In response to this question: “What do you think of Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival” Johnson answers:

“Have you spent time with Todd? Do you know him? …Have you laid hands on him and prayed? Has he laid hands on you and prayed? Have you grieved over tragedy together? Have you celebrated victory together? Has he sought your counsel?…Have you ever received his counsel?

“I didn’t think so. I have. And I’ll continue to support those who I have walked with in life and ministry. He’s my friend…” [50]

Obviously, they had a close relationship not just in their association within ministry but in their personal lives as well. While this still doesn’t definitively prove a connection regarding their respective doctrines, it shows each was likely aware of the other’s. Also, Johnson lists both Todd Bentley’s Fresh Fire USA Ministries as well as Bob Jones as “Friends”[51] on one of his sites. In his book Face to Face With God, Johnson writes on the New Breed himself:

“We are in the throes of change; a reformation will impact society on all fronts. This is happening largely because today there is a new breed of believer.” [52] [emphasis added]

If that’s not convincing enough when added to all the above that Johnson is teaching MSoG, consider this. Todd Bentley was one of the endorsers on at least two of Bill Johnson’s books: When Heaven Invades Earth and The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind.[53] Similarly, Bill Johnson endorsed four[54] of Bentley’s books including Journey into the Miraculous from 2008 in which he writes in his endorsement:

I love this book. …this book is more than a story about his life. It’s a prophetic declaration of God’s intent for an entire generation….” [55][emphasis added]

The Militant Joel’s Army of the Manifested Sons of God

Right in the first chapter titled “The End-Time Healing Revival” of Bentley’s Journey into the Miraculous are some “prophetic words” of Bob Jones, Paul Cain and even Benny Hinn(!); and, on the very first page:

For 20 years, the prophets have foretold about a youthful generation that will rise up… In 1973, the Lord showed Prophet Bob Jones this coming anointing that would fall on God’s people. Bob told me that I was part of the ‘first fruits’ wave of a billion people whom God would light on fire.” [56] [emphasis added]

Then, referring to a quote of Paul Cain in a section titled “JOEL’S ARMY,” Bentley relates:

“…They’d learn patient endurance, how to demonstrate the power of God, and, having learned all, stand against the enemy. As Christian soldiers, they’d have the mind of Christ, and ‘partake of the heavenly calling, and be a new breed, God’s dread champions.’” [57]

This is “Joel’s mighty army” Bentley is speaking of “as described in Joel chapter 2” who are “the army of God – not a wicked army (as some have thought).”[58] However, it should be noted that Biblical scholars generally agree that the army of Joel 2:1-11 refers to both a locust plague and the Assyrian army who chastened the Nation Israel in the 7th and 8th century BC.[59]  And, there is likely a future fulfillment in the ‘Day of the Lord’ identified in Zechariah 14:2 as an evil army (also see Revelation 9:2-9) arrayed against Jerusalem which will be defeated by the Lord Himself (Zech 14:3-4; Rev 19:15).

In the following, Bentley quotes Paul Cain from the Grace City Report Special Prophetic Edition, from Fall 1989:

“‘They are the ones with feet of iron not mixed of clay, with the wisdom of God alone, not imitators of other men of God. Some of the superstars of the church will fall. The Lord will have an army of holy anointed vessels to usher in His Kingdom so that no one man can take credit for it. It will be to the glory of God alone.’” [60]

For those unaware, according to the Latter Rain view, Joel’s Army/Manifested Sons of God will be exacting judgment and penalty unto death if necessary upon those in the Church who do not go along with this “end-times move of the Spirit” as per Rick Joyner’s “vision” in The Final Quest [61] and earlier MorningStar Journals from Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries. This dispensing of “God’s judgment” or “cleansing of evil” was spoken of in Constance Cumbey’s 1985 book A Planned Deception as one of the stated goals of both New Agers and Manifested Sons of God[62]. This “old-order brethren” is referenced in Bentley’s book as spoken of here in the following quote from Paul Cain’s You Can Become the Word! at a 1989 Vineyard Prophetic Conference:

“…God has invited us to have a role in establishing a new order of ChristianityGod is offering to this generation something He has never offered to any other generation…beware lest old-order brethren rob you and steal this hope from you.” [63] [emphasis added]

Oddly, Bentley even quotes Jewel Grewe of Discernment Ministries(!) from one of her Discernment Newsletters in quoting Paul Cain:

“As Paul Cain says, these days will be marked by miracles; ‘All the sick are gonna be healed, the dead are gonna be raised and nations are gonna turn to God in a day.’ (Bob Jones and Paul Cain, Selections from the Kansas City Prophets, audiotape from discernment newsletter).” [64] [all as per original except bolding/underlining for emphasis]

Since Bill Johnson endorsed Bentley’s Journey into the Supernatural and claims that he “loves this book,” it’s fair to say he agrees with Bentley’s views regarding Joel’s Army as stated in the quotes above. Then, by extension, perhaps Johnson agrees with Todd Bentley’s and Bob Jones’ words from the 08/08/08 DVD as referenced above as well especially since Johnson has already identified with the New Breed which is another name for Joel’s Army or Manifest Sons of God.

A New Age Christ?

Here’s Johnson teaching more MSoG in a You Tube video:

“…It’s the Spirit of God that makes this thing [the Bible, which he’s holding] come alive to where we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again, where we become the living illustration and manifestation of what God is saying.” [65] [emphasis mine]

The bolded portion above is reminiscent of what is known as “birthing the man-child”[66] – yet another euphemism for the purported Manifested Sons of God. Also, it needs to be noted that this bolded portion sounds like it relates to the title of the piece from the Vineyard Prophetic Conference of Paul Cain mentioned above: You Can Become the Word! In addition, the above quote sounds quite a bit like some words by the late Earl Paulk from his 1985 book Held in the Heavens Until…:

The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, was conceived in the womb of a virgin. The Word became flesh in the God man, Jesus Christ… Likewise, the Word of God must be made flesh in the Church in order for us to bear witness to the Kingdom which God has called us to demonstrate” [67] [emphasis added]

“…Natural conception and birth graphically symbolize God’s offspring in His Church. The Church is the womb of God’s Kingdom. God wants to quicken His Word, to bring it alive in us, causing us to live by His Word, not by sight or natural understanding.” [68] [emphasis added]

All things have been given to us, even to the point of allowing us to share the divine nature of Jesus. Sharing His nature is a definition of the ongoing incarnation of God on the earth. ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory.’ His inheritance is already ours.” [69][emphasis added]

Taken together, these quotes seem quite similar to the New Age view of bringing in the “Kingdom of God” as mentioned in the “New Age Kingdom” section of The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II article on this blog.

By quoting “Christ in us, the hope of glory” as Paulk and Bentley both do, the implication in their respective contexts above seems to infer our own divinity. This sounds eerily similar to the New Age/Theosophic/esoteric/occult teachings of Alice A. Bailey working as a medium for one of the “Masters of Wisdom” identified as “Master DK” or “Djwhal Khul” from her 1948 book The Reappearance of the Christ:

“…Inherent in the human consciousness… …is a sense of divinity. …‘As He is, so are we in this world.’ (1 John IV:17) is another Biblical statement. …‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’ is the triumphant affirmation of St. Paul.” [70]

Of course, both Johnson and Hagin quote 1st John 4:17 above in the “Resurrection of the Latter Rain” section. Restating part of Johnson’s quote:

“The ‘as He is, so are we’ [1st John 4:17] declaration is far beyond what any of us could have imagined; especially in light of the glorified description of Jesus in Revelation, chapter 1. Yet, the Holy Spirit was sent specifically for this purpose that we might attain… ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’

“…why didn’t the Father send Him [the Holy Spirit] until Jesus was glorified? Because without Jesus in His glorified state there was no heavenly model of what we were to become! …As He is, so are we in the world.

“The Christian life is not found on the Cross. It is found because of the Cross. It is His resurrection power that energizes the believer…” [71] [bolding from italicized original; bold/underlining added for emphasis]

This focus on the “Resurrection side of the Cross” at the expense of the Cross itself as Johnson, Hagin, Bentley and others do above, as evidenced by quotes in this article, is yet another aspect of the New Age religion as referenced in the “Sinless at the Other Side of Cross” section above. Quoting Bailey again in The Destiny of the Nations from 1949:

“In the Aquarian Age, the Risen Christ… …will not this time demonstrate the perfected life of the Son of God, which was his main mission before; He will appear as the supreme Head of the Spiritual Hierarchy, meeting the need of the thirsty nations of the world – thirsty for truth, for right human relations and for loving understanding. He will be recognized this time by all and in His Own Person will testify to the fact of the resurrection and hence demonstrate the paralleling fact of immortality of the soul, of the spiritual man. The emphasis during the past two thousand years has been on death; it has coloured all the teaching of the orthodox; only one day in the year has been dedicated to the thought of the resurrection. The emphasis in the Aquarian Age will be on life and freedom from the tomb of matter, and this is the note which will distinguish the new world religion from all that have preceded it.” [72]

This “death” emphasized over “the past two thousand years” is the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The “paralleling fact of immortality of the soul” is the ‘fact’ of “inherent divinity.” This “Spiritual Hierarchy” is also known as the “Masters of Wisdom” who are, in reality, demons. Their “Risen Christ” is actually referring to the coming antichrist.

Are Bill Johnson and company teaching and preaching a New Age Christ whether unwittingly or wittingly?

Endnotes:

[1] “ewenhuffman” Jesus is our Model- Sermon of the week 20 Dec 09. <http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2009/12/23/jesus-is-our-model-sermon-of-the-week-20-dec-09/> 33:48 to 34:57; as accessed 11/08/10
[2] Hagin, Kenneth E. The Name of Jesus. 1979, 3rd printing 1981; Rhema Bible Church aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries / Faith Library, Tulsa, OK; p 28
[3] ibid.
[4] ibid. p 29
[5] ibid. p 31
[6] ibid. p28
[7] Affiliated New Thought Network The Philosophy of New Thought. <http://www.newthought.org/new_thought.html>; as accessed 11/08/10
[8] THE WORD on the The Word of Faith (a GroupBlog) Atonement Where? By Moreno Dal Bello <http://thewordonthewordoffaithinfoblog.com/2010/10/15/atonement-where-1-mdbello/>; as accessed 11/08/10
[9] Hare, John Bruno / Internet Sacred Text Archive New Thought. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/nth/index.htm>; as accessed 11/08/10
[10] Johnson, Bill When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 99
[11] Johnson, Bill Face to Face with God. 2007; Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL; p 77
[12] ibid. p 99-102
[13] ibid. p 78
[14] Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 134
[15] Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 78
[16] ibid. p 21-22
[17] Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 145
[18] Got Questions? What Was the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament? <http://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-Old-Testament.html>; par 4; as accessed 11/08/10
[19] Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 199
[20] Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 79
[21] ibid.
[22] ibid. p 110
[23] Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stewart How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. second edition, 1993; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 133-134
[24] AllaboutGOD.com / All About Following Jesus Sanctification – Set Apart. <http://www.allaboutfollowingjesus.org/sanctification.htm>; as accessed 11/08/10
[25] Hagin, Op.cit. p 55
[26] Hagin, Kenneth E. The Believer’s Authority. 1986, 2nd ed.; Rhema Bible Church aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries / Faith Library; Tulsa, OK; p 16
[27] Bailey, Alice A. From Bethlehem to Calvary. Copyright 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis Trust, 4th paperback edition, 1989; Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; pp 238-239
[28] Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 90
[29] Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 76
[30] ibethelTV Open Heavens 2010. < http://vimeo.com/15808994 > as accessed 03/26/11
[31] ibid. pp 76-77
[32] ibid. p 77
[33] Wikipedia The General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America. “Relations with other denominations and renewal movements” <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Council_of_the_Assemblies_of_God_in_the_United_States_of_America>; as accessed 11/08/10
[34] Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 145
[35] ibid. p 146
[36] Hagin, Op.cit. The Name of Jesus. pp 106-107
[37] ibid. p 107
[38] ibid. p 49
[39] ibid. p 52
[40] ibid. p 53
[41] Bentley, Todd Todd Bentley Healing and Impartation Service 08-08-08. DVD; available at MorningStar Ministries Store <http://www.morningstarministries.org/Store/Products/1000013034/MorningStar_Store/Media_Store/Teaching_Sets/All_Teaching_Sets/DVD_Teaching_Sets/Todd_Bentley_Healing.aspx>; 1953:26 – 1953:37
[42] ibid. 1953:37 – 1954:44
[43] ibid. 1955:18 – 1956:00
[44] ibid. 1956:00 – 1956:38
[45] ibid. 1934:39 – 1935:10 (Bob Jones speaking)
[46] ibid. 1956:38 – 1956:46
[47] ibid. 1956:46 – 1957:00
[48] ibid. 1956:58 – 1957:53
[49] Bill Johnson Ministries, Questions and Answers. “UPDATE: What do you think about Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival? June ‘08” <http://www.bjm.org/questions/11/update-what-do-you-think-about-todd-bentley-and-the-lakeland-revival.html?file=regarding-todd-bentley>; as accessed 11/08/10
[50] ibid.
[51] Bill Johnson Ministries, Friends. <http://www.bjm.org/friends.html>
[52] Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 139
[53] Both books from Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., copyright 2003 and 2005 respectively
[54] Journey into the Miraculous, Sound of Fire Productions, Ltd.; 2003 / Journey into the Miraculous, Destiny Image; January 1, 2008 / “Endorsements” ; The Reality of the Supernatural World, Destiny Image; June 1, 2008; “Endorsements” / Kingdom Rising, Destiny Image; October 1, 2008: pp 15-17
[55] Bentley, Todd Journey into the Miraculous. 2008; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; “Endorsements”
[56] ibid. pp 21-22
[57] ibid. pp 22-23
[58] ibid. p 23
[59] Gaebelein, Frank E., Gen. Ed. “Joel.” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1985; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 245-250. with contribution by Richard D. Patterson
[60] Bentley, Op.cit. p 23
[61] Joyner, Rick The Final Quest. 1996, 2nd ed.; MorningStar Publications, Charlotte, NC; pp 36-38
[62] Cumbey, Constance A Planned Deception. 1985; Pointe Publishers, East Detroit, MI; p 172
[63] Bentley, Op.cit. pp 24-25
[64] ibid. p 25
[65] “whizzpopping” You Tube video, Bill Johnson – Friendship with God. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4RZ_ctiwlE&gt>; 1:24 – 1:37; as accessed 11/08/10
[66] Booth, Tricia (formerly Tillin), The Birthpangs of a New Age. “The Birth of the Manchild” <http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/latterrain/manchild.html>; as accessed 11/08/10
[67] Paulk, Earl, Held in the Heavens Until…. 1985; K Dimension, Atlanta, GA; p 156
[68] ibid.
[69] ibid. p 197
[70] Bailey, Alice A. The Reappearance of the Christ. 1948, Lucis Trust, 9th printing 1979 (4th Paperback ed.); Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, NY; p 145
[71] Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 145
[72] Bailey, Alice A. The Destiny of the Nations. 1949, Lucis Trust, 5th printing 1974 (2nd Paperback ed.); Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, NY; pp 150-151

94 Responses to Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part II

  1. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I « CrossWise

  2. cherylu says:

    Craig and all who have contributed to this article,

    You have obviously put a lot of time and research into all of this and pulled a lot of information together here. Thanks so much for all of your work!

    I do believe that the New Age/occult teachings and the MSOG teachings are running on parallel tracks in many ways. Not only are the teachings the same, but the experiences coming out of both belief systems seem to be identical too in many ways. (That, of course, is probably another whole topic.).

    Unless God Himself derails this whole system, I am thinking that “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

  3. Craig says:

    I believe we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Things are getting worse; and, I believe the sides are getting more polarized.

  4. Becky says:

    they are deceived and deceiving!

  5. cherylu says:

    I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before both groups decide it is time to start the physical removal of those that stand in the way of their plans.

  6. desean jones says:

    That is in the back of my mind also. Take courage. God is with us and knows what we will face for him. desean

  7. Rod Page says:

    Hi Craig – give me an email sometime – thanks for the comment on my blog…
    God bless
    Rod

  8. Scott says:

    Kind of a sidenote, but related in a way.

    ‎”Nothing had been done if Christ had only endured corporeal death. In order to interpose between us and God’s anger, and satisfy his righteous judgment, it was necessary that he should feel the weight of divine vengeance. Whence also it was necessary that he should engage, as it were, at close quarters with the powers …of hell and the horrors of eternal death.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.16.10. –
    So what is Calvin actually saying here? Sounds….Word Faith like?

  9. Craig says:

    At first blush this may sound as though Calvin is saying that Jesus Died Spiritually. However, I think the key here are his words “at close quarters with the powers” as this, to me, means ‘close’ but not the same as. What are the words missing in the ellipse before “of hell and the horrors of eternal death?”

  10. Scott says:

    Actually there should be no ellipse in there. I think I’m on your wavelength emphasizing the phrase “at close quarters” (not the same as). And here is the rest of section number 10 from chapter 16…this helps flesh it out a bit more, now that I look at it:

    “We lately quoted from the Prophet, that the “chastisement of our peace was laid upon him” that he “was bruised for our iniquities” that he “bore our infirmities;” expressions which intimate, that, like a sponsor and surety for the guilty, and, as it were, subjected to condemnation, he undertook and paid all the penalties which must have been exacted from them, the only exception being, that the pains of death could not hold him. Hence there is nothing strange in its being said that he descended to hell, seeing he endured the death which is inflicted on the wicked by an angry God. It is frivolous and ridiculous to object that in this way the order is perverted, it being absurd that an event which preceded burial should be placed after it. But after explaining what Christ endured in the sight of man, the Creed appropriately adds the invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he endured before God, to teach us that not only was the body of Christ given up as the price of redemption, but that there was a greater and more excellent price—that he bore in his soul the tortures of condemned and ruined man.”

    Someone the other day used just the small snippet that I originally posted to apparently point out that even Calvin believed Christ had to go to Hell as part of the atonement…so I guess Hagin and everybody aren’t so bad after all…

  11. Craig says:

    Ahh, the ol’ prooftexting method — taking things out of context to further an agenda. That’s one of the marks of a cult.

  12. Craig says:

    Well cherylu, the time may be soon if Bill Winston get’s his way:

    http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/prophetic-insight/29536-a-time-for-justice#readmore

    I have been teaching for several months that we are in a “set time” for the manifestation of God’s people. We are standing in the midst of what God has been prophesying for generations. The kingdom of God is here, and I believe it is our responsibility to wrap this age up.

    There ya go. It’s the church’s responsibility to get the job down.

    In Psalm 102:13 David makes a prophetic statement during his prayer saying, “You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come.” In this passage, “Zion” refers to the church and “set time” to an actual chronological moment in history when something will occur.

    And, here we have Replacement Theology — Replacing promises of Israel with the “church.”

  13. cherylu says:

    Interesting article there. TIme for the church to wrap things up. Hmmm. I’d sure like to know how these folks can perpetually ignore the New Testament and keep taking things out of context in the Old Testament.

    Did you notice all the “entities” listed at the end of the article that this church has? Two shopping malls/plazas for instance? And many more entities that weren’t listed?? I wonder if this is part of the great wealth transfer we have kept hearing about? Humph–since when was the New Testament church supposed to be involved big time in running business any way?

  14. Craig says:

    I decided to make Bill Winston’s ‘word’ into an article.

  15. JD says:

    Craig,

    Once again you have outdone yourself. One must also remember the timing involved here as well. 1975 was to be the year that the “great work” was taken public by the Esotericists. This directly coincides with the boom of popularity of these types of teachings within Christendom. I would also like to point out this passage from page 622 of Bailey’s The Externalization of the Hierarchy:

    “Secondly, the critical activity which is conditioning the spiritual Hierarchy, from the Christ Himself down to the lowest aspirant to be found on the periphery of that centre where the love of God has full play. There it is fully realised that (in the words of St. Paul) “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God”. It is for that manifestation that They now prepare, these “Sons of God Who are the Sons of Men”; it is for this coming forth to outer service that They are already-one by one-entering into outer activity upon the physical plane.”

    Sound familiar? Outside of the Esoteric context, this is the MSOG doctrine to the letter.

  16. Craig says:

    JD,

    Yes, strange coincidence, eh?

    The Bailey book From Bethlehem to Calvary is a virtual blueprint for the “aspirant” to attain MSoG status. This will be brought forth and explained in more detail in BJ III.

  17. JD says:

    Craig,

    I assumed you would push farther in the next part and as such I look forward to it.

  18. Craig says:

    Watch out for the Pleiadians:

    “…No, this is not mental illness. I know it sounds that way to people who this is not happening to; but I have over a 100,000 people on this planet that are having the same experiences I am having. This is not insanity, this is Ascension….”

    Wow…

  19. JD says:

    Craig,

    WOW!!! This one is out there. It sounds to me like she has been spending too much time believing the garbage that comes from Jordan Maxwell and David Icke and not enough time picking the fleas from the faux leopard.

  20. Sylvia says:

    Oh my, I have been offline for a bit and came to catch up today. There is masses more deception emerging which is increasingly becoming more and more subtle.
    Craig your time and effort in your research is immensely appreciated thank you so much. You have a gift that not everyone possesses, in digging deep and making clear things that are so easy to pass over in it’s subtlety.

    As for this ‘watch out for the latest ‘Pleiadians’ link………..I’m rendered speechless that even one simple soul could give credence to it. “God help us”.

  21. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I « m'kayla's korner

  22. Pingback: Crosswise – Born Again Jesus part 2 « m'kayla's korner

  23. Craig says:

    While Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has by and large dangerous false teaching, there is one teacher who is consistently both Biblically accurate and very good as a teacher. He’s James Merritt of Touching Lives. Today’s sermon was titled “Birth Day” which is about being born again. Excellent sermon! You can view it by clicking on the podcast at the link above in this comment. Merritt has a doctorate in theology yet he doesn’t feel the need to refer to himself as “Dr. James Merritt.” His style is simple and conversational yet he goes in depth in his sermons.

    It’s nice to give a good report instead of writing about all the things that are wrong within Christendom.

  24. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s “Born Again” Jesus, Part II « DiscernIt

  25. It amazes me how people are still caught up in the heresies of the WOF preachers. It is truly sad to see people manipulated into believing this stuff.

  26. Craig says:

    Bill Johnson is more subtle — less “in your face” WoF — than others.

  27. Craig says:

    Early this morning I had TBN on; and, an old broadcast was played – Paul Crouch himself said it was June 7, 1998. Kim Clement had just ‘prophesied’ over Crouch; and, following that, Crouch said that in Joel 2:28 it says, “I will pour out my spirit on ALL flesh” emphasizing “all” and stating this has not happened just yet and that it will happen in the future. This is Latter Rain/River teaching and smacks of New Age universalism.

    Scholars agree that this Joel verse and the corresponding Acts 2:17 verse mean that at that first Day of Pentecost began the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers in Christ and that this would continue until Jesus Christ returns. The word “all” is meant to include men, women and children of all ethnic groups, old and young, rich or poor. Contrary to Crouch, this HAS happened although surely not all believers are yet saved.

    A little bit later Clement was ‘prophesying’ over the younger Matt Crouch using “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) and “as He is, so are we in the world” (1 John 4:17) which is very definite Latter Rain/River terminology and which is also quite possibly New Age/New Spirituality/Theosophic as stated in the last section titled “A New Age Christ?”

  28. Craig,

    I wonder if you would be prepared to publish both you letter/email to Bill Johnson and his reply as I assume that you have first spoken with him to point out his “error” prior to taking other brothers with you and then, bringing it before the whole church as you have on your blog.

    I appreciate applying Matthew 15 in this Global Village Church age is a little difficult but assume that you have at least corresponded prior to calling for him to be ejected from the “universal” church family.

    You have commented on my Blog regarding Bill Johnson so you will know that I too have some reservations but, in grace, I am looking to investigate, attend events, read, pray and I hope one day to meet with him over a coffee to ask him (I have always shot for the sky). I remain open to the Holy Spirit and trust him to lead, teach and train me in this. I am sure that my theology, and possibly yours too on occasion is in error and so would want on those occasions for grace from others and a gentle spirit to privately point out my error leaving me time and space to put it right which might mean, if I publicly made the error, to publicly correct it, but it would be for me to do.

    It concerns me a little that we, the church, so publicly air our “internal” disagreements where those who don’t yet know Jesus see nothing but us airing our “dirty laundry” often before we have followed Jesus guidance for dealing with internal disagreements. All they see is “us Christians constantly disagreeing even amongst ourselves”

    So, sorry I have taken rather longer to say this than I intended, but wondered what correspondence you have had, or attempted, in order to implement the Matthew 15 principle for dealing with error/sin prior to making your public statements.

    Many thanks

    Andy

  29. Craig says:

    Andy,

    Thanks for your comments. I presume you are referring to Matthew 18:15-17. While I personally have not attempted contact with Bill Johnson, I do know others who have over the course of time. To date, there’s been no response. This is very common regarding false teaching from accounts I’ve read over the years.

    I have conferred with others as to whether I should first attempt contact before publishing this series of articles. The overwhelming consensus was that it was unnecessary. In reality, Matthew 18 does not apply to public communication. Public communication should be dealt with in a public manner. I contend that Matthew 18 applies more to sin against the individual (although all sin is against God, of course) rather than one made publicly.

    Bill Johnson or any member of his staff is welcome to post a reply here. If any of my findings are found to be in error, then I would welcome feedback so that this could be corrected. However, I’ve done many hours of reading, research with the leading of the Holy Spirit; and, I’m confident that what is published is factual.

    Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sudducees publicly. And, the Apostles did the same with false teachers going so far as naming names. The words of Paul in I Corinthians 5:12-13 are instructive:

    12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” [NIV]

    Those are pretty harsh words. This had to do with sexual sin, of course; however, isn’t false teaching more culpable? Shouldn’t it be dealt with even more harshly than any other as it can endanger eternal life? However, I have not called for Bill Johnson to be “ejected from the ‘universal’ church family” as you charge. I would truly like for him to repent of his sin of perpetuating false teaching in order to help bring back those he has lost along the way. However, I would like for you to note that Johnson has, in effect attempted to damn me and others who are against his “anointing” by labeling us (incorrectly and unscripturally) as antichrist. If you haven’t done so, read the latter part of “The ‘Anointing'” section of the first part of this article. Have you read and digested both parts of this article?

    This is not a matter of making a small error in exegesis. This isn’t just a minor doctrinal difference as one denomination may differ from another. Johnson is teaching a different Jesus and a different Christ and this one does not lead to a saving faith. This is a BIG DEAL. You will likely benefit from reading my newest post Just a Touch of Arsenic.

    You are correct that I’ve commented on your blog; however, you never have released my comment.

    You may not be aware but “Global Village” is a blatant New Age / New Spirituality term which has more to do with Gaia (earth) worship which is either pantheistic or panentheistic depending upon the belief of the individual using the term. And, I should point out that Johnson’s Jesus has more in common with the New Age / New Spirituality version than orthodox Christianity — a point which will be brought forth in the third part.

    While I do find the overall tone of your comment respectful, I would like to point out something: you could have chosen to question me privately by sending me an email rather than posting this comment.

  30. cherylu says:

    Andy,

    While I do not have any official capacity and I do not have a blog, I am a frequent commentor on blogs like Craig’s. And just so you know, I DID try to contact Bill Johnson directly some time ago. I used the “contact” section on his blog–the only way I had available to try and get in touch with him. Other then an obviously computer generated “thank you for contacting us, we are very busy, we will try to get back to you” type e-mail, I have heard absolutely nothing. I tried to get info directly from him and have been completely ignored.

    I have also read of others that have tried to contact him with no success. So what choice does one have except the route Craig and others have taken? And after all, they have done many hours of reading of his own materials to come to the conclusions that they have drawn. I agree with Craig. This is a very serious matter that is leading many people far astray. When false teaching is being spread far and wide and many are being affected, the warning needs to be given loudly and clearly.

  31. IWTT says:

    You can tell alot about a group if you do enough research… Looking at this man’s church web site I happened upon their book store. I find you can see what a church supports by what they sell.

    In their current book list they have:

    Mahesh Chavda
    Bill Johnson
    Ethridge (alot of intimacy and marriage stuff)
    and a few other authors.

    So in reality Mr. Robinson, you support Bill Johnson and his teachings and you seem to have done a drive by just as others in the BJ camp have done when the investigation of some of his teaching were being done.

    People come and tell us we are wrong but then when invited to continue the discussion to prove us wrong we never hear from them again. Will you be back?

  32. mbaker says:

    Andy,

    After reading your website, I am wondering if you could contact Bill Johnson personally and have him come over here himself and refute any of this he feels is either wrong or deliberately attacking him personally. It seems to me the real issue is a comparison of his theology with the Bible and that his teachings are not matching up. It also seems to me that should be your greater concern because at the least his wording is misleading, and at most challenges one of the most essential beliefs of the faith, which is the divinity of Christ.

    Obviously if he has nothing to hide, or meant something else entirely, it shouldn’t be a problem for HIM to address this important issue personally himself, if for no other reason than to clear things up.

  33. Bill Fawcett says:

    Is the concept of not airing dirty laundry biblical?

    No. In fact, God’s promise is that those thing that are done in secret will be revealed.

    Brother Bill Johnson has not offended me. His public teaching has offended me, but again its the teaching, not the personality.

    I would not worry about the unsaved being put off because of “dirty laundry.” My God is so much bigger than that – He is Mighty to save. I think that people of the world are tired of cover-ups and pretense and would be attracted to the truth for a change. The church has no need to hide disagreements among itself. read the Bible, for Pete’s sake. You probably would have told Paul to hush as well.

    But let me get to the bottom line: You have no business bringing up Matthew 18 (15 in your bible) when its patently obvious that you did not confront him privately first. You whitewashed wall!

    I hope this gets you thinking; I do not mean to be harsh. Think about it,

    -Bill

  34. Craig,

    Sorry you felt I should have emailed you personally my intention was not to offend in anyway. Your comment on my site, which I have now got round to releasing by the way, invited me to comment directly on your site. I agree you did say relating to the article itself and so my question is not directly related to it so apologies again.

    Thank you for taking the time to reply too and am pleased that “cherylu” did in fact try to contact Bill Johnson and the team at Bethel – good to know.

    I will continue to read your stuff and watch and look with interest as I continue in my personal investigation.

  35. Craig says:

    Andy,

    Thanks for releasing my comment on your site and for your subsequent comment here after your initial one.

    My first comment to you regarding contacting me privately as opposed to publicly was more to get you to see the inherent hypocrisy in that. In suggesting I should first privately contact Bill Johnson while you chose to question me publicly seems a bit contradictory, does it not? ‘Nuff said on that as I do appreciate the fact that you came back for further investigation.

    What do you think of Johnson’s claim that we “receive the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus” (see quote at note [11]) and that Jesus did not earn the ‘title’ of “Christ” until His baptism? And, what about his focus on the ‘resurrection side’ (see [33] and [34]) rather than being “camped on the wrong side of the Cross” (quote at [22])?

  36. Craig says:

    http://vimeo.com/15439302

    In an advertisement for a recent “Open Heaven” conference (October 13-15, 2010) including Che Ahn, Shawn Bolz, and Bill Johnson, Johnson states the following:

    “What does it mean to you when it says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on A-L-L flesh?’ Everywhere I go IS an open heaven. Miracles follow those who believe. Whenever He restores something, he restores it to a place greater than before. I’ve lived without miracles, and I’ve lived with miracles. With miracles is better.”

    In citing the Acts 2:17/Joel 2:28 verse, is Johnson promoting universalism as was questioned in the “Resurrection of the Latter Rain” section of this article? The way he stresses the word “ALL” and in context with the rest, it would seem that way to me. Anyone else?

  37. Craig says:

    There’s a prophetic conference coming up which will be held at Bethel:

    https://www.ibethel.org/site/events/2010/10/piercing-the-darkness-conference-redding-ca?referer=front_page

    Among the individuals listed is “seer” or “prophet” Bob Jones. Here’s part of the brief blurb on him:

    When only seven years old and walking on a dirt road in Arkansas; the Arch Angel Gabriel appeared to Bob Jones on a white horse and blew a double silver trumpet in his face. He then threw an old bull skin mantle at Bob’s feet…

    Bob moves with a clear revelatory gifting, accompanied by gifts of healing and miracles.

    Jones has been proven false numerous times, yet he is still exalted as a “prophet of God.”

  38. Craig says:

    …and, I didn’t know Gabriel was “The Arch Angel.”

  39. cherylu says:

    The stated purpose of the upcoming conference at Bethel? “This conference will equip you to dig beyond the hard crust of earthly perspectives and mine the valuable gems that lie generations deep in individuals, cities and countries. If you have been called to be a prophetic history maker this conference is for you.”

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not at all sure that makes a whole lot of sense. How on earth do “valuable gems lie generations deep in individuals”??

  40. Craig says:

    Well, it can be understood if looked at from an esoteric perspective — the belief in reincarnation and “past lives” of individuals.

  41. Pat says:

    Craig,
    It may not be worth your time but in the past few weeks myself and a dear friend have had contact with a former pastor who is entrenched in WoF/Bill Johnson doctrine. The communication was initiated by the pastor with my friend concerning Bill Johnson / Born again Jesus. We both sent this pastor several links to look at, one of which was your articles on this topic. His responses to these links were typical; however I wanted to know if you would be interested in reading the pastor’s responses and or respond to them (since he addresses your site specifically) also it may be of benefit to someone who possibly may be still involved with these ministries but are having doubts about them. Let me know if you are interested and I will either post on your site or email them to you. Thanks for all you do. Blessings

  42. Craig says:

    Pat,

    Oh it’s definitely worth my time! Contact me via my “About” tab so that I can see the communication. I may just post some of his comments here for all to see with my own response.

  43. Craig says:

    Upon further consideration I decided not to pursue anything regarding this former pastor. Feel free, though, to invite him over here to make his comments. If he’s sincere in his concern and/or criticism, certainly he’d want to clear the matter up, wouldn’t he?

  44. Craig says:

    While looking for something else this evening, I came across this Alice A. Bailey quote:

    Christ taught us when He came before the true meaning of Renunciation or of the Crucifixion; this time His message will be concerned with the resurrection life [emphasis in original]
    – “The Reappearance of the Christ” [p 23]

    That’s a more explicit and succinct quote than was used in the last section of this article and the words “resurrection life” are identical to Bentley’s above and similar enough to Johnson’s and Hagin’s

  45. Craig says:

    Part of comment by “dave” moved from Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II by administrator:

    Does Christ dwelling in us mean we’re perfect and sinless? No, obviously not, despite Kris Valloton walking around Bethel’s stage talking about going days without sinning. Good for you, Kris. Since a mistake is not a sin, you can make all the ‘mistakes’ you want without sinning, i suppose. The problem is, you don’t look any deeper into the roots of why you’re making those ‘mistakes’ so maybe your sin runs deeper than you think it does.

    Wow! Do you have a video/audio or something to substantiate that re: Vallotton? Not that I disbelieve you; but, I’d like to post it.

    This would not be surprising to me judging by the comments of Bill Johnson and Kenneth E. Hagin shown in the “Sinless at the Other Side of the Cross” section in this article.

  46. Mike says:

    Craig,
    As Pat pointed out, we have had comunication via e-mail with a former Pastor of our who is intrenched in Bill Johnson’s doctrines and teachings. While it was our desire to reach and warn him his responces were to the contrary. He claims “Bill Johnson isn’t as controversial as some people seem to wish him to be.” I don’t wish anything of the kind myself, but it is his attempted to ignore the obvious. He goes on to say “there are some people out there taht have problems with some minor issues concerning Bill Johnson and other. In an effort to make themselves feel better about the little things they have resorted to distortion about what Bill believes…They claim to be knowledgable but they have no love.” However he prefers to listen to those who edify not those who have no message other than to point out the supposed errors of other. In his opinion those who focus on finding the counterfeit often find themselves becoming the counterfeit.
    He was provided several links, yours was one of them, to look at. Sadly, his excuse is a few clips and misquotes from the internet aren’t going to change his mind. Besides, he heard it all in context and knows what was really said and what Bill Johnson really means when he said it. Some how, people like you and I are just missing the point according to him. In his mind, though he lives 2000 miles away from Bill Johnson, and according to him, he has watched Bill Johnsons life, and even shook his hand, we are all wrong. In his own words, speaking of you and Justin Peters “Craig, the guy writing it clearly didn’t lisen to Bill Johnson’s whole message. Then he added pieces from Bill’s books and did his best to make Bill say he didn’t believe in the deity of Christ. But the truth is that Craig is just flat out wrong. Also, I checked out Justin Peters. While he seems like a nice guy I did find one thing that makes me sad.Justin Peters doesn’t have one message abailable online where he does anything other than attack and tear down what he believes to be wrong…Justin Peter has unwittingly become the Devil’s advocate and supported division in the body of Christ. May God have mercy on him and others like him.”
    It becomes clear, as I see it, that this Pastor is delusional and sadly, this is the kind of leadership we have in our churches today.

  47. Mike says:

    Just one more thing, I doubt this Pastor read all of your article, but I am amazed that he can determine that your are “just flat out right wrong” and that Justin Peters has become the devils advocate dividing the body of Christ buy just looking at a few video clips on the Internet. You see, he is what he proposes others to be. He did what he claims we do.

  48. Craig says:

    Given that I posted the full, unedited sermon right at the beginning of the article, why would the pastor assume I’ve not listened to it? And, how does that negate the facts of what was presented? I quoted Johnson’s words EXACTLY as he said them; so, I don’t understand what his objection is. If he feels I’ve misquoted Johnson or taken him out of context, I invite him to state that here. I’m certainly not infallible; but, I’m reasonably sure I have the facts correct on this as I’ve spent many hours of researching reading and listening to Johnson’s material.

    I’m not writing about “minor issues” as claiming that Jesus “had to be” ‘born again’ because “He became sin” points to His diety. Did Jesus truly “become sin?”

  49. Craig says:

    Perhaps the pastor fancies himself the accuser of the accuser of the brethren.

  50. Pat says:

    Below are a few more quotes from this pastor, with the hopes that he will come here and set the record straight, because some of his statements are to say the least troubling.

    “I have been listening to Bill Johnson for about 5 years. I have spoken to him personally, prayed with him and watched his life. ”

    “I know that Bill says things that are sometimes misunderstood just as I have. But he really isn’t as controversial as some people seem to wish him to be.”

    “I have heard people say he doesn’t believe in Christ’s deity. Knowing Bill’s teaching from hours of listening I can tell you that he very much believes in the deity of Christ. In fact, on the key core values of the Christian faith, he believes all of the things I have believed and taught for 30 years,”

    “So, without really reading his books or really listening to his overall message, they gather quotes and pieces. They claim to be knowledgeable but they have no love. (1 Cor. 8:1)”

    “I prefer to listen to those who edify (build up) not those who have no message other than to point out the supposed errors of others. I have never heard Bill Johnson speak negatively of another minister. He simply does his best to present what he believes God is showing him.”

    “He doesn’t claim to be perfect. He often admits he doesn’t have it all figured out. I don’t know anybody who does. I am constantly amazed by people who have time to focus on listening to people they say they don’t agree with rather than feeding on the truth they say they do believe.”

    “If Bill Johnson is dishing out a bunch of garbage as some say, why do they spend large amounts of time and energy digging through something that doesn’t benefit them instead of feeding on all the good God has.”

    “Spending one’s life tearing down is a waste compared with spending one’s life building up. If people know the genuine, then they won’t be fooled by the counterfeit. But those who focus on finding the counterfeit often find themselves becoming counterfeit.”

    “The issue isn’t about the exact words, but what Bill Johnson meant by his words. Like if I say, “That Corvette is one bad car.” Did I mean the car was no good or did I mean the car was real good? Two people could quote me but only the one who really knew me would understand what I was saying.”

    “I don’t doubt that I heard the message and I don’t doubt that I took what he said in the context of both the whole message itself and the context of his overall teaching which I have found to be overwhelmingly positive.”There is a clear (and Biblical) explanation for what Bill Johnson said concerning Jesus being “born again” just as there is a clear explanation for what Jesus said in John 6 but to do so would only extend that endless debate.”

  51. Craig says:

    “Two people could quote me but only the one who really knew me would understand what I was saying.”

    It seems as the pastor is prejudging those who are speaking against the falsehoods in Johnson’s doctrine. However, he doesn’t know me; so, I’d say it’s a tad hypocritical to claim that I somehow cannot take Johnson’s words, compare them to the Plumbline and show where those words fall short because I don’t know Johnson personally.

    That’s not to mention that Johnson’s own words contradict each other. How can Johnson claim that Jesus was sinless, yet claim Jesus “had to be” ‘born again’ because “He became sin?”

    I would like to hear/read the pastor’s “clear (and Biblical) explanation” to Johnson’s words regarding Jesus being ‘born again’ as quoted at the beginning of this article.

  52. Craig says:

    When did Jesus become Christ? According to Johnson this was a “title” He received at Baptism. By logical conclusion then Jesus was not Christ before His Baptism; and, further, this would have to mean that Jesus was not Diety before then. Does the pastor not have a problem with that?

    This is from chapter 7 of When Heaven Invades Earth which contains quite a few problematic passages which are explained in “The Anointing” section of part I of this series. I challenge the pastor to show me where that portion is either in error or misquoted.

  53. Craig says:

    I’d be curious as to the pastor’s view of Bob Jones:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/bethel-to-feature-bob-jones-at-upcoming-prophetic-conference/

    I would think it fair to say that hosting a prophetic conference with Bob Jones as a, or THE, featured speaker represents a tacit endorsement of Jones a bona fide true prophet of God by Bethel/Johnson. Yet, I think it clear that Jones is by very definition a false prophet.

  54. Craig says:

    And, I wonder what he would think about the inconsistencies laid out in these two posts regarding the “Library Mandate”:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/bill-johnsons-library-mandate/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/update-bill-johnsons-library-mandate/

  55. Craig says:

    I did not notice this one earlier:

    “So, without really reading his books or really listening to his overall message, they gather quotes and pieces….”

    Once again, that’s a prejudgment. The thing is I HAVE read through both When Heaven Invades Earth and Face to Face with God more than once and I have much of these highlighted. There are quite a few passages I read through a dozen times or more as I wanted to be sure I did not misquote Johnson.

    And, again, if anyone feels I’ve misquoted Johnson, I invite them to show me.

  56. mbaker says:

    I too hope that pastor, if he has a loving heart himself, will come here and discuss the issues he has with Craig’s article in person in a more irenic and direct manner. Bill Johnson has avoided all attempts to explain what he meant, although several of us here have tried to contact him, and either have been ignored or received a form letter.

    It seems to me that we need to balance our personal admiration (or otherwise) for a person, with whether or not they are teaching correct theology, and especially in a pastor’s case who has sway over so many others. Blind loyalty to a teacher/ preacher/ prophet/pastor is not a good thing, as I have found out over the years the hard way. I don’t believe it is right for those in charge of congregations to think what they teach is above question, no more than I think it is prudent for their followers to defend what they are teaching simply because of they admire the teacher.

    While I am pretty sure it was not Craig’s intention to judge Bill Johnson personally or to question his salvation, we are all told to be Bereans, especially in this age of so much questionable teaching within the church. So, it seems to me that if this pastor feels as strongly as he seems too, he should be willing to meet Craig on biblical grounds, and show exactly where he thinks anything here is off with the Bible, which after all supposed to be the yardstick we measure our teachings within the church by, not our spiritual gurus.

  57. Scott says:

    Notice the similarities between the above statement:
    “Spending one’s life tearing down is a waste compared with spending one’s life building up. If people know the genuine, then they won’t be fooled by the counterfeit. But those who focus on finding the counterfeit often find themselves becoming counterfeit.”

    And this, from Rick Joyner:
    “Few who devote themselves to studying cults or deviant doctrines are able to distinguish the true word of the Lord, and usually their hearts are ultimately darkened by the very evil they seek to expose. We will be changed into that which we are beholding (II Corinthians 3:18). There is an implied warning in the Lord’s message to the church in Thyatira about ‘knowing the deep things of Satan’ (Revelation 2:24). The more we focus on what is wrong, or the practices of the evil one, the more we, ourselves, will be changed into the nature of what we are seeing.” (Mobilizing the Army of God, pg. 156) – I actually came across this quote in reading a Rick Joyner piece by Let us Reason, linked to by the Sola Dei Gloria blog. I thought the similarities in the two quotes were uncanny.

  58. Pat says:

    mbaker,

    Well said and we too have been there done that and yes it is a very hard lesson learned. I also agree that “Bill Johnson has avoided all attempts to explain what he meant”…..you would think that being a 5th generation pastor that he would be quick to point out exactly what he means.

    The pastor consistently uses “misunderstood or mistake”, this of course is after the statements of “misquoted” or “not in context” to make sure that all the bases are covered, just in case someone doesn’t misquote or take out of context what has been said, as with Craig and this article. We have heard this all before and countless times from this pastor as these phrase seems to be his mantra in taking no responsibility for his own actions.

    Well if someone is misunderstood wouldn’t they be quick to clarify? If someone makes a mistake, would they continue to make it over and over again in their teachings? A misunderstanding is something that can be cleared up and quickly. A mistake is something that can be acknowledge and corrected.
    If that’s not enough the pastor goes on to say “The issue isn’t about the exact words, but what Bill Johnson meant by his words” So in his mind he has all the bases covered.

    So if it’s not a MISQUOTE ….it’s a MISTAKE ….or a MISUNDERSTANDING ….or that’s not what he MEANT to say.

    One would think that as much as Bill Johnson and those who flock to him speak of love and relationship. that he would go to extraordinary lengths to set the record straight, especially within the body of Christ. Yet we hear nothing of the sort from his lips, and the false teachings continue and grow.

  59. Craig says:

    Scott,

    Astute observation. Most of these guys imitate one another. These statements are at once both fear tactics and diversionary tactics away from the one’s who would speak out against them and/or those they follow/defend. And, then there’s the prejudgment aspect of this in that those who expose cults, errors, apostasy, falsehoods, etc. must not be studying the true.

    Joyner, like Bob Jones in the Breaker, Breaker 1:9 “word” misquotes II Corinthians 3:18. From the Jones’ article:

    “Bob Jones has a rather fanciful way of interpreting Scripture. In context, the II Corintians 3:16-18 passages are stating that at the moment of true salvation the veil is lifted from the believer so that his spiritual eyes can see. And, once this veil has been removed the believer is brought closer and closer to Christ-likeness by the Spirit. The believer, then, is an ever-increasing reflection of the Glory of the Lord….”

    So, here is further proof that those in this crowd copy one another. They are a mutual admiration society defending one another rather than the Cross of Christ – Christ and Him crucified, as the Apostle Paul would say. Of course, Johnson says it’s the Resurrection which brings the power to the Christian. Curious that the Bible does not teach this. Johnson in fact claims with the following that it wasn’t Jesus’ death on the Cross which conquered “sin and hell,” it was His Resurrection:

    “…Religion is unable to mimic the life of resurrection with its victory over sin and hell.” [p 147; 2003 edition]

    [I would think being able to find these quotes is proof I’ve read the book contrary to the pastor’s assertion.]

    Yet, Scripture proves it’s the Cross which conquered sin, NOT the Resurrection (Col 2:14-15; I Peter 2:24).

  60. Mike says:

    Wow Scott, I’m amazed at the similarities between this Pastor’s quote and Rick Joyner. Some how anyone casting light on their darkness is simply displaying odious behavor while they on the other hand are showing the love of Jesus, inspite of their false doctrine. Does that mean that the Apostle John was counterfiet or an antichrist when he said “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; BECAUSE MANY false prophets have gone out into the world? 1 John 4:1. According to 1 Cor. 14:29 no one, not even a person exercising a spiritual gift is exempt from accountability to the chuch. Paul said in 1 Cor. 11:31-32 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
    The utter unaccountability of Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, and this Pastor in view is alarming especially when you concider that Jesus commended the Ephesians who have tested those who say they are apostles and have found them to be liars. As a result, Jesus applied these attributes to their account, they persevered, had patience, and have labored “for MY NAME’S SAKE, and have not become weary. Rev. 2.
    I know that I am not beyond accountability, and if I mess up I welcome correction, so why the adversion of these men to answer those of us who would hold them accountable to the Word of God?

  61. Mike says:

    Oops, didn’t see your answer there Craig, awesome answer and you are right on. I love the truth.

  62. mbaker says:

    Pat,

    Thanks.

    This quote to me was quite telling:

    “…..the pastor goes on to say “The issue isn’t about the exact words, but what Bill Johnson meant by his
    words”

    I wonder does that mean, according to him, that we all get a pass to interpret the Bible by our own meanings as as well?

    As you noted, It’s also interesting that he has personally criticized those in the flock instead, who are pointing out the flagrant errors themselves, as unloving. Yet, he is not willing to stand up and correct the impressions he’s giving to others that he is okay with the violations of some of the most essential teachings of Christianity that come from the shepherds themselves? How loving and relational to Christ Himself, as the Head of the church, if one of those that He has appointed to serve others doesn’t protect THEM from questionable teachings and practices in the first place?

    I’ve asked this of other pastors before, and I’ll say it again: Why is it the flock that has to protect itself nowadays, when that’s supposed to be the shepherd’s job, at least according to Christ Himself?

    So, according to that pastor’s quote above, and what we’ve heard from other Bethelites, we aren’t supposed to go by the exact words of the Good Shepherd Himself when He said ” My sheep know my voice.”, but by what He could have or might have meant instead, like “Chew the meat ,and spit out the bones?”

    Don’t think I’d even want to go there at all if I were a pastor who was supposed to be committed to teaching the word of God and yet was changing it to what he thought it should mean instead, especially keeping in mind that scripture says those who teach will judged more harshly.

    Or does that have another meaning to this pastor and Johnson and company too?

  63. cherylu says:

    Something else bothers me about all of this. I always thought that in English, or any other language, words had meaning. It seems like that is an outdated thought these days! Granted words may have any number of meanings or nuances of meaning. However to say that it isnt’ the exact words Johnson used but what he meant by his words seems to me to be a bit disingenous. Of course we can take things out of context and make them say something other then they were meant to say. That doesn’t seem to me to be the case here of what is happening though. If someone repeatedly uses words to express his theolgy in a way that they aren’t normally used and that people listening aren’t going to undersand–or will not understand if reading a whole book written by him–maybe he is not doing too well at communicating. Is everything BJ says like the analogy this pastor uses about “one bad car?” Or is this just another excuse to gloss over bad theology?

    Words have to have meaning or we lose the purpose of language altogether.

  64. Pat says:

    Cherylu

    Agree, it’s alarming to realize that these men are in a profession where what they say and speak directly impacts the lives (both temporal and eternal) of masses of people. It would be one thing if they were in a profession that doesn’t revolve solely around what they are communicating. Not to mention the fact that they are “supposedly” speaking and interpreting Biblical truths.

    If they are having so many difficulties in conveying what they REALLY mean, wouldn’t they make at least some efforts to correct the misunderstanding, mistakes, or the metaphors. Being that they are in the business of “saving souls” it seems that one would walk circumspectly with fear and trembling.

    Yet we see and hear more of the same coming out of their mouths with no explanation, or we get a list of excuses so that the misunderstandings and mistakes fall at the feet of the hearers rather than the speaker/teachers.

    Imagine them being math teachers, or teaching science……and communicating the “facts/truths” as they do the scripture. Maybe a better line of work for them would be in an arena where communication is not necessary….pushing a broom, washing dishes or driving a bus.

  65. Craig says:

    The following comment posted by “inerrantword” has been moved from the Open Challenge post by administration (Craig). This is a personal testimony regarding Bethel’s influence and how the individual eventually broke free.
    ______________________________________________________________

    Here are the links:

    Part 1 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/a-dangerous-journal-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-1/

    Part 2 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/hidden-dangers-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-2/

    Part 3 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/uncovering-the-dark-deception-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-3/

    Part 4 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/what-is-a-false-jesus-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-4/

    I hope people learn from this…

  66. cherylu says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your testimony!

    And I am so thankful that God opened your eyes to see what was going on.

    The list of reasonings you gave that folks use to convince others that these things are truly of God are so very familiar. Except for a very few, I heard the exact same things.

  67. Craig says:

    Comment from NOLR History moved by administration:

    It appears that Bill Johnson’s theology is really a re-packaging of the 2nd Century Arian heresy that Jesus and Christ are two different entities. Latter Rain leader Bill Britton wrote a book on this decades ago called, “Jesus: The Pattern Son” where Jesus is a pattern that we can emulate to become a “Manifest Son of God.”

    “In the beginning God made mankind in His image (Gen. 1:26). Theologians have speculated on what the image was like, but the Bible tells us specifically what the image was. He fashioned the First Adam after Jesus, the Second Adam, who is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, His express image (Heb. 1:3). Anyone who saw Jesus experienced the time-space manifestation of God. If Jesus was the express image of God, and He was, He was the pattern God used to make man, and He wants to make you like Him. ” etc. etc.

    http://www.gem-international.org/kingdomlife/bill_britton_pattern.htm

    Major current teacher of Manifest Sons of God:

    Earl Paulk
    Grace Bible
    Apostolic Churches
    Oral Roberts
    Paul Cain
    William Branham
    Bill Britton
    George Warnock
    Franklin Hall
    John Robert Stevens
    Hawtin Brothers
    Sam Fife
    Myrtle and James Beall
    David Wesley Myland
    Benny Hinn

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/thirdwaveteachings.html

  68. Craig says:

    NOLR History,

    A quick correction before I proceed: Arius (b 250 or 256; d 336) was from the 3rd and 4th centuries. This is very important as the 2nd century is a period in which a dualistic Gnostic [all matter is evil, all spirit is good] view was prevalent. Many scholars assumed that Arius adhered to this belief.

    It is interesting that you bring up Arianism as I was interested in the Christology of Arius as it may compare to Johnson’s theology; but, I was most interested in his soteriology (view of salvation) as I think this is crucial. In my view, a particular theological stance is only beneficial as it relates to salvation. If someone’s going to propagate a view, certianly they’ll consider what’s in it for them.

    Interestingly, just yesterday I found at a local used book store a copy of Robert C. Gregg’s and Dennis E. Groh’s book Early Arianism and it contains just what I was looking for! I’ve barely skimmed the book; but, right on the inside of the dust jacket is:

    “…Taking a socio-historical approach to the examination of significant sources, [the authors] provide an original perspective on this formative period of Christology.

    “The heart of early Arian theology rests not in the doctrine of God but in a scheme of salvation in which the redeemer brought and modeled the salvation into which all creatures were to grow. The Christology, soteriology, and cosmology of Arius and circle grew out of their conviction that what Scripture said about the redeemer had to be predicated also of the redeemed. Fundamentally the Arian’s theology focused on a Christology in which the Son of God shared the limitations of creaturely temptation, suffering, and ignorance but did not succumb. Instead, Christ became a faithful and obedient servant of God’s will and advanced through the virtue to divine adoption as a son. This was the same obedience to the divine will that God has set forth for all creatures and, hence, Christ’s pre-cosmic and earthly work is seen to be representative of and for all creatures. It is a soteriological scheme which built its guarantees upon a theology of divine will as opposed to a newly emerging Alexandrian episcopal theology.”

    The authors also dispel the popular belief that Arius adhered to the tenets of Gnostic dualism.

    I see a possible connection here to Johnson — not wholly, of course — but, there’s enough to draw some parallels. Is Johnson teaching Manifest Sons of God (MSoG)? According to this particular article of this thread, I think the facts do point this way.

  69. Craig says:

    As I was re-reading portions of When Heaven Invades Earth, I came across this quote which states quite clearly that, according to Johnson, our model is the Ascended Jesus:

    Is there any unforgiveness in heaven? No! Heaven provides the model for our relationships here on earth. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”13 These verses make it quite clear that our model is Jesus Christ… the One ascended to the right hand of the Father … the One whose Kingdom we seek. [p 61; emphasis added]

    The footnote reference is Ephesians 4:32-5:1:

    32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

    “Imitators of God,” eh?

    This further defines his claim in the above article which seemed to construe this very thing, “as He is, so are we in the world.”

    MSoG.

    [I just update this comment as I somehow missed a VERY important portion!]

  70. Pingback: “Christ” in the New Age « CrossWise

  71. matt says:

    You asked me on another forum about the 72. They were working under the authority”anointing” of Jesus He had recieved from the Father for the specific task at hand. Hence why even Judas could cast out demons. In me for my sake means the indwelling Holy Spirit we recieve upon salvation to internally guide us. The power anointing(authority) is for ministry. Like when David was anointed by Samuel to be king. The anointing has to do with leading(authority). He is on me for your sake means I’m anointed or carry authority to carry out whatever mission I may have for God. The anointing gives me the authority to do it(without authority from God I can’t pastor a church, teach, heal). I think we would have to admit not everyone is anointed for a pastoral role. That doesn’t mean they are any less saved or less in God’s Kingdom. It just has to do with their role. The upper room was about being equipped to spread the gospel. Being anointed for the task at hand for the sake of the people. Amounts to the reason right after they had a large influx added to the church. The anointing gives us the authority, the Spirit transforms us to handle it.

  72. matt says:

    I want to state unlike in my other forum post that I’m still learning on this issue and any scriptural understanding would be greatly appreciated. I just want to state where I stand now straight up no apology. I however admit I’m flawed and could be wrong. When I comment however I tend to do it without softening anything. That does not mean I’m set in stone on this interpretation.

  73. matt says:

    Psalms 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Could this be the anointing He recieve at the Baptism. The indwelling Spirit inside Him, still fully God. This anointing set him above”possibly authority”, over His bretheren. This was authority was given to the Son of Man for going thirty years without sin. Regaining authority in this realm through obedience in the flesh. ?

  74. Craig says:

    Matt,

    It was only after Jesus’ Ascension that the Holy Spirit would come to permanently indwell believers. That was Pentecost and from that point forward all true believers would receive the Holy Spirit indwelling. Prior to Pentecost there were no ‘born again’ believers. Each one, in the entire OT and in the NT pre-Ascension, was gifted for a specific time period for a specific purpose. Once the purpose of God was through, the Holy Spirit no longer was ‘inside’ the individual. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit became permanent and all ‘born again’ believers are “sealed by the Holy Spirit” [II Cor 1:21-22, Eph 1:13-14].

    The problem with Johnson’s theology, as illustrated in the “Baptism in Confusion” section, is that it’s self-contradictory. If, as he claims, John 20:21 is indicating merely the initial Holy Spirit indwelling, which is separate from the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” which would come at Pentecost, then how did the Apostles do the works they performed in Matthew 10 to include casting out demons and healing the sick, etc.? The obvious answer is that there are not two separate “anointings,” but rather one. Again, in the OT and in the NT before Jesus’ Ascension, these empowerings were for specific purposes and not permanent as they are now. Otherwise, why would Jesus blow on them to receive the Holy Spirit in John 20:21 only to make them wait until Pentecost to receive the power when they apparently already had an “initial indwelling” (to try to explain this using the Johnson theology) prior to the events of Matthew 10? Did the Twelve receive the “initial indwelling” + the “power anointing” prior to going out in Matthew 10 yet subsequently lose both before the event recorded in John 20:21? Did they have to get “re-born-again?” Of course not. I’m only pointing out the self-contradictions inherent in the Johnson theology.

    Furthermore, how did the 72 do their works (as well as the Twelve in Matt 10) when the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” — the “power baptism,” according to Johnson — did not come until Pentecost? How did Jesus Himself receive a “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” before His own Ascension? This whole notion that Jesus supposedly received a “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” reeks of blasphemy. The implication is that it reduces Jesus Christ to a mere man and elevates humans to deity.

    I don’t wish to get into a debate of whether the “second blessing” usually called “the Baptism of [or “in”] the Holy Spirit” of Pentecostalism/Charismaticism is valid or not. The point of this post is Johnson’s flawed theology.

    As far as spiritual gifts, the Spirit gives to each as He determines [I Cor 12:11], which I interpret to mean the Holy Spirit can provide a gifting for merely a one time occurrence and not necessarily a lifetime although this does not preclude a lifetime gifting.

  75. Craig says:

    Matt,

    I’m glad to hear you are open to changing your interpretation.

  76. Craig says:

    Matt,

    The term Christos which is the Greek word for “Christ” means “Anointed One.” He was already anointed “from the beginning.”

    With your “…obedience in the flesh” you are, once again, in the territory of Nestorianism.

  77. Craig says:

    I should add also the Holy Spirit’s function as laid out in I Cor 12:11 includes multiple spiritual giftings, of course.

  78. Matt says:

    I guess when I started this I should have clearly told my approach to this forum. I’m seeking truth. However, if I lull around the subjects to not step on toes I feel it would disservice both of us. I want to take a clear stand from whatever point of view I’m arguing. I assumed that is what you were doing as well. That we were all mutually benefiting and pulling no punches. The only person or word that is 100% right is God and His Word. I’ve really benefited and can tell you that my beliefs have been shaped from this site. Like a piece of stone in the hands of a carver, one chip at a time till I look like my Saviour not like Craig or W.B. but we all see in part so if we remain flexible can come to a better conclusion.

  79. Craig says:

    Matt, you wrote: “ but we all see in part so if we remain flexible can come to a better conclusion.

    I’m not exactly sure what you are meaning here; but, if you’re looking for a consensus, i.e., if you’re looking for a ‘happy medium,’ so to speak, between your views and mine, for example, I can tell you that is not the correct way to look at theology and especially Christology. If I’m wrong on my perception, please let me know.

    You say you are seeking truth, which is, of course, a noble cause; and, you say you’ve changed your views. Praise God! Which view or views have you changed? Are you now in agreement with the Biblical truth regarding Jesus Christ’s human and divine natures by adhering to the hypostatic union?

    By the way, you wouldn’t want to look like me. I’m as flawed as any other human. But, I’ve studied the Word, and especially with regard to what I put forth on this site. It does not mean I’m infallible. However, I’m very careful, as I said, so I look to reputable sources for Biblical interpretation. The Councils are a great place to start on doctrines which are not very easy to phrase in a way that’s not confusing or even treading into heresy. And, these Councils, those that are cited here, are almost universally agreed upon by the Church at large. Those who do not agree with these councils fall outside of orthodox Biblical Christianity and as such cannot truly claim to be Christian.

  80. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    You just made this statement, “The Councils are a great place to start on doctrines which are not very easy to phrase in a way that’s not confusing or even treading into heresy. And, these Councils, those that are cited here, are almost universally agreed upon by the Church at large. Those who do not agree with these councils fall outside of orthodox Biblical Christianity and as such cannot truly claim to be Christian.”

    Again, maybe I am taking what you are saying in a way other then what you meant . And I am not arguing in any way that the creeds are not wonderful statments of truth and doctrine. But it sounds like you are saying that if people don’t believe every nuance of what these creeds teach here–in this case every nuance of the hypostatic union as stated in these creeds, they are no saved.

    If this is not what you meant, would you please clarify for us?

    Thanks so much.

  81. cherylu says:

    “they are no saved.” That should of course be, “they are not saved.”

    My typos continue to plague me.

  82. Craig says:

    cherlyu,

    By the word “Those” I was intending churches. An example would include Unitarian churches. These churches clearly teach “another Jesus.” And, yes, individuals in those churches who accept that particular “Jesus” are not saved.

  83. Craig says:

    On the typos issue, I have an advantage as moderator/owner of the blog as I can quickly correct any typos of my own I catch. Of course, those who subscribe to the comments can compare my initial comment and my corrected one and see my initial mistakes. We all do our best!

  84. cherylu says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Craig..

  85. Craig says:

    You’re welcome and thanks for the question. I did not word that very well.

  86. Jared says:

    At least Bill Johnson isn’t telling people to NOT pray for the sick, etc.

    I’m not at all an apologetic for him or anyone else, I think I am just tired from a morning of researching everything negative about Bill Johnson and the other “big time” preachers. I understand that most of you guys are intelectuals or just plain smart and are just expressing your concern for the “sheep” that are being mislead. Personality and temperaments obviously play a huge role in how each of us responds/reacts to these things happening around us. I for one, do not appreciate “big time” church culture, as very simply, Jesus did not appreciate His “Father’s house” being turned into a business district! Perhaps thats where all the error is rooted? Maybe these preachers have to keep coming up with new ways to draw the crowds and keep the said crowds interested?

    Sigh.

    All I know, is that in the midst of troubles (That seem to have now manifest after making decisions to bow ONLY to Jesus), I still wake up with hope and Joy in Christ :)

    God is Good! He counts the hairs on our head. He is interested in ALL of us, crazy and not so crazy. We come to Him through faith in Christ Jesus – the simplicity of the Gospel (Good News).

    Thank you, Craig, for being who you are, an intelligent “guardian” of the scriptures. I hope you don’t stress yourself out too much though. God is All-powerful, All-knowing and All-present. He surely hasn’t left us all here on earth to argue and fight. Its sad that people are not experiencing the Love of Jesus.

    The most important thing for us on terra-firma, is to Love the people around us with genuine hearts that are constantly delighting in seeking Yahweh.

    P.S> Personality clash aside, I’m glad you posted this. Preachers HAVE to be accountable!

  87. Craig says:

    Jared,

    I’m not exactly sure where you’re coming from; but, I’ll address a few things you’ve written. First, it seems you think that being “smart” or “intelletual” is some sort of barrier. I hope you’d admit that Bill Johnson is a smart guy. I think he is. I don’t see how using intellect to refute false teachings in the church is somehow “unloving.” Perhaps you could explain.

    You wrote, “At least Bill Johnson isn’t telling people to NOT pray for the sick, etc.” Nor am I. However, so do other religions, cults, etc. Praying for the sick is not necessarily the mark of a true shepherd.

    You wrote, “He surely hasn’t left us all here on earth to argue and fight. Its sad that people are not experiencing the Love of Jesus.” How did Jesus react to the Pharisees and Saduccees who adhered to extra-biblical and anti-biblical teachings? He told them publically of their false doctrines. How did the Apostle Paul respond to false teachings? In much the same way. I suppose you think it best to ‘live and let live’ rather than earnestly contend for the faith [Jude 3]? And, what has lead you to make the judgment that some are “not experiencing the love of Jesus”? When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees/Saduccees was He “not experiencing love”?

    I don’t do this for fun. I don’t get paid. In many ways this is a thankless task from an earthly perspective. Yet, I’m passionate about helping those caught up in false teachings escape from same [James 5:19-20; Jude 22-23] as that’s one of the things the Lord’s called me to do via this blog. Not that I need to defend myself from naysayers.

    You wrote, “The most important thing for us on terra-firma, is to Love the people around us with genuine hearts that are constantly delighting in seeking Yahweh.” Could it be loving to warn others of false teachings/teachers? There are many who appear to be genuinely seeking, yet they are following a false gospel [2 Corinthians 11:4] – not just Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, but those within the “church”.

    It’s interesting that Jesus tells us that the most important thing is to essentially love God and love your neighbor [Matt 5:1 — 7:9-12] following that up with the teaching on the narrow/wide gates [7:13-14]; warning of a tree and its fruit (wolves in sheep’s clothing) [7:15-20]; warning of those who prophecy ‘in His name’, perform exorcisms and do many miracles yet are told “depart from me, I never knew you” [7:21-23]; and closing with an admonition to build on the rock [Jesus’ truth in His teachings/doctrine] rather than build on the sand of false teaching.

    I agree that the simplicity of the Gospel is all we need individually. Yet, when someone such as Bill Johnson turns the true Gospel into ‘signs and wonders’ leading to “salvation” rather than repentance from sin which leads to true salvation, we have the potential for individuals to believe in a false gospel rather than the true.

    So, why were you researching Bill Johnson and what led you to comment here?

  88. jared says:

    Thank you for the response, Craig.

    I am just a twenty something year old caucasion male, residing in Durban, South Africa.

    I’ve been exposed to different ministries coming and going from time to time, but not as much as seems to happen in the U.S. “Belonging” to a church, I am also exposed to the books that come from these ministers/preachers. I am not one to just take what anyone says lying down, which is the reason for my light research into some of the authors of these books available for me to read.

    Our pastor has just completed his book too. You see this is what I mean by personalities, I don’t like the feeling I get around “christian experience” books, but I guess its just reading for interest. (Steve from Highway Christian Community’s book: http://www.highwaytograce.com)

    It seems very easy for people to get caught up in the “feel good” teachings and the “teachers” thereof. Presently, I’m going through a Bill Johnson book – The power of the transformed mind. After googling today, I realise there is a new age controversy around him and Bethel church. I just thought that the new age-like book cover, was to appeal to people offended by religion.

    Craig, to try to explain where I am coming from, I know I come across lazy, or just not as passionate as you and other people commenting…For me though, I just feel overwhelmed. I cannot cope with more than a few minutes of TBN, even then I can’t just turn the channel on at any time. I get excited about how much Jesus loves me, but I’m still learning how to walk “in/with Him”. I don’t like hype or “big time” churches. I enjoy Kim Walker and Jesus Culture music. I love to worship Him. I want to see hurt people healed. I want to see restoration in people’s lives’.

    You were irritated with my comment, as I was feeling tired of all the negativity and grumpiness. BUT, you are correct to be angry and negative toward false preaching and I am well aware that you do not need to defend yourself from “naysayers”.

    I am unhappy with what I see going on. Obviously I’d be a bit grumpy while reading all this, which is probably what you picked up on and why you seem irritated. You can understand though, that I want to experience Christ and it just seems like I am unable to trust anything or anyone. We aren’t even allowed to trust different translations of the bible. This is crazy. This is overwhelming (Again I use that word). Thus, I need time with the Lord (Who says: “My sheep know my voice”) “in His word”, so that I don’t sway with all the different teachings. I don’t know why these people would want to deceive people? Surely the money is not all they crave as a result of their “cult following”(Excuse the pun)?

    These are confusing times for a young guy like myself! When one feels vulnerable like this, they naturally tend to cocoon. I can’t hide away, I can’t “neglect the gathering”. Why is it so difficult? Why is there so much false teaching? I really thought that God said If we are truly, sincerely, seeking Him and His truth, with our whole hearts, we would find Him? Why is it so easy for us to fall into deception? We’re told: “If it isn’t good news, it isn’t the Good News”. Is our God so horrible and unaffectionate that he does not want us to experience ANYTHING of His presence besides tongues of flames above our heads, a dove or two flapping about, …?

    Can you feel my frustration at all of this, this thing called life, even “abundant” life?

    You missed what I meant by referring to you guys as intellectuals. I wasn’t being negative. That was me letting you know that you weren’t going to appreciate MY approach, as a “beach” boy.

    “My approach”, as mentioned, in trusting that God is bigger than this. If God is not bigger than this, than don’t you think little me, down in Africa, hasn’t got a fighting chance? Well, besides hiding out in the bush until some rapture (Which we all thought was invented/dreamed up by a young girl in america) occurs, not really knowing if I’m allowed to join the disappearing act!

    Anyway, this is very very serious, which is why it bothers me! When people at our church started having these gold fillings, laughing experiences, etc, I was astonished, not in a good way, either. You can understand why this is of interest to me though, right? This “movement” (I despise movements and hype) is all around. I’m like a rabbit caught in headlamps. My eyes are open, but I can’t move!!!!!!

    I am hungry for an authentic life with Christ. What is it?

  89. Craig says:

    I don’t have time at present to respond, so I’ll do so later.

  90. IWTT says:

    @Jared

    I’d like to invite you to look at the following site. I do so because one of the moderators lives in Africa also. I am not sure how close your towns are. But you might find both the site and forum interesting. We are made up with people from UK, USA, AFRICA and not sure where else, but we are almost an internet church.

    http://aletheuo.org.uk/

    http://unitedinjesus.org.uk/forum/

    Blessings

  91. Craig says:

    Jared,

    We wrestle not against flesh and blood [Ephesians 6]. It isn’t Bill Johnson or his ilk; it’s the spirits behind him and those like him. Unfortunately, the USA seems to be the hub of MUCH false teaching. And, these false teachers disseminate their dangerous, deceptive doctrines worldwide like a cancer.

    1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron [1 Tim 4:1-2 NASB]

    The Christian life is a life of faith. We worship God because He is God. God came in the form of man and died in the place of man. For that we should be eternally grateful regardless of what happens in this earthly life. “Though He slay me yet will I hope in Him.” Our raison d’etre is to make disciples of all nations, not how to receive “our best life now” (not saying you necessarily subscibe to this).

    I highly suggest you stop reading any Bill Johnson books and stick to the Bible and possibly well-regarded orthodox commentaries on Scripture. Most any modern translation is fine with the exception of Eugene Peterson’s The Message. I suggest you focus on worshiping Christ and not “an authentic life with Christ”. Think of the many martyred. Could that be “an authentic life of Christ”? Look at the Apostle Paul’s life with the beatings he endured in the name of Christ. Are we to expect differently? Think of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12-13 and Philippians 1:21.

    We are to work out our faith in “fear and trembling” [Phil 2:12]. We are “sealed by the Spirit” with the guarantee of eternal life [2 Cor 1:22/Eph 1:13-14] — if we stand firm to the end [Matt 24:13].

    There may well be a time when it’s not safe to congregate in ‘churches’ – mere buildings in which teachers proclaim false teachings under the power of deceptive spirits.

    This ain’t no picnic.

    I recall going through a very difficult time in my personal life. I found comfort in comforting others. The more I helped others, the less I thought about my own concerns.

    Worship God. Focus on Christ. In serving Him you’ll find He serves you in the comfort you receive from him.

    The Christian life is epitomized by, quoting the title of Oswald Chambers’ well-known/loved devotional, giving “My Utmost for His Highest”. I’m preaching to myself here…

  92. Craig says:

    I see that someone had clicked on the link in which Johnson defended Todd Bentley, obviously finding the link with a 404 error. Here it is recovered from internet archive:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20120723115020/http://www.bjm.org/questions/11/update-what-do-you-think-about-todd-bentley-and-the-lakeland-revival.html?file=regarding-todd-Bentley

    I’ve fixed the link.

    Readers: if you find a link broken, please let me know so that I can try to find a new one, if possible.

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