Open Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters

[Here's Another Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters.]
[2/27/13: Here's another challenge: Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church.]

The following is based on an original idea of and primarily written by W B McCarty in conjunction with Craig who provided minor additions, changes and editing.

Many have charged that the teaching of Bill Johnson is unbiblical and wrong. Not a few have charged that his teachings violate orthodoxy – the ancient, common theological understanding of the Christian Church – and therefore entail or promote heresy. On the other hand, no small number of Bill Johnson supporters have denied these charges.

This brief article challenges Johnson supporters to reconcile just one of Bill Johnson’s statements in his book When Heaven Invades Earth (WHIE) with Christian orthodoxy. The article does not address all the suspect statements in that book or suspect statements in other books, sermons, or talks.

Here is the selected statement of Bill Johnson:

“Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations. He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and then die in the place of mankind for sin. This would be essential in His plan to redeem mankind. The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin)” [When Heaven Invades Earth, Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2003, p. 79].

And, here are the questions that comprise the challenge:

1. To what “limitations” does Bill Johnson refer? Does he mean that the God-man Jesus, in His divine nature, lacked divine attributes such as omniscience (possessing all knowledge) and omnipotence (being all powerful)?

a.)    If so, how could God relinquish divine attributes and yet remain God?  In what sense might a limited, finite man be considered God, when the very term “God” denotes infinity?

b.)    If so, given that all things consist in Jesus (Col. 1:17) who upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), why did the world not cease to exist during His Incarnation?

c.)    If so, how did Jesus regain His divine status? Can other non-divine beings gain divine status?

d.)    If so, how could the finite sacrifice of a non-divine man pay the infinite penalty of the sins of humankind?

2. What does Bill Johnson mean when he writes that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside?”

a.)    What, exactly, was laid aside? That is, what does Bill Johnson mean by “divinity?”

b.)    Did Jesus cease to be God at the time of His Incarnation?

c.)    If Jesus was not God in His Incarnation, what is the significance of his name Emmanuel ["God is with us" (also Immanuel)]?

d.)    If Jesus was not God in His Incarnation, how was he able to forgive the sins of the paralytic man (Mk. 2:9)? Can anyone other than God actually forgive sins?

e.)    If Jesus was not God in His Incarnation, how could John’s account of His ministry have as its purpose the affirmation that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” [John 20:31, emphasis added]?

3. When Bill Johnson writes “He laid his [sic] divinity aside,” why does he write “his” rather than “His?”

a.)    Does “his” refer to a non-divine Jesus?

b.)    If “his” refers to a non-divine Jesus, how and at what point did Jesus regain divine status?

4. As a sacrifice, was Jesus “powerless?”

a.)    That is, was He or was He not in possession of the divine attribute of omnipotence even as He hung on the Cross?

b.)    If He was not in possession of omnipotence during His time on the Cross, and was therefore unable to free Himself, in what sense was His sacrifice willing?

For those who lack training in the Scriptures and Christian theology, here is a summary of the main points of orthodoxy at issue in Bill Johnson’s statement:

A. Jesus is the eternally pre-existent, second member of the divine Trinity.

B. At His Incarnation, Jesus took on a second, human nature in addition to His divine nature.

C. Since the beginning of His Incarnation, Jesus has been at all times fully God and fully man (known as the hypostatic union).

D. God possesses a number of divine attributes, such as omniscience and omnipotence.

E. By definition, divine attributes are a necessary and sufficient condition of divinity. That is, no one but God may possess divine attributes. And, if God were hypothetically to cease to possess any divine attribute, He would cease to be God.

Note: For further exposition of these points, including biblical references, see any good discussion of the Nicene and Chalcedonian creeds, which are common to the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Protestant Church. No one who rejects these creeds has any reasonable basis to claim to be Christian in the usual, historical sense of that term.

Finally, here are some ground rules for the discussion that the authors of this article hope will ensue:

1. It isn’t intended that the statement/answer/response be selectively cited. Those who wish to support Johnson by bringing in other explanatory material from the book WHIE are free to do so. However, those who challenge the orthodoxy of the statement should not bring in new material. Let’s keep the discussion as focused as possible.

2. Bringing in explanatory material from sources other than the book is prohibited, as doing so would unduly widen the discussion. If this challenge proves popular, the authors may find time to offer similar challenges based on other statements within WHIE and other of Bill Johnson’s books and sermons. The authors believe there is no shortage of suspect statements requiring explanation by Bill Johnson’s supporters or ideally by Bill Johnson himself. Those who are unfamiliar with the works of Bill Johnson should not suppose that the offered statement is the only of his statements that seems unorthodox or heretical.

3. To respond, copy both the corresponding number and its question followed by the corresponding letter and question.  For example, if responding to “2b)” then copy and paste from the article the following with your response following that:

2. What does Bill Johnson mean when he writes that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside?”

b.)   Did Jesus cease to be God at the time of His Incarnation?

[your response]

Who will take the challenge?

_______________________________________________________________________________

Here’s a new challenge.

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515 Responses to Open Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters

  1. cherylu says:

    Good challenge guys. Any takers out there?

  2. Ron says:

    Very nice. I would like to see some scriptural validation cited by Bill Johnson/supporters, instead of the usual appeal to esoteric/mystical claptrap. It would be a welcome change.

    Pigs may fly, too.

  3. Mark says:

    Why ask each other what Bill Johnson means? Why not ask Bill Johnson?

  4. Iwanthetruth says:

    He has been asked to input and refuses to do so or chooses not to.

  5. Craig says:

    Mark,

    It’s written in the challenge: The authors believe there is no shortage of suspect statements requiring explanation by Bill Johnson’s supporters or ideally by Bill Johnson himself.

    Many have written to Bill Johnson/Bethel with no response whatsover. Even probing questions on his facebook get deleted.

    I welcome Bill Johnson to take this challenge. Will you?

  6. Craig says:

    Mark,

    By the above, I meant will you yourself take this challenge?

  7. cherylu says:

    Mark,

    There is a man, a John Ashton, that has commented a lot on another thread on this site. He attends Bethel Church. He says that Bill Johnson and the senior staff there are quite unavailable even to those that regularly attend there. Asking Bill Johnson does not seem to be an option.

    I am one of those that have tried to contact him or someone on staff there via their web site. I had a question that I would have loved to have an answer to. That was months ago. And beyond what was clearly a computer generated acknowledgement of my letter, I have not heard a word.

  8. W B McCarty says:

    Mark, I know of several people who sit under Bill Johnson’s teaching who attribute their conversion to non-orthodox/heretical views to the influence of his teaching. If his views are truly orthodox, I’d very much like to have his help in guiding these fans of his back to the truth. In fact, I see him as having responsibility to minister to them. But, I’ve tried without success to contact him. Do you have a means of reaching him?

  9. Craig says:

    Before posting a comment here or anywhere else on this site it will be beneficial to read the Before You Comment tab at the top of the Home Page.

  10. inerrantword says:

    I am just glad my wife is out of this. By the grace of God, she was set free and had her eyes opened. It was ruining our family. People look at him and think he is a nice guy and pleasantly spoken (not a ranter like some people) and then they get sucked in big time. I cannot emphasis how dangerous he is. He (and all his friends) are completely dangerous!

  11. Craig says:

    Thank God your wife is free from this bondage. I share your concern regarding how dangerous Bill Johnson is.

    There’s been quite a bit of traffic arriving at this challenge yet no challengers. It would be great if there would be just one individual who would come forth and explain the passage referenced in the article — even just a portion of it.

  12. pat says:

    Copied and pasted the url for this site and challenge, on the Bethel Church Redding Ca, facebook page, it was removed within two minutes of my posting it. Bill Johnson is not interested in defending his beliefs or position or he would have done it long before now….at least you would think. Also he must care very little for those who do follow him and his doctrine if he leaves them to defend his teachings.Doesn’t say much for his spin on “gathering around the fathers” such as himself, when he allows the sheep to defend him rather than stepping up as a leader and taking responsibility and accountability. You’d think after a while those that do stand in defense of Johnson would become a little disillusioned and or at least concerned as to why he isn’t stepping up and giving some answers for himself rather than his followers who are guessing at best, as to what Johnson actually means. The up side to this is that at least those that do come to sites like this one and engage in dialog creates an opportunity and an open door to minister. Bill Johnson should be more careful about his followers, unless he assumes he can afford to lose some, which is sad in it’s self, if he truly believes he is teaching truth, his conduct towards he followers doesn’t really show that does it? Also to inerrantword, it’s wonderful to her about your wife, God bless you both.

  13. cherylu says:

    Pat,

    I find that really sad. It would seem like a person would want to explain their beliefs when charged with false teaching or even heresy.

    Pastor Bill Johnson,

    If you are by any chance reading here, would you please explain to us what you mean when you say that “Jesus laid His divinity aside.” To us it does not sound at all like this fits with the historic orthodox understanding of the hypostatic union. We would really like to hear a Scriptural explanation for your understanding of this. As you can see, there are a lot of questions that are being asked.

  14. John Ashton says:

    Hey Inerrantword-

    Would you be willing to share what your experience was at/with Bethel. It’s sad when anyone has a bad experience with a church.

  15. John Ashton says:

    Check out Hebrews 2:17. “Therefore, He had to be made like His bretheren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest…’

    KJV, NASB and ASB all say “in all things”.

    In Phil 2, it says that Jesus “emptied Himself” and was made in the likeness of man.

    In John 5, Jesus says that “He can do nothing of His own…”

    To me, the most compelling verses is where it says that He emptied himself. He was like man in all things. Given these and other verses, could it be argued that this means that He emptied Himself of His divinity? If you take all the verses together, I personally do not think it’s a stretch to say that Jesus took on all the limitations of man. This is NOT saying that he was not God. The Incarnation means that He was God at all times. But insofar as He was human, He was fully human in all things. Why? Hebrews 4:15 suggests that His sympathizing with us is a very important thing. For this to happen, He couldn’t have any special divine advantage to help his tempations easier.

    I hope these verses shine light upon this issue. No one is saying that Jesus is not God. The Bible says that Jesus was like man in all things. Man is not God. If Jesus is like man in all things, then a case can be made that, like man, Jesus in his humanity is not divine since man is not divine. Jesus is at the same level of man. But in His deity, he was God at all times.

    I’ve said this in another post, but the Incarnation gives us the best of both worlds. It’s a mystery. Jesus cannot mathematically be 100% God and 100% man. Yet he was. For the 100% man part there is no divinity.

  16. Craig says:

    John,

    We HAVE covered this on the other thread. Your stubborn refusal to look at historic othodox Christianity with respect to Kenosis ["emptied Himself"] as well as the hypostatic union in your zeal to defend Johnson seems to know no limits. Interestingly, you say you don’t care about orthodoxy on the one hand, yet you try to make Johnson’s words orthodox in another.

  17. Craig says:

    From the link referenced above:

    The danger comes when it is concluded that in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity took on human nature and gave up or lost some of the divine attributes — such that Jesus was not fully divine. The doctrine of the two natures of Christ (known as the hypostatic union) maintains that Jesus possessed a full undiminished human nature and a full undiminished divine nature, which were not combined or confused into some new nature but were added to each other forever (yet remaining distinct) in the one person Jesus Christ.

    The question regarding the kenosis comes to this — What does it mean when Scripture says Christ “emptied” Himself? Did Jesus cease to be God during His earthly ministry? Certainly not, for deity cannot stop being deity or He would never have been true deity to begin with. Rather, the “emptying” is satisfactorily explained in the subsequent words of the verse, taking note of the two participles which grammatically modify and explain the verb: He emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. This emptying, in fact, was done as the man Christ Jesus, and neither of these ideas necessitates or implies the giving up of divine attributes.

    Christianity maintains that Jesus did not “empty” himself of any of his divinity in the incarnation, although it is true that his divine attributes were veiled. When the Kenosis theory concludes that Jesus is or was less than God (as has been the case in the past), it is regarded as heresy.

  18. Craig says:

    John,

    You must always put Scripture in its larger, full context. Here’s the Hebrews section you are referring to in Hebrews 2:

    14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for[a] the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. [Hebrews 2:14-18, NIV 1984]

    Remember in Genesis 3:15 that it was to be a man who would “crush” Satan’s head. The requirements for Atonement is a perfect man; and, since no human could ever be perfect, Jesus Christ fulfilled that role being the God-man. Yes, in His humanity He was able to identify with our pain and sufferings; but, He did not “lay aside His divinity” to do so. In fact, if this were possible, then, by definition, He would cease being God and the Trinity would no longer be in effect and thus the entire Godhood would fall apart and so would our universe [see Hebrews 1:1-3]. This, of course, is an impossibility as then God would not really be God.

  19. Craig says:

    I posted this yesterday on the BJ I thread and it is apropos to post here:

    I caught on local radio earlier this week and again today a program by Nancy Leigh DeMoss who is doing a series on Christology. It is certainly worth a few moments to read the transcript in the hyperlink. Here’s what really struck me by the way it was phrased:

    The humanity of Christ means that He is willing to save us, but if He was only human, He would not have had the power to save us. His deity means that He is able to save us! Because He is the God/man, He is both willing and able to save us. Praise the Lord! [bolding as per original]

    Stated another way: In His humanity He was willing, in His divinity He was able; consequently, He was both willing and able to provide the perfect sacrifice, the once for all Atonement.

    Continuing with DeMoss:

    So without ever ceasing to be fully God, without laying aside any of His Godness, Jesus took on, clothed Himself, in our human nature so that He could reconcile us to God. And if that doesn’t move you, nothing will. [bolding as per original]

    Earlier in this podcast she said:

    We’re dealing with things that are beyond our reach, and the secular world sees that as a cop-out. They say if you can’t explain it, it can’t be true, but the fact is, if we could understand this, if we could put Jesus in our little box that we could figure out, then He wouldn’t be amazing anymore. He wouldn’t be incomparable. [bolding as per original]

    In the show earlier in the week DeMoss spoke on the aberrant/heretical Christology of other cults, etc.

  20. Craig says:

    John,

    Where you are getting yourself into trouble (heresy) is that you are trying to figure out something that took a few centuries to codify by the early church. Once established by the definition (kenosis) and Councils (Nicene and Chalcedon) referenced in this article, it’s best just to read, digest, and then reference these rather than trying to put into your own words/thoughts.

  21. cherylu says:

    Just a note of clarification here in case anyone saw my comment a little while ago to John and missed my request that it be deleted. I realized what I had said was not correctly portraying the hypostaic union and Craig kindly removed it when I asked him to.

  22. Craig says:

    John, you wrote:

    Given these and other verses, could it be argued that this means that He emptied Himself of His divinity? If you take all the verses together, I personally do not think it’s a stretch to say that Jesus took on all the limitations of man. This is NOT saying that he was not God. The Incarnation means that He was God at all times.

    You are stating a contradiction. How can Jesus have “emptied Himself of His divinity” — which, the way you phrase means all His divine attributes — and yet still be God? Assuming this were even possible, how can a “man” — which is what would remain of Jesus if all His divine attributes were “emptied” — then somehow “regain” his divinity. Can another mere man attain divine status?

  23. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    I’d like to try to answer your most recent post in which you said this:

    You are stating a contradiction. How can Jesus have “emptied Himself of His divinity” — which, the way you phrase means all His divine attributes — and yet still be God? Assuming this were even possible, how can a “man” — which is what would remain of Jesus if all His divine attributes were “emptied” — then somehow “regain” his divinity. Can another mere man attain divine status?

    Bill said that Jesus “laid aside His divinity”. There are different ways you can interpret this. If I’m not mistaken, you have concluded that Bill is saying that Jesus is not divine. As I’ve said, I don’t believe that is the correct conclusion, the primary reason being that Bill Johnson does not believe this.

    Let’s look at this from another angle. Why does laying something aside necessarily equate to losing possession of it? Suppose I’m the head coach of a basketball team and I decide to sit in the stands as a spectator for a game. I tell league officials and referees that, for the duration of that game, I will voluntarily relinquish (lay aside) every privilege that otherwise allows me to be on the court (or bench). I go so far as to agree to being restricted to the point that, if I step down from the stands during the game, I will be escorted out by security. Laying aside my position as coach for a designated period of time does not negate, nullify or separate me from my position as coach. In other words, I am still Coach Ashton even though I’m not coach.

    Actually, now that I think about it, this is a pretty good analogy. Hebrews, John and Philippians all point to Jesus as God, yet contain attributions suggesting that He is not God. There are probably close to 10 examples of this – I’ll present one. Hebrews 2:17 says that Jesus was like us in every way. Of course, humans are not God in any way. So if Jesus was like us in every way, then how, logically, could He possibly be God? The answer is that, logically, He can’t be God! Welcome to “Kingdom logic” which is based largely upon contradictions: To be rich, you must be poor; to live, you must die; to be the greatest, you must be the least; to be strong, you must be week, and……Jesus was man in every way (which means He can’t be God)…..and yet He was God.

  24. Craig says:

    John,

    With all due respect, if we take the God-man and subtract divinity — all divinity — we have only humanity remaining. Stating as a mathematical equation:

    God-man – God = man
    or
    God-man minus God = man

    I can lay aside my keys; but, I cannot lay aside my arm as it is a part of my body. This same analogy would apply to the God-man Jesus Christ.

    This isn’t “kingdom logic” as you’d like to call it. Just because something is beyond our understanding does not make it illogical. Our God is not a God of confusion

  25. Craig says:

    John, you wrote, “Bill said that Jesus “laid aside His divinity”. There are different ways you can interpret this. If I’m not mistaken, you have concluded that Bill is saying that Jesus is not divine. As I’ve said, I don’t believe that is the correct conclusion, the primary reason being that Bill Johnson does not believe this.

    You say Bill Johnson doesn’t believe this; but, that is what he is saying in clear language. And, absent any other teaching to the contrary or further elaboration this is all we have. Maybe Bill Johnson doesn’t have a handle on kenosis; but, that does not provide him sort of excuse. Teachers are held to a higher standard [James 3:1]. At minimum he should amend his words if they are not they way he intended on using them. The book’s been out for 7 years. That’s a long time.

    The quotes you use at the end are not contradictions when put in clear Biblical context.

  26. Craig says:

    John,

    You bring up Hebrews 2:17 again; but, I’ve already pointed out by the larger context what this means at 12:04pm today.

  27. cherylu says:

    John,

    A big difference between your analogy and what Bill Johnson is saying seems to me to be that this coach agreed not to use his capabilites as coach for the game. Bill Johnson said Jesus didn’t have His supernatural capabilities anymore.

  28. Craig says:

    John,

    Let’s get back to the specifics of the challenge as laid out in the article. If you wish to respond to a specific question, copy and paste it in the comments box and post your quote of Bill Johnson providing a verifiable source which backs up your quote and subsequent statement. Let’s get away from the subjective arguments like “what Bill means here is…” or “the Incarnation is ‘kingdom logic’” and the like. This is not philosophy, this is theology.

  29. inerrantword says:

    Funny you should ask, Craig. My wife is right now finishing her testimony on it and I will put it on my blog tonight. Will flick you the links when I do.

  30. inerrantword says:

    Sorry I realise it was not Craig who commented lol. John I should have said…

  31. John Ashton says:

    I was able to talk with Bill today for a few minutes between services.

  32. cherylu says:

    Did you ask him anything pertaining to this conversation?

  33. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig!

    I just wanted to respond to a few things. To begin, it is not clear that your interpretation of what Bill said is what he means. It is your interpretation. As far as the absence of “other teaching to the contrary…”, we have teaching to the contrary. Just watch the worship today (you can get it off the website) and you tell me if they’re singing to a non-diving Jesus. Go look at the “We Believe” link on http://www.ibethel.org The irony in all of this is that what is drawing thousands of people to Bethel each Sunday is not Bill Johnson – it’s Jesus. The whole focus is on Jesus. And miracles are happening. Healings are happening. The Holy Spirit is out of control. And the enemy is furious.

    There’s an irony to what you said about my zeal to defend BJ knowing no bounds. The fact is that I have no desire whatsoever to defend Bill Johnson. He doesn’t need to defend himself. His fruit speaks for itself. You say that he preaches a different Jesus. Let me ask this: Does your Jesus heal cancer and MS? His does, and millions of people are going to come to Jesus as a result. So I want to be clear that I have no need to defend Bill. I am trying to make an appeal to everyone that the Bethel you are describing is not representative of what is actually going on. A lot of very strong words are being thrown its way. I’ve seen fringe charismatic churches. Bethel is not one of them. This rhetoric needs to soften.

    Here’s another point: There is far too much energy being spent defending Orthodoxy, the hypostatic union, etc. Bill addresses this in Chapter 7. He says, “That spirit has worked to reduce the gospel to a mere intellectual message, rather than a supernatural God encounter.” Further on, he says, “A religious spirit is a demonic presence that words to get us to substitute being led by our intellect instead of the Spirit of God.” He then says, “It’s favorite tactic is to cast in stone an ideology learned from previous moves of the Holy Spirit.”

    One of your responses to me included this: This isn’t “kingdom logic” as you’d like to call it. Just because something is beyond our understanding does not make it illogical. Our God is not a God of confusion.

    You are right. Our God is not a God of confusion. But His logic is very different from ours. Paul says that His wisdom is foolishness to the wise. Bill says as much at the end of Ch. 7: ”His thoughts are very different from ours. The Scripture states that our logic and His are not just different, they are opposed to each other. Let’s be honest… they are worlds apart!

    Please consider what I’m saying: When Bill said that “Jesus laid down his [sic] divinity”, He was appealing to the logic of the world that is so apart from ours. All I ask is for us to consider cutting some slack.
    * * * * *

  34. Craig says:

    And, what did you talk about? Anything pertaining to the post.

  35. John Ashton says:

    I want to point out one more thing. Look at what Bill says in Ch. 7.

    “The spirit of controll works against one of God’s favorite elements in humankind: faith. Trust is misplaced as it becomes anchored in humanity’s ablity to reason.”

    I’m a (recovering) control freak. I’m intelligent, artistic, and didn’t grow up in a stable home. It has (and still is) hard for me to surrender to the Holy Spirit. Relinquishing even a tiny bit of control can be very difficult. Fortunately, God is patient and very kind. But it has not been easy. Control has been brutally difficult to relinquish, even at a place like Bethel that does not have a culture of judgment. My testimony is that the trade off is worth it.

  36. Craig says:

    John,

    I’m trying to play catch-up at the moment; but, I do not see what you’ve written in this comment as pertaining to the article. The point is to keep it focused. And, the specific rules are to quote a specific question/answer and respond directly to those.

  37. mbaker says:

    John ,then how about simply answering the questions posed here? How would that threaten either of you, if you have nothing to hide? Seems to me to be pretty simple otherwise.

  38. John Ashton says:

    Hey Mbaker and Craig-

    I’m not going to try to answer the questions at this moment. But i am going to say this. I had never heard of the Chalcedonian Creed. I read it in amazment. I’d seen the Nicene, but it’s been years. As I was reading, the Holy Spirit noticably came, The Holy Spirit was there when each creed was being written, and He was there at the hypostatic union. And He is here now. Those words are SO rich and beautiful.

    It really is beautiful. We get in these discussions and arguments about Bill Johnson and, in the process, I get my socks blessed off by the very questions that I’m questioning. I think this is an example of God’s logic, methodology and humor. He uses the entire Body, even when we are at odds. Craig, He is totally using you! He spoke through you and just blasted my heart!

    So here’s my answer: God loves us so ridiculously deeply and lavishly, and He likes being enjoyed. I may answer the questions eventually. But for now, i just want to enjoy Jesus. And I want to affirm you, brother.

  39. Craig says:

    John,

    We’ve already been over the “We Believe”/Statement of Faith issue on the other thread. However, if you wish to post part of it here in answer to a specific question of the post then I’ll allow that. You offer, once again, subjective evidence in your first paragraph (the SoF notwithstanding).

    You wrote: “…The Holy Spirit is out of control.” I’m sure you mean this as a figure of speech so I’ll cut a little slack; however, note that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22-23]. The Holy Spirit is never out of control.

    My Jesus is the Jesus Christ of the Bible and He can and does do the miraculous! I’ve already told you how my knees were healed. And, I know someone personally who has been asymptomatic from MS for about 15 years. We both agree that God can do the miraculous. However, this post is not discussing this particular issue.

    This rhetoric needs to soften. “Rhetoric” has a number of different meanings. If by “rhetoric” you mean “exaggeration,” I’m not exaggerating but rather using direct quotes and applying simple, straightforward logic in determining meaning.

    You wrote: Here’s another point: There is far too much energy being spent defending Orthodoxy, the hypostatic union, etc. Bill addresses this in Chapter 7. He says, “That spirit has worked to reduce the gospel to a mere intellectual message, rather than a supernatural God encounter.” Further on, he says, “A religious spirit is a demonic presence that words to get us to substitute being led by our intellect instead of the Spirit of God.” He then says, “It’s favorite tactic is to cast in stone an ideology learned from previous moves of the Holy Spirit.”

    So, then, you are flat out in agreement with Johnson’s point of view that orthodoxy is of the “antichrist spirit.” This is yet another of his polarizing “us vs. them” statements of Johnson. One can be led of Spirit and also be orthodox — the two are not mutually exclusive.

    You wrote: Please consider what I’m saying: When Bill said that “Jesus laid down his [sic] divinity”, He was appealing to the logic of the world that is so apart from ours.

    Your answer does not fit. If the book is aimed towards believers, then the readership would have the Spirit which would reveal “the deep things of God” [1 Cor 2:10]. Yes, human logic — lacking wisdom of the Spirit — cannot discern spiritual things [1 Cor 2:6-16]; however, God is not illogical. His ways are not our ways; but He’s not illogical. Some things, such as the Incarnation, are things we’ll never fully understand in this life; however, that fact does not make the Incarnation illogical. Rather, it’s a mystery.

    And, further, as to: “Jesus laid down his [sic] divinity” we have from WHIE:

    He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! While He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He was redeemed. He made that point over and over again. Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God … not as God. [p 29]

    When added together we have Jesus as a mere man performing miracles, wonders, and signs since he “laid his [sic] divinity aside.”

  40. Craig says:

    John Ashton,

    All your comments are now going to moderation first. I will be happy to release comments which address specific questions in the article.

  41. Craig says:

    John,

    I just released your comment from 10:00pm (above).

  42. pat says:

    Craig

    WHEW!! No need to post, just want to let you know we’re praying. :)

  43. Craig says:

    pat,

    Thanks!

  44. Craig says:

    John,

    I’m glad you were blessed in reading the creeds! The creeds were written as a means to address specific heresies that cropped up (and these were usually debated prior to forming the creeds) which came from either misapplying Scripture (not taking in Its full counsel) or malevolent spirits perverting the Word of God.

    However, the creeds should be looked upon as providing space from which we can theologize rather than rigidly defining things to the point of depersonalizing God. He is unfathomable. He is a mystery. His ways are not our ways.

    I pray you are not “enjoying His presence” by so emptying your mind that you allow the enemy a foothold. The contemplative prayer of the West is little different in methodology than the meditative prayer of the East. And, both lead to the same ends.

    This is the potential result of making polarizing “us vs. them” statements as Bill Johnson has done in chapter 7 of WHIE and continues to do via Facebook and Twitter. An example of this is Bill Johnson’s redefinitions of “Christ” as “anointing” rather than “the Anointed One” and “antichrist” as “against the anointing” rather than “instead of/against Jesus Christ” [see 1 John 2:22, 4:2-3 for Biblical definition] as he does in chapter 7 [see Bill Johnson's 'Born Again' Jesus, Part I] and the conclusions he draws from these redefinitions.

  45. W B McCarty says:

    John: “That spirit has worked to reduce the gospel to a mere intellectual message, rather than a supernatural God encounter.”

    John, what if I told you that your spiritual maturation would be best served if you’d altogether cease acting in love and instead begin studying the Bible and doctrine 18 hours a day? I trust it’s obvious that wouldn’t be a good plan. But that’s the mirror image of what you propose!

    I haven’t read anyone here support the idea that the Gospel is a mere intellectual message. That’s a straw man, a red herring, and a false dichotomy. Scripture encourages and commands us to abound in both love and truth. They’re not opposites. God has an infinite degree of each of them and Jesus showed us the Father.

    So, speaking for myself, when you sense an unloving attitude in me, by all means take me to task. But don’t for a moment suppose that you or I must forgo truth in order to be loving. Anything that’s the opposite of love is not truth! And, when Bill Johnson puts truth and love in opposition to one another, as he frequently does, he’s not listening to the Spirit.

  46. W B McCarty says:

    The following is off topic because it replies to an off-topic comment. I originally posted it above but see that it might get lost, as it’s part of an old thread. I think it’s important and so I’ve re-posted it, with a few changes. If it’s judged to be too far off topic and therefore is deleted, so be it. :-)

    John: “That spirit has worked to reduce the gospel to a mere intellectual message, rather than a supernatural God encounter.”

    John, what if I told you that your spiritual maturation would be best served if you’d altogether cease acting in love and instead begin studying the Bible and doctrine 18 hours a day? I trust it’s obvious that wouldn’t be a good plan. But that’s the mirror image of what you propose!

    I haven’t read anyone here support the idea that the Gospel is a mere intellectual message. That’s a straw man, a red herring, and a false dichotomy. Scripture encourages and commands us to abound in both love and truth. They’re not opposites. God has an infinite degree of each of them and Jesus showed us the Father.

    So, speaking for myself, when you sense an unloving attitude in me, by all means take me to task. But don’t for a moment suppose that you or I must forgo truth in order to be loving. Anything that’s the opposite of love is not truth! And, when Bill Johnson puts truth and love in opposition to one another, as he frequently does, he’s not listening to the Spirit, the ultimate author of Scripture, who is very concerned about truth and even orthodoxy.

  47. Craig says:

    No problem here. Your comments address a specific issue I did not address in John Ashton’s rather long comment.

  48. Craig says:

    John Ashton:

    Your comment from 9:58am was posted over here where it’s more appropriate:

  49. W B McCarty says:

    Contradictions again? I thought we had dealt with that notion. Let me restate the case.

    The Scriptures and orthodox theology derived from the Scriptures both admit mystery–realities that the finite mind can apprehend but not comprehend. But the Scriptures nowhere admit contradiction. Rightly interpreted the Scriptures are self-consistent and any proposed interpretation that yields a contradiction is thereby proven wrong.

    Self-consistency is an attribute of God and a property of His self-revelation, the Scriptures. Unlike, say omniscience, which no human other than Jesus possesses, self-consistency is a communicable attribute incorporated within the imago dei, the image of God in which humankind was made (Gen. 1:26).

    To accept contradiction, as in the Eastern religions, liberalism, and postmodernism is to deny the imago dei. It is also to empty the Scriptures of their authority and to deny the coherence, and perhaps the very existence, of the biblical God.

    Just as Christ has two natures, human and divine, so the Scriptures have two sources. They were written by men. But their ultimate author is the Spirit who inspired them and preserved them free of error. To affirm contradiction in the Scriptures is to deny their divine origin. To do so is, ultimately, no less serious an error than to deny the divinity of Jesus. The two errors are, at root, one and the same.

  50. W B McCarty says:

    I hope that you raised the issue of the fan I mentioned, the one who attributes Bill Johnson’s teaching as the main cause of her decision to abandon the orthodox view that Jesus was (and is) divine; that is, not only the Son of God but also God the Son.

    I’ve been reading Bill Johnson’s Facebook page and find that particular heresy and other heresies fairly common among his fans. Is that coincidence? I might not be so uncomfortable with my observation if I could see that his fans tend to move away from heresy as they continue under his teaching. But, so far, I see no evidence of that. In fact, the evidence I do see suggests the opposite conclusion.

    Within all historical forms of Christianity, the divinity of Jesus is understood as a cardinal doctrine, the rejection of which places the soul in peril. If Bill Johnson’s views really are orthodox, please encourage him to speak clearly and often to this and other fundamental truths of Christianity so that those of his fans who embrace error can be set free of it.

  51. W B McCarty says:

    Pat: “[I copied] and pasted the url for this site and challenge, on the Bethel Church Redding Ca, facebook page, it was removed within two minutes of my posting it.”

    Perhaps the administrator of the Facebook page thinks that loving criticism and a free exchange of ideas are to be feared and avoided. Bill Johnson recently tweeted, “Fear looks like wisdom to those in unbelief.” On this point I find some grounds for agreement with him.

    More likely, the administrator simply doesn’t want to be bothered–or to bother readers of the Facebook page–with discerning love from indifference and truth from error. Exercising discernment requires more effort than passively accepting the teachings of a “father,” as Bill Johnson unbiblically encourages his listeners and readers to do (cf. Matt. 23:9; 2 Tim. 4:3).

  52. Craig says:

    W B,

    Good point re: fear with Johnson’s tweet coupled with his removal of the Open Challenge link on fb.

    Got fear?

  53. peacebringer says:

    John,
    I don’t know you but it is clear you are one hooked into Bethel and the teaching of Bill Johnson. I pray that engaging in discussion and examination leads you into truth.

    Yes, my Jesus as he choose heals MS and cancer. My step-mother had several years of life added as God put his healing hand on her. And now she has received ultimate healing, in the form of death.

    My mother is going blind. She may or may not lose all her vision. No one knows the source of her blindness. Perhaps it is her immune system attacking the eye, perhaps something else. Yet, God works in her, does what He does. Do you know that Paul continued to have vision problems. Eli was blind at some point. Isaac went blind. What is greater act of Jesus, to heal, or give us strength to move through whatever befalls, whether removes it or not. Now granted this discussion gets away from the “challenge” so to speak and gets more into a general defending Bill Johnson.

    Here is the point being made, the specific challenge. Can you defend or show how Bill is accurate in saying Jesus laid down all divinity and was strictly human. It is taking setting aside the “fullness of diety” and putting a spin on it.

    Now John, I understand there is a lot of God that goes on. As been mentioned somewhere or another, Jesus Culture and Kim Walker do give a lot of blessed worship. I have seen clips and felt the move of God. The shame is that when there is things that draw unto God and give Him glory that is then added to a “show” and “spectucale” that deviates from God. Also note, is it not possible that much like Bentley at Lakeland that any “Healing” that comes, comes not from Bill Johnson, the message, and meanings but from God touching lives of those who diligently seek him, in spite of the dangerous teaching that goes on, or even worse the embracing of “angels” that are fallen and deceiving.

    Think long and hard about the concept of Jesus and what Bill is teaching, look at even the words in defense, I think you will find that there is something added, there is “something other than.”

  54. John Ashton says:

    WB, Craig-

    Re: Fear.

    You can call Bethel and set up a 30 minute appointment with a pastor. I have one in mind, who I spoke to on Sunday. I’m pretty sure he would be willing and able to answer this challenge. He’s certainly more capable than whoever is administering Bill’s Facebook page.

  55. Craig says:

    The challenge can be addressed quite simply by merely answering the questions this article poses.

  56. Craig says:

    When Kevin (who made a few comments on the Bill Johson ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I post) asked Bill Johnson what he meant by Jesus being ‘born again’ his explanation included getting people “to think.” That’s exactly what this post is designed to do — get individuals to think, discuss, and, if doctrine is showed to be in error, corrected.

    Obviously, the authors believe the quote in the article to be incorrect doctrinally. That’s the point of this challenge which thus far has not found a challenger.

    If this pastor you have in mind is up to the challenge — GREAT! Just ask him to read through the post and adhere to its guidelines in order to keep the discussion focused on objective evidence rather than anything subjective.

  57. peacebringer says:

    It really doesn’t surprise me that questions are avoid, or deferred to someone “with authority.”
    Are we not directed to ‘test’ everything. Anyone who ascribes to the teaching in WHIE should engage in thoughtful examination of the material. More often than not, the material touches some desire, which in turn do not want to examine further, for like what it says.

    Now perhaps someone who supports the teaching may suggest that the questions are simply a form of providing a “straw man” argument. But in looking at the questions or the central theme of the questions are these not important matters to consider? Did you not think of any of this reading his material or teachings on it?

    And John, if the pastor is willing and able to answer the challenge, how about this. Set up a meeting with the pastor, bring the questions and see how he answers them…

  58. John Ashton says:

    Craig and Everyone-

    I don’t think Bethel is going to address all of the emails it receives. You’re not going to get Bill unless you fly out and hope to catch him between services. I spoke with a “2nd tier” pastor on Sunday and set up an appointment with him myself. If you want to discuss this challenge, he might be willing to do so. Or you can just call Bethel and ask if there is a pastor available. You have Bethel’s “We Believe” statement. I think that’s a pretty good starting point.

  59. John Ashton says:

    I’ll make quick mention of this tomorrow when I meet with him.

  60. Craig says:

    John,

    One of the points of this challenge is to keep it right out in the open for all to see — just like the book itself.

    If Bill Johnson/Bethel is: 1) too busy to answer all the email received (yet there’s time to post on Facebook and Twitter, I note); and 2) deleted the link to this article when it was posted on BJ’s Facebook; then 3) why would I think Bill Johnson would actually give me an audience if I were to fly to Bethel? I don’t have the money or the time for this. Nor is it necessary. The challenge is open right here in cyberspace.

    As far as the “We Believe” statement: it does not answer any of the questions asked in this post.

    You yourself said you were able to catch Bill Johnson the other day. Why don’t you ask him to answer the challenge directly or to subordinate the task to one of his staff?

  61. Craig says:

    GREAT! We await your report.

  62. Craig says:

    If you feel that the “We Believe” statement addresses specific questions in the post, then by all means post the portion you deem appropriate after you post the corresponding question and answer from the article as per the directions in item 3 above (near the end of the article).

  63. cherylu says:

    John,

    I am really eager to hear what this pastor has to say regarding this challenge too.

  64. John Ashton says:

    Hey Everyone-
    Just don’t get your hopes up. You have to remember that Bethel has many, many detractors. I’m sure they get far more emails than they can respond to. I’ll probably just ask him what Bethel’s attitude is regarding challenges such as this. But I’ll keep you posted.

  65. Craig says:

    You say Bethel has “many, many detractors,” eh? That sounds like a red flag to me.

    “Detractors” may be a bit strong for the issues this site is addressing which are doctrinal.

    de·tract:

    –verb (used without object)
    1. to take away a part, as from quality, value, or reputation (usually followed by from ).

    –verb (used with object)
    2. to draw away or divert; distract: to detract another’s attention from more important issues.
    3. Archaic . to take away (a part); abate: The dilapidated barn detracts charm from the landscape.

    I would say the issues brought up here are more of a critique.

    You wrote, “I’m sure they get far more emails than they can respond to.” And, I’d say that’s telling as well. However, while I can understand a backlog requiring some time to return emails, outright ignoring repeated emails from individuals is inexcusable — especially when they are addressing doctrinal issues and concerns about the way individuals (perhaps wrongly) are interpreting these doctrines.

    I had a concern regarding Chuck Swindoll’s Insight For Living radio program and my email was returned within a few days by a staff member who was qualified to address my concerns. Part of the story is right here on the CrossWise site. I would think Bethel should be able to do the same.

  66. cherylu says:

    Hey John,

    I gave up “getting my hopes up” that these questions would be answered by someone from Bethel a long time ago! From all appearances, it would seem they are not too concerned about what anyone else thinks about these issues or if others believe them to be unorthodox.

    If they were, I think they would of made an effort to show that to the questioning Christian world a long time ago. As Craig just said, there surely has to be a way to answer e-mails–even if it takes some time. And WHIE has been out for years now. If he wanted to clarify this issue, surely it could of been done in later editions. But we have said all of this before.

    I can hope I am wrong, and that you will indeed learn something helpful from this pastor tomorrow. But I am certainly not going to hold my breath!

  67. cherylu says:

    John,

    Just one more thought. If you can’t get into this challenge itself with this pastor, why don’t you tell him you are in contact with people that have concerns and questions about some of Bill J’s teaching and ask him how we can get those questions answered. Short of flying to Bethel or moving out there to go to church, that is. That is not possible to everyone, nor should it be necessary. There should be a way to get answers to questions about highly public teachings in the body of Christ. Teachings that are affecting huge portions of that body. And some of that effect has been extremely negative as the recently posted testimony shows.

  68. mbaker says:

    John,

    I’d be interested in hearing what BJ and crew consider ‘detractors’. Is that automatically considered everyone who’s raised legitimate questions about Bill’s doctrine? Seems to me he would want to get those things settled right away just so he wouldn’t get so many e-mails.

  69. John Ashton says:

    I’ll see what I can do. I think this pastor is as close to Bill as you’ll get. I have some other issues I want to bring up, but I’ll mention this.

    Off to a class here at Bethel…… Dreaming with God….. Yes…I know. Roll your eyeballs :)

  70. Craig says:

    Who, Kris Vallotton?

  71. John Ashton says:

    This is dangerous. I have internet here in class… so I can multi-task. Kris is the guy under/next to Bill.

  72. Craig says:

    So, you’ve answered my question in the affirmative?

  73. peacebringer says:

    John,
    No eye rolling at dreaming with God. See there is at core of many who go down this path of wanting to serve God, to be used. To dream big dreams of having impact one way or another. We want to see heaven on earth. The thing is, heaven is God in utter control. Everything revolves around him. The only way heaven invades earth is when we are surrendered to His will, entirely, even then he misses the point.

    John let’s look at the quote in question again here:
    “Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations. He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and then die in the place of mankind for sin. This would be essential in His plan to redeem mankind. The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin)” [When Heaven Invades Earth, Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2003, p. 79].

    See to me a key element of the twist is the concept of needing to be “powerless” and using a lamb as part of that similie. A lamb is not powerless, the whole concept of powerless is flawed. And if Jesus is powerless, then how we he able to heal and raise dead and even speak forthrightly on forgiving sin. Does scripture meet that statement? Now there are reasons God chose the symbol of a lamb, but powerless, don’t think so.

    The questions Craig asks really highlight the issue here. But let me challenge you, in your dreaming with God, are you dreaming being involved in “big things” in things where you have a prime role. Or are you dreaming of lives touched deeply for God, regardless of your input. Are you dreaming of doing the simple small things that does not bring you immediate attention. What service are you dreaming and where from your heart is it coming?

  74. patrickd says:

    Hey Craig,

    Interesting discussion. I would prefer you defend Christianity and not necessarily “orthodoxy” – no matter how smart or logical those guys were. I would much prefer a discussion of the scriptures, because without seminary knowledge or those fancy terms you refer to, and simply relying on the Word of God, we should be able to arrive at a similar place.

    3. When Bill Johnson writes “He laid his [sic] divinity aside,” why does he write “his” rather than “His?”

    a.) Does “his” refer to a non-divine Jesus?

    b.) If “his” refers to a non-divine Jesus, how and at what point did Jesus regain divine status?

    Answer: No, he doesn’t refer a non-divine Jesus and no the nature of Jesus never changes.

    Without knowing anything about “kenosis”, I do know:

    6 Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness. (NIV 2011)

    And, not being Bill Johnson, it is acceptable to say that he “laid his divinity aside.” That doesn’t mean He altered His nature in anyway. He just limited His expression – deliberately.

    The scripture goes on to say amazingly:

    9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

    So God, went ahead and exalted Jesus in His (Jesus’) humbled state.

    This is really cool stuff to explore if you aren’t worried about guys like you (lightly kidding) calling everyone a heretic.

    Bill Johnson teaches (and I agree) that everything that Jesus did on earth, we (the Church) have the “potential” to do through the power of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus did it as man and not God – even though He was God (see Phil 2:6-7).

    Is that a heretic anybody?

  75. John Ashton says:

    Hey Peacebringer-

    You hit it: being surrendered to His will.

    Are my dreams with me as a big role? Of course. That’s why I asked three pastors last sunday to agree with me in praying for humility. I still have some forgiving to do…..

    As far as my use of words, I feel the level of rhetoric has been sufficient to warrant the use of “detractor”.

    Cherylu, I’m going to ask him what their policy is about answering the types of questions being asked here.

    Craig, I’m going to guess that Bill gets more emails than Swindoll. I’ll try to find out. I’m not sure if a subordinate will answer these. If you could get a phone appt. with the pastor I’m meeting with tomorrow, that would be a coup.

  76. Craig says:

    patrickd,

    Thanks for taking the challenge. You are the only one thus far.

    First off, I haven’t labelled anyone a heretic. I don’t mind labelling the teaching heresy if it is by definition but not the person (see hyperlink).

    In using the term “orthodox” this represents the accepted truths of Christianity as deduced from the whole counsel of Scripture as guided by the Holy Spirit. These truths are accepted across all denominations and non-denominations which reasonably can be called “Christian” by historic orthodox Christian standards.

    Kenosis is the term taken from the Greek word kenoo which is rendered as “‘emptied’ Himself” or “made Himself ‘nothing’” in Philippians 2:7. That’s the crux of this doctrine — defining it properly. From the link:

    The danger comes when it is concluded that in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity took on human nature and gave up or lost some of the divine attributes — such that Jesus was not fully divine. The doctrine of the two natures of Christ (known as the hypostatic union) maintains that Jesus possessed a full undiminished human nature and a full undiminished divine nature, which were not combined or confused into some new nature but were added to each other forever (yet remaining distinct) in the one person Jesus Christ.

    To state Jesus “laid aside” His divinity is to suggest He no longer had divine attributes at His disposal. Thus Jesus would be non-divine and hence cease to be God. Can a non-divine person attain divine status?

    You wrote: “Bill Johnson teaches (and I agree) that everything that Jesus did on earth, we (the Church) have the “potential” to do through the power of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus did it as man and not God – even though He was God (see Phil 2:6-7).

    Can any man forgive sin (Matthew 9:1-6)? Can anyone live a sinless life as Jesus did?

  77. Craig says:

    patrickd,

    Now, regarding the “his” vs. “His”: why the change in pronoun capitalization if the intent was not to show a non-divine usage? In fact, this construction goes right along with Johnson’s words in chapter 7:

    Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.[When Heaven Invades Earth; p 79]

    The first two sentences are 100% true, of course; however, the third one is where the trouble begins. “Christ” identifies Jesus as the Messiah and He was the Messiah before creation. To claim Jesus was not Christ until “an experience” as Johnson does in the last sentence above is to imply Jesus was not the Christ/Messiah at the Incarnation.

    Luke 2:11 attests He was recognized as Lord, Savior, and Christ/Messiah:

    11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. [Luke 2:11, NIV 1984]

    In light of the above, Johnson’s use of “his” is consistent with this particular statement opening chapter 7.

  78. Craig says:

    I should have noted this section also:

    …The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless)…

    This also implies Jesus was void of divinity being “powerless.”

  79. Bill Fawcett says:

    Patrickd,

    You say: “That doesn’t mean He altered His nature in anyway. He just limited His expression – deliberately.”

    Yes, that is a good understanding- as most would put it: “He veiled His divinity” (His true character remained but was hidden or masked). That is **NOT** what Johnson teaches.

    You say ” it is acceptable to say that he “laid his divinity aside.” No it is not, not when it leads many/most of his followers to conclude that the Son ceased to be God while on earth. Here are some horrible but useful illustrations from regular pro-Johnson FB posters on a recent thread in which Johnson was involved with – on Johnson’s very own facebook page:

    “The term “deity” is a man made philosphical term that Jesus is not confined to.”

    “If Jesus was God while on the earth, there would be no possible way for us to live like him (it’s hard enough as it is)!”

    “Divine means: emanating from Go…d. Jesus was and is divine. It was the Spirit of God in Him that made Him divine.” [It was NOT the spirit of God that made the Son divine. The Son **IS** God. The Son did not "emanate from God." - that is heretical subordination]

    ” We are also divine and supernatural through the Holy Spirit that lives in us.” [wowsers!]

    ” Christ forfeited (for a season) His deity in that He traded His seat in heavenly places for the cross so that we all could be with Him..” ["forfeit" means for someone to lose something because they broke a contract or otherwise sinned. Jesus never sinned]

    Note that Johnson also implies that Jesus was sinful when he states “”When He became a man He forfeited everything.” Johnson uses the same term in respect to Adam, so he knows what it means.

    Obviously this convoluted understanding of the kenosis (the “emptying”) has arisen because the thesis “that everything that Jesus did on earth, we (the Church) have the “potential” to do through the power of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus did it as man and not God” appears to drive the understanding of Philipians 2 and not the other way around.

    “This is really cool stuff to explore..”

    Agreed. The kenosis is both mind boggling and wonderful. I would highly recommend Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” as a good starting reference. It becomes less than cool when it leads people to abberancy as demonstrated above.

    Although Johnson prefers that people gather around fathers rather than doctrine, doctrine (right teaching) is not only cool but essential. See 2 Tim 3:16 (teaching=doctrine). See also

    http://classic.net.bible.org/search.php?search=doctrine&mode=&scope=

  80. cherylu says:

    Bill,

    Is that conversation on Bill J’s FB page still available? If it is, could you tell me what day and time it is found? I would love to read it.

  81. cherylu says:

    Patrick,

    When Bill Johnson states that Jesus had NO (his emphasis) supernatural capabilites whatsoever, does that sound to you like he is saying that he just limited his expression of deity? It certainly doesn’t to me.

  82. Craig says:

    This statement cherylu references is on page 28 of the book [or page 24] here.

  83. cherylu says:

    PS I found it Bill. There seems to be a lot of comments missing though. You keep speaking to a Ray and there is no Ray there.

    Again I noticed that Bill Johnson said that Jesus was and is eternally God. But again, his other comments just don’t add up and make sense with that statement. Having no supernatural capabilities and being God are mutally exclusive it would seem to me.

    (This thread started about 7:00 a.m. on March 23rd for any that are interested.)

  84. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Your comment, “…I noticed that Bill Johnson said that Jesus was and is eternally God…” can still be matched up with Johnson’s statements in WHIE. More properly, the word “eternal” means “without beginning or end.” So, the statement “Jesus Christ is eternal God” would suffice. However, note how Johnson uses “was” and “is.” This could be construed as Jesus was ‘eternally God’ pre-Incarnation and He now is ‘eternally God’ post-Ascension; however, He was not ‘eternally God’ during His earthly ministry having “laid aside his [sic] divinity.”

    This lines up with the FB statement that Bill Fawcett posted: “Christ forfeited (for a season) His deity in that He traded His seat in heavenly places for the cross so that we all could be with Him..” — the faulty use of the word “forfeited” notwithstanding.

  85. patrickd says:

    Craig,

    12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12 (NIV 2011)

    I don’t think Jesus was talking about us forgiving sin here. Please don’t just argue the exception. I’m certain you know my point.

    Now without descending again into orthodoxy the whole idea about ‘laid aside” is the empowerment of the church. This is one of the foundations of Bill Johnson’s teaching ministry. That is what you guys are essentially vigorously arguing against. It is also something that is generally untouched by “orthodoxy.” It maybe an area of potential growth for you.

    Please people. Look for the intent. When Jesus says “I and the Father are one” or when he says “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” there are no dispute here. I can’t speak for Mr. Johnson, but I am most certain he doesn’t argue against these verses.

    Bill Johnson is one of my favorite teachers because I understand the intent behind his teaching. I believe John 14:12. I’ll leave it there and let someone else continue. I was searching for a Bill Johnson sermon when I came across this blog.

    Take care.

  86. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    Here is what he said. I am trying to get this word for word. I can’t cut and paste from the FB comments–it won’t let me. So I am going to be going back and forth between windows here and hope I don’t mess up.

    “Jesus was (and is) God. Eternally God. That never changed. But He chose to live with self imposed restriction while living on earth in the flesh–as a man. In doing so He defeated sin, temptation, the powers of darkness as a man. We inherit His victory–it was for us. He never sinned!”

    ( Bold added by me for emphasis. I also noted that in this case Johnson has the pronouns “He” and “His” capitalized.)

    It seems to me that Bill J’s statement, That never changed, sounds like that includes His time on earth–not just preincarnation and post ascension. What do you think?

    Facebook page link: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=10150118664758387&id=570660874

  87. Craig says:

    patrickd,

    So, the historic orthodox Church had it wrong for 2000 years and Bill Johnson has figured it out. Do you really believe that? You say you “understand the intent behind his [Johnson's] teaching” yet how can you get beyond the obvious contradictions? How can Johnson affirm the “I and the Father are one” (assuming Christian and not Eastern; ie, Buddhism, etc., I’ll note) statements of Jesus yet say he “laid his [sic] divinity aside?”

    I was already considering doing a separate blog post on the “greater works” verses; so, I suppose you’ve confirmed the need for it.

  88. Craig says:

    I suppose the first two sentences can be construed as orthodox. However, he goes on to state, as usual, a contradiction and showing himself as promoting the kenotic heresy.

  89. cherylu says:

    Continuing my last post.

    IF Bill Johnson does really believe that Jesus was God preincarnation, during His time on earth, and post ascension as his above quote would seem to indicate to me, then the only thing I see that we can say is that his theology is hopelessly contradictory and for some reason he just can’t see that. Because I can see no way to reconcile Him being God on this earth and “laying His divinity aside,” so that, “He had NO supernatual capabilities whatsoever.”

    The two are, as far as I can tell, completely mutually exclusive. I’m not at all sure how any one could argue otherwise.

  90. W B McCarty says:

    cherylu, as you’re probably aware we live in a so-called postmodern era in which not everyone accepts the law of non-contradiction. That is, some believe it’s entirely appropriate to believe two mutually inconsistent claims. Is Bill Johnson among them? I don’t know. But it is certainly difficult to understand what he intends by his many logically inconsistent claims

    Though I can’t say that it must necessarily be so, every one of Bill Johnson’s fans with whom I’ve interacted at length seems to have followed him into one serious error or another. Certainly, his Facebook page is rife with error and even explicit heresy, including a defective Gospel that makes no reference to sin or repentance from sin. What’s worse, neither he, nor his staff, nor BSM students, nor his fans generally seem to notice these errors–much less take time to correct them. When I read his Facebook page, I see souls in peril, souls in need of rescue.

    The difficulty of interpreting Bill Johnson’s formally incoherent teaching is one reason I thought a challenge might be helpful. By observing how his fans–many of whom read and re-read, listen and re-listen, watch and re-watch his messages–understand him, we may learn something. At root, it’s an uncontrolled experiment in reader-response interpretation of one of Johnson’s statements.

    All that said, here’s the big picture: Whatever Bill Johnson intends by his teachings, they do have a strong tendency to lead his fans into serious error.

  91. cherylu says:

    W B,

    I hope you are not thinking that I don’t believe Bill Johnson’s teachings are full of huge error because I certainly do. Here and in many other areas too.

    And I am certainly not disagreeing either that his follower’s are being led into all kinds of error as his FB page certainly confirms. And I believe it is all extremely serious stuff.

    Interpreting such profoundly contradictory statements becomes an extemely difficult thing to do. A nightmare as a matter of fact! I just don’t want us to make the mistake of insisting that BJ does not believe Jesus was God while on this earth if that is not really the case. Perhaps he really has such a totally confused theology and mindset that he can’t begin to see that what he believes is l00% contradictory and that what he says on the one hand totally cancels out what he affirms on the other. It wouldn’t be the first time I have tried to figure out the theology of another that was completely and totally contradictory. In fact I have been in another conversation on a different blog recently on a totally different subject where the person’s theology seemed to me to be so totally contradictory that it left my head spinning. But nothing could make the person holding that view see the contradiction. It was firmly implanted in his mind.

    And maybe Bill J is one that has no problem with contradiction I don’t know. If he does believe both things, he has surely created one, I do know that!

    I just want us all to be fair and accurate in what we say about this situation. To not do so would only cause credibility problems for everything else that we say.

  92. W B McCarty says:

    cherylu, I think you express yourself quite clearly. You’ve managed to put well some things I tried to state but found I couldn’t. :-)

    There’s a sense in which I don’t even care what Bill Johnson actually believes. As I wrote, my main concern is with the spiritual health of his fans, of whom I personally know no small number. That being the case, I certainly don’t want to load the decks against him by, for instance, quoting him out of context. That concern is yet one more reason for this challenge: It’s an opportunity for Bill Johnson’s fans to demonstrate that I, and others here, don’t understand him rightly. I would not only be content with that outcome, I’d celebrate it because I could use their comments as help to convince those who credit Bill Johnson’s teaching as the cause of their departure from orthodoxy.

    Toward that end, I’ll certainly use Bill Johnson’s recent, brief Facebook remarks in discussion with those of his fans I come across who’ve embraced heresy. But I don’t suppose those remarks will carry the day in convincing anyone that Jesus, while on earth, was God the Son, as orthodoxy requires. The remarks, as you point out, flatly contradict the plain interpretation of Bill Johnson’s teaching as expressed in several books. In a contest between the credibility of his statements, those expressed in commercially published books would seem to hold sway over brief, informal remarks on a Facebook page.

    The bottom line is that, for the good of his fans, Bill Johnson needs much more clearly and at length to the true and full divinity of the Son.

  93. W B McCarty says:

    “Bill Johnson needs much more clearly and at length to the true and full divinity of the Son.” s/b Bill Johnson needs to speak much more clearly and at length to the true and full divinity of the Son.

  94. cherylu says:

    “The bottom line is that, for the good of his fans, Bill Johnson needs to speak much more clearly and at length to the true and full divinity of the Son.”

    AMEN!

  95. Bill Fawcett says:

    Cheryl,
    Yes, I expected the thread to vanish. I do have a complete copy at home.

    As you noted, Johnson’s statement seems almost orthodox. And contrdictory. And he was unwilling to engage in further discussion, His first statement came shortly after one of his fans drifted into real theological doo-doo.

    I’m with WB on this one- the real damage oif Johnson’s doctrine is what his followers do with it. And the abberations are not isolated incidences, but seem fairly common, accepted, and seldom corrected.

    It was an interesting experiment to see if Johnson could engage in discussion beyond a few soundbytes. It seems he cannot.

    While I am thankful for his statement, it does seem to contradict other things he has said. At the very least, you would expect that he would be aware of the nuances and be more careful when he speaks and writes.

    Patrick,

    I was hoping you would hang around for a while. You are the first Johnsonite that I have met that seems to understand the concept that Jesus veiled his deity. Encouraging. Keep studying the Word.

    -Bill

  96. Craig says:

    I would think the inherent contradictions in Bill Johnson’s teachings once exposed would result in cognitive dissonance. Maybe this will be the result for some. And, maybe they will be led to Truth.

  97. peacebringer says:

    Let me add a few things while waiting for more responders.
    1st, to John, any discussion we have from here will go in one of the other threads as while related to this thread not direct.

    There is much I can say about confusion and contradiction. However, will have to wait till tomorrow or friday at some point.

  98. cherylu says:

    I can’t remember how much this may have touched on before in these conversations. But I think part of the problem in this whole scenario too is the fact that people have been so conditioned to believe that whoeever it is that is leading them is so “anointed” and has such a powerful “in” with God that whatever they are saying has to be right as it must have come straight from God’s heart and mouth. This type of person can take on pretty much “guru” status to those that are his fans or followers. When a person is elevated that highly, questioning anything that they say doesn’t come easily. The tendency seems to be more of a “he said so and so, therefore it has to be right. Who am I to question?” type of mentality. When you truly believe someone has a hot line to heaven in receiving revelation, and further more you believe that “God is doing a new thing,” I don’t think things have to be logical or make sense to be accepted. And they certainly don’t have to fit with orthodox Christianity. In fact, I am not so sure if it may not seem better to them if things aren’t orthodox–remember John Ashton’s comments that Bill J has gone several steps beyond orthodoxy and that is a good thing?

  99. mbaker says:

    “But I think part of the problem in this whole scenario too is the fact that people have been so conditioned to believe that whoeever it is that is leading them is so “anointed” and has such a powerful “in” with God that whatever they are saying has to be right as it must have come straight from God’s heart and mouth. This type of person can take on pretty much “guru” status to those that are his fans or followers. When a person is elevated that highly, questioning anything that they say doesn’t come easily. The tendency seems to be more of a “he said so and so, therefore it has to be right.”

    Cheryl, i think you nailed it there. But isn’t that true on both sides.? There are those in the faith who think Piper, MacArthur, Deeway, Carson and Grudem are the ‘experts’ so to speak and only follow what they say as far as translating the Bible.

    Not that I’m defending Johnson in any way regarding his misinterpretation of Christ’s divinity, but I do think to be fair, even those who claim to be on the side of orthodoxy can err in taking the human opinions of those we admire to extremes in that particular regard.

  100. cherylu says:

    Good point, mbaker. You are right. We can all be guilty.

  101. W B McCarty says:

    Sure, those who express a concern for good doctrine can wrongly follow “fathers” just as some who think that doctrine is now outmoded, having run its course in the Church. I think it might be significant that some folks consciously, deliberately, and perhaps even proudly follow a “father” whereas others may do so without fully realizing it. Personally, I don’t want to be in either of those two groups.

  102. John Ashton says:

    Hey Everyone-

    I had a meeting today with one of the pastors at Bethel. He says they don’t really have a policy about responding to challenges. He pretty much echoed what I’ve been saying: listen to Bill’s sermons; watch Bethel TV. As best I could tell, he resonates what I’ve been saying about the Incarnation and kenosis. He brought up the Chacedonian Creed and said it perfectly reflects Bethel’s views.

    Speaking for myself, I see there is still considerable discomfort with the 100-100 contradiction. Earth math doesn’t reconcile with Kindom math.

    But the bottom line is that you’re going to find things to criticize about Bill Johnson if you want to find them. The conclusions you’ve imputed to Bill about his Christology are simply false. But I’m not here to convince you or prove your wrong (or to prove myself right). I’ve shared that I had my objections. But I’m here, and I’ve never felt the presence of God like this. It’s palpable. What’s being done is like critiquing a restaurant based upon reading recipes and seeing photographs. You can use the laws of physics to “prove” a bumble bee can’t fly. Well, somehow, the bumble bee does fly…. and God is manifest.

  103. Craig says:

    John,

    I (and I speak for some others on here as well) have listened to sermons, read books, etc. and at best I see contradictions. However, primarily Johnson presents the kenotic heresy in claiming Jesus performed his entire earthly ministry as a man. Sorry, but Johnson’s words are at odds with the Chalcedonian Creed, also.

    If you wish to keep believing your “Kingdom math” that’s your choice. It doesn’t make it orthodox.

    You wrote, “The conclusions you’ve imputed to Bill about his Christology are simply false.” Actually, they’re not and we’ve demonstrated this over and over.

    And further, you wrote, “But I’m not here to convince you or prove your wrong (or to prove myself right).” Yes, and that’s because you have no “proof.” There isn’t any.

    Your analogy re: restaurant is a false one. Critiquing words based on words doesn’t require visiting Bethel.

    Once again, all you have to offer are your subjective experiences of feeling “the presence of God.” I’m sure if you talk to one who practices any one of the Eastern religions they’ll tell you they experience ‘the presence of God,” too. And, it certainly IS real. However, it certainly isn’t God. So, how do you know this “presence” you feel is actually God and not a counterfeit? The Apostle Paul warns:

    3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough

    12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.

    13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. [2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 12-14; NIV 1984]

  104. W B McCarty says:

    John, you’re missing the whole point. This isn’t about a bunch of Internet yahoos seeking to prove themselves right at someone’s expense. Fundamentally, it isn’t even about what Bill Johnson actually believes. It’s about the fact that a goodly number of people who read or hear Bill Johnson understand him as saying that Jesus, during His earthly ministry, was not God the Son in full possession of each and every divine attribute, as the Chalcedonian Creed affirms. For over one thousand years, those souls who reject that central and distinctive Christian doctrine have been considered to be in peril. Those facts–and the apparent indifference to them of Bill Johnson, his staff, and many of his fans–concern me greatly. Can you offer any grounds whatsoever by which to assert that my concern is misplaced?

  105. John Ashton says:

    Craig, WB – There’s nothing I can add.

  106. peacebringer says:

    John,
    So basically your position is Bill Johnson is simply being misunderstood and misquoted? That there is context missing without greater exposure to Bill Johnson.

    Here is the deal as to why these questions are crucial, as they go to the outlined Biblical testing of spirits. Do they affirm or deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God come in the Flesh. And that is the crux of the issues and it is concerning that there is an appearance of otherwise.

    The quotes and discussion of his material in WHIE seems to directly be at odds with collossians 2:9. And in case anyone wants to suggest a Post resurection meaning take a gander and YLT rendering: Young’s Literal Translation
    because in him doth tabernacle all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,

    Now, I really need to get back to work. And we have much to discuss in other threads and my thoughts on cognitive disonnance are not appropriate here either.

    So, John, please demonstrate how the conclusions are false. How is what Bill Johnson is stating over and over misunderstood, cause I don’t get it, personally, so please explain to me how what Bill Johnson teaches is in line with Jesus is the Son of God Come in the flesh. For my friend, that is “CRITICAL”

  107. John Ashton says:

    Guys-
    I’ve written about 120 pages explaining this. I don’t think I can say it any other way. It’s the difference between someone’s resume and meeting them in person.

  108. Craig says:

    Think of a book you really enjoyed reading; any book. Do you really believe you have to meet the author in order to really “get it?”

  109. peacebringer says:

    Hey, John,
    I haven’t read all of what you said. Can you briefly summarize for me, perhaps by given simple answers to the posed questions of your undrstanding of what Bill Johnson teaches about Jesus nature? Now perhaps I can sort it out reading all the comments, but a brief summary would be nice. Cause “I don’t get it.”

    Meeting him in person won’t help me “get it” either. Sure, I miss the “atmososphere” at Bethel, or the experience, but those things do nothing to make the words more or less true.

  110. peacebringer says:

    eh, seems the dulles quote cannot find the original article of the theopedia http://www.theopedia.com/Two_natures_of_Jesus
    and the author of quote apparently doesn’t hold to a trinitarian view. Which shows, how easily words can seem to say one thing and yet in greater context have a different meaning than what appears. Always be careful.

  111. W B McCarty says:

    Well, that little accident makes a pretty good illustration, IMO. If a non-Trinitarian, Oneness Pentecostal can accurately explain the dual natures of Christ, we’d certainly hope the same to be true of a teacher who claims to be–or, at least, is popularly thought to be–Trinitarian. Given 1,000 years of church history, this isn’t exactly theological rocket science.

  112. Craig says:

    I’ve edited the quote and reference out of the comment.

  113. cherylu says:

    John,

    You have said several times that we can find things to criticize in Bill Johnson if we look for them. But you know what, it would be much easier to not see things to criticize. It would be so much easier if we believed he was right on and could just join you in saying that Bethel and their teachings are just fine.

    It would of been so much easier for me and for others here that have come out of these teachings if we had just thought things were all just great and good and gone on with what we saw around us. Some of us got into these churches with great excitement and great expectations. It was not easy and it was very painful when we started seeing that all was not as we had first thought it to be.

    And it is hard to see friends or family members caught up in what we believe to not be the truth of God’s Word. It is hard and it is frustrating to read something like Bill Johnson’s FB page or to have a one on one conversation with those that are totally convinced that everything Bill J and friends say is 100% correct. It is not like it is a fun thing to see error like this.

    And if I didn’t believe that these teachings were a danger to people and that they are taking them down paths that they may later greatly regret, I wouldn’t be spending time doing what I do when I read, research, and comment on a blog like this. I do what I do and the rest of the folks here do what they do because we are genuinely concerned. We are concerned for you and we are concerned for all of those others out there that are in the place we once were. And we are sincerely trying to give folks that may be sitting on the outside looking at all of this and trying to decide if it is something they should jump into the information they need to have understanding ahead of time. And hopefully to avoid the pain and struggle we all went through.

    I am not so young any more, John. Things in the church have changed so drastically in the last years. When I was young, if someone said they were a Christian, you had a pretty good idea what they meant by that and a good idea about what they believed. Now it is no longer that way. Saying you are a Christian can mean just about anything or not much of anything. Frankly, I would very much appreciate not having to sort through all of the stuff going on out there and just be able to relax. Unfortunately, we don’t have that privilege any more. Not for our own sake and our spiritual safety nor for the sake of those around us.

  114. W B McCarty says:

    patrickd: “Bill Johnson teaches (and I agree) that everything that Jesus did on earth, we (the Church) have the “potential” to do through the power of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus did it as man and not God – even though He was God (see Phil 2:6-7).”

    From your remarks, I infer that it’s likely that we share a common understanding of the nature of Christ. I suppose that, because you correctly understand the doctrine, you don’t pay due and careful attention to Bill Johnson’s words and their theological implications. You’ve acknowledged that, unlike Jesus, we lack the power to actually forgive sin (though, acting on His behalf, we can promise forgiveness to those who believe). However, you seem to think that difference to be a singular exception. I find any number of additional reasons to deny Bill Jonhson’s claim that Jesus came as only a man. Let me offer just one.

    Please consider: When Jesus received worship during His earthly ministry, did He do so through the power of the Spirit or through His own divine nature? Can we rightly receive worship? If not, is it really true that everything Jesus did on earth, we, too, can do? I think it’s clear that Bill Johnson’s claim is seriously in error.

    I’m glad that you apparently do see that this isn’t a case of a single, sloppy expression. It’s a theme –or as you put it, a “foundation”–in Bill Johnson’s teaching.

    I urge you to take a look at Facebook and other places where Bill Johnson fans hang out and post comments. You’ll quickly find quite a few claims that stretch beyond any reasonable boundary of orthodoxy–or the historic Christian faith, if you prefer the phrase to the word. Please take the time to do so and report back. I’m interested to read what you find.

  115. Craig says:

    John Ashton,

    I’m not going to release your comment in answer to “peacebringer” as it does not adhere to the directives of the article — it goes well beyond. We’ve already been through this on the Bill Johnson, Part I thread and I don’t wishe to rehash it here.

    Peacebringer wrote, “Can you briefly summarize for me, perhaps by given simple answers to the posed questions of your undrstanding of what Bill Johnson teaches about Jesus nature?” Let’s try sticking to just those parameters.

  116. peacebringer says:

    And Craig’s sentiment is in keeping with my request here.
    Later, when I have time I will address broader issues in another thread.

  117. John Ashton says:

    I answered what Bill teaches about Jesus’ nature.

  118. Craig says:

    Yes, you already have. Let’s leave it at that.

  119. Craig says:

    Bob DeWaay believes that Johnson is speaking Christological heresy with regard to Jesus having “laid his [sic] divinity aside”:

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel46.pdf

  120. NOLR History says:

    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

  121. Craig says:

    I wish to comment on this; but, I want to do so on a more appropriate thread as I wish to leave this one open to any challengers. In a minute, I will copy and paste your comment over onto the Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part II thread.

  122. Scott Arnold says:

    So, was Jesus omnipresent, as well? Wouldn’t that be included in your definition of God? What you are describing is Nestorianism, which is heresy.

  123. Craig says:

    So, was Jesus omnipresent, as well?

    I’ll answer your question with a question: Was (and is) Jesus God and thus in possession of all divine attributes?

    Please explain how the view of the authors of this post (not Bill Johnson), which are in agreement with the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds as well as the hypostatic union, amounts to Nestorianism.

  124. W B McCarty says:

    Scott, thanks for your question and claim, which show that you are really digging into these issues. I want to encourage you to continue to do so and to share with others here what you discover.

    As Craig pointed out, the basis for several of the questions in the challenge is the Chalcedonian Creed of 451 A.D., to which all Christians (Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Protestant) subscribe. As it happens, the Chalcedonian Creed was specifically drafted to exclude several heresies, including Nestorianism, which you helpfully mention.

    I urge you to read further on the Chalcedonian Creed, its history, and Christology generally. Please pay careful attention to explanation of the phrase “perfect [that is, complete] in Godhead,” which deals with your question concerning omnipresence (as does the subsequent phrase “the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union”). Also, please pay careful attention to the phrase “not parted or divided into two persons,” which deals with your allegation of Nestorianism. Finally, please note carefully the distinction between the terms “person” (or “subsistence”) and “nature,” which express the essence of the Creed, the so-called hypostatic union.

    BTW, Craig linked the phrase “Nestorianism” to the web site of CARM, the Christian Apologetics & Rsource Ministry. CARM’s web site is a very good place to begin learning about these issues. I don’t know of any significant error or oversight to be found there. However, their article on the Chalcedonian Creed and related articles are quite brief and may not answer all your questions. If you’d like help in finding a good systematic theology that explains the Creed in detail, please just ask.

  125. Matt says:

    I believe Jesus was fully God and man at the same time. He lived with the limitations of man purposefully. Meaning at any time He could come off the cross, but rather choose to stay. It was all by choice. For example if someone came in my house and stole something. I would have the right to press charges but I could chose not to. I always possess the ability to do the action and I have the right but I can choose not to. I can in essence forsake my rights or empty myself of the option. I think this is what Christ did. While He had the right (and power) to come off the cross He had lived His life in a limited way. To understand how man lives with the limitations of man. However, becoming fully reliant on God and choosing His will over His own, He showed us the power of a life submitted to God. Those who are led by the Spirit shall be called sons of God.

  126. Craig says:

    Matt,

    Since your comment was a reply to a much earlier comment (regarding Kenosis), I felt it best to repost and make comments to it here:

    You wrote, “I believe Jesus was fully God and man at the same time. He lived with the limitations of man purposefully. Meaning at any time He could come off the cross, but rather choose to stay. It was all by choice. For example if someone came in my house and stole something. I would have the right to press charges but I could chose not to. I always possess the ability to do the action and I have the right but I can choose not to. I can in essence forsake my rights or empty myself of the option. I think this is what Christ did. While He had the right (and power) to come off the cross He had lived His life in a limited way. To understand how man lives with the limitations of man. However, becoming fully reliant on God and choosing His will over His own, He showed us the power of a life submitted to God. Those who are led by the Spirit shall be called sons of God.”

    Matt, if we believe, as we should, that God is omniscient (all knowing), why would the Father need to send Jesus in order to “understand how man lives with the limitations of man?” Wouldn’t the Father already know this?

    Also, in the When Heaven Invades Earth quote in the article, it states that Jesus, as the sacrifice which could atone for sin was a “lamb, (powerless),” which means that Jesus had absolutely no power on the Cross, which differs from your assertion above. And, if Jesus was powerless to come off the Cross, He died as a man and not God; and, in such case His death could not atone for our sins.

    If by the statement “He laid his [sic] divinity aside” you understand Johnson to be stating that Jesus still had full divinity, what do you think of this other Bill Johnson statement which seems to infer that Jesus was not God at all during the Incarnation:

    Jesus Christ said of Himself, “The Son can do nothing.” In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!

    If, according to Johnson, Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” then he couldn’t be God. It seems to me, in the Johnson vernacular, Jesus had so “laid aside His divinity” that He no longer had any divine attributes. Now, to be fair, Johnson does continue this quote with:

    While He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He was redeemed…

    How can He be 100% God yet have NO supernatural capabilities? Either He possessed divine attributes which He could exercise or He didn’t. If He didn’t then He ceased to be God and the entire Trinitarian Godhead would collapse.

    Johnson goes further:

    …Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God … not as God… [all quotes from p 29 of the 2003 issue]

    Once again, according to Johnson, He did everything as a man — not the fully God, fully man Son of God of the hypostatic union but, as strictly a “man.”

  127. matt says:

    Hebrews 2:16-18 (New King James Version)
    16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
    Knowledge of and experential knowledge are two seperate things but are both considered knowledge. I can know of something but have no experiential knowledge of it. Jesus gained the latter by putting off his divinity, not relying on it. He instead lived with the limitations of man in complete right relation with the Father experienced life as man not as God in a new way He hadn’t known(experienced) before. Thanks for commenting back I’m learning a lot. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27: 17.

  128. Craig says:

    Matt,

    Thanks for your followup comments. We all learn from each other in the body.

    Yes, and Hebrews 4:15 states:

    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. [NIV 1984]

    The only sacrifice which could atone for our sins had to be sinless. Man, being born into sin as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden, could never provide atonement. Jesus Christ was more than a mere man, of course. He was the Son of God, God in the flesh. He was both human and divine. And, it’s only by His divinity that He could remain sinless.

    It was not until Baptism that the Spirit came down as a dove and remained on Him [John 1:29-30; Luke 3:22; Mark 1:9-10; Matthew 3:16-17] which provided Him the means with which to perform all the miracles, signs and wonders, according to Bill Johnson’s teachings [see Chapter 7 WHIE p 79]; so, logically, Jesus could not have done any of these before Baptism according to Johnson. If we accept this teaching, it seems as though Jesus Christ was not fully divine until Baptism which would mean he’d be as much subject to sin as any other man prior to Baptism. If so, how did He remain sinless between the Incarnation and Baptism? Was He fully God at the virgin birth?

    As far as experiential knowledge: is it possible that Jesus Christ suffered here on earth in our presence, in part, for our benefit, so that we might “see” God, God in the flesh — or at least in His veiled form? If we accept that Jesus Christ was with God “in the beginning” and “through Him all things were made,” in Him was life,” and therefore He was God [John 1:1-4], and that God is omnipresent, why would we think He’d have to come here as a man, as God in the flesh, in order to ‘experience’ the human condition so as to fully understand man, His creation? You may want to read Job 38 through 42.

  129. peacebringer says:

    Craig,
    Those were poigniant comments and gets to the point. It was not that Jesus came as “God with us” that he may experience what “humanity” goes through. For God is divinely empathetic and knows our pains and sufferings intimately. He knows each and every tear. Rather, it is for us to know and see that God loves, God cares. That he came and took on the consequences of our sin. Even stepping into a fallen body. And here is where it gets confusing. Jesus in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in physical form came to earth that was twisted by sin. The divine and perfect entering the corrupted flesh. He lived in the corrupted world yet maintained perfection.

    The concept becomes really a “human” focused perspective and elevation of man. It is about “our capacity” to do and in reality elevates the Holy Spirit above the Son. Now, the plus side is that when we surrender to Jesus and the Holy Spirit we are empowered, but not to our own expecattions or desires. Rather, it is empowered to love and serve with how God gives. As I stated elsewhere it starts with a flawed theology of suffering followed by a flawed concept of humanity.

  130. desean jones says:

    Matt,
    It seems there is a confusion of the creature / creator distinction in Johnson’s view of Jesus.

  131. Matt says:

    Matthew 26 38-39
    38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
    39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

    From these verses I believe you can see that He had to have put His divinity aside, in the way of not relying on it. I do think He possessed the ability to know all things, but I think He purposely blinded Himself to it. In order to live as man. That without being as man the sacrifice would not win back those who had come under the curse. He asked God, “if it is possible.” However, I do believe as you, that He did all this for our benefit. I don’t think there is an angel in heaven, or a man who has ever lived who could do what Jesus did. I think it is the most amazing act ever orchestrated in heaven or on earth. I believe that the fact that Jesus actually did it taking on flesh and limiting himself is even more amazing. I do see where some people twist this however and think that somehow man can reach a god like status without the sacrifice. It seems to diminish the cross instead of empasizing it. Jesus is our model of how to live, He showed us how to do it being the perfect model. He is the only way in, being that if we have ever sinned we are disqualified. So no amount of getting it right can ever bring me closer to God than what Jesus did. The more I rest in faith on what He did and lean on the Spirit for guidance the more my life will reflect the Kingdom. Peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Ghost. I don’t think however that the garden seen was just so we could see it, and he really did not mean what He was praying. I really think He limited his vision to only be able to see as man, or only what Father God would show Him. That is why He asked the question. He could have leaned on his divinity and recieved the answer, but as man He instead leaned on God. Only the sacrifice of a perfect man could free us up in this realm, but only God-man could do it. I do not deny God’s divinity, in fact I believe God can do what ever he want including putting off the ability to know all for a moment in time to depend on Father God. I think it shows me even more the confidence the trinity have with one another to do that amazing act and orchestrated it together why I can always trust on Them to make all thing work out for our good. It was truly a remarkable thing that Jesus stepped down from heaven and would live a life fully dependent on God the way He wants me to.

    Thanks for all the comments. I’ve never done a forum before and I really appreciate how everyone is so respectful and honest. God bless you all, this is really cool. I know I’m not as well written as most, but you never point it out. lol Thanks for looking past that and still hearing my ideas.

  132. peacebringer says:

    Matt how do you draw that conclusion. Scripture tells us “all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in bodily form.” There is nothing about Jesus experience the full wait of emotion and resisting temptation and surrender to God. It is also clear in Scripture that Jesus is in continual submitted relationship to the Father. Only the Father knows the day and hour.

    Jesus was/is by no means diminished. He exhibited walking in knowledge and power. Now he did step down, but never ceased “all the fullness” otherwise he would cease to be God with us, and simply man who transcended and operated outside of self (annointing)

  133. Craig says:

    Matt,

    I think you present yourself well enough; so, there’s no problem there.

    However, it seems you are not seeing this all the way to its logical conclusion. Bill Johnson’s view, the one in question in this article, is that without the Holy Spirit anointing at His Baptism, Jesus was wholly incapable of doing any miracles. As I implied earlier, this means he could have sinned (and likely even should have sinned) prior to Baptism since He did not yet have the Holy Spirit anointing. Further, it would seem that even Jesus’ “I am” statements such as “Before Abraham was, I am!” [John 8:38] would mean that He was only speaking as deity by virtue of the Holy Spirit and not because of His inherent divinity, and without the Holy Spirit Jesus could not have said any of this truthfully. This is where the problem comes in — well at least part of the problem with Johnson’s doctrine as there’s more.

    Taking this then to its logical conclusion then any man who has the Holy Spirit should be able to say “Before Abraham was, I am!” and other such things. They should be able to forgive sins. They should be able to say “I am the Gate for the sheep.” Etc, etc. Obviously, this is not true.

    It’s well nigh impossible for the human finite mind to comprehend God in the flesh, one who is “truly God and truly man.” So, rather than going beyond the implications in Scripture, others before us, in attempts to ward off heresy, codified the hypostatic union. If we stick to that, then we should be able to stay away from making heretical statements.

    Keep in mind, of course, that Jesus also slept. Yet, God never sleeps nor slumbers. A contradiction? No, this is one of the mysteries of the Incarnation. We can never fully understand it. However, we cannot say that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside” as this makes Him less than God. Jesus Christ had full divinity. His divinity was veiled and not “laid aside” having “emptied Himself” of any of His deity.

  134. W B McCarty says:

    Simply put, the biblical teaching is this. Jesus did not put off or lay aside divinity. He put on humanity. That is, He did not subtract from His nature; He added to it.

  135. Craig says:

    W B,

    Succinct and to the point. :-)

  136. mbaker says:

    WB Mcarty,

    While I understand this is a widely accepted view among theologians, still it supposes that God can be added to or subtracted from, on the opposite end of the spectrum. As a believer in God’s total sovereignity I do not believe the Bible teaches Christ had to become just like us in order to understand what we suffer as humans, because as a sovereign and omnipotent God He would have had to know this already.

    I think it is also important to state the difference in how and where His sovereignity and knowing all, and His humaness occurs so that folks like Matt can understand the difference. This is where I think BJ and his fans fall down.

    Perhaps you can enlighten us a little more.

  137. W B McCarty says:

    MBaker, the doctrine I describe is not merely a “widely accepted view.” On the contrary, it is definitional of Christian orthodoxy and has been so since publication of the Chalcedonian Creed (451 A.D.). That the taking on of a human nature does not entail addition to the divine nature of the Son or loss of His divine attributes is explicit in the Creed: “two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. . . .”

    Moreover, strictly speaking, the Bible does not teach that God became just like one of us. Jesus was (and is) like us as to His humanity (Heb. 4:15). But, unlike us, He possesses two natures: one divine (Col. 2:9) and one human.

  138. mbaker says:

    I hear you, I just do not think that part has been widely taught. But on most discernment websites it has been more about the individual person’s wrong teachings. That’s too bad, IMO, because I think it gives a distorted view of who Christ really is, in that respect, on both sides.

  139. W B McCarty says:

    MBaker, I see your point and agree. When critiquing suspect theology, it’s easy to fall, or seem to fall, into the opposite error, so to speak. That’s a key reason I thought that a challenge and dialogue of this sort would be useful since it affords opportunity to affirm correct teaching rather than merely deny wrong teaching.

  140. matt says:

    Hebrews 2:17 17Therefore, He had (A)to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might (B)become a merciful and faithful. It seems to me I’m not contradictin scripture but merely your understanding of it. I believe as I can close my eyes ,so can God still remain all powerful and yet cover His eyes to His own knowing. To be all powerful does mean He can do whatever He wants. So if he chooses He can not lean on His own divinity in order to live out life as we do. He has the ability to do what He wants. Jeremiah 31:34 …For I will forgive their iniquity and their sins I will remember no more. He chooses in this verse to forget. He is all knowing yet he can choose not to remember. That is why He is all powerful He has the ability to do what he wants. I do not think His divinity was taken away from He had it intact He simply lived without it. I could choose not to move my right arm if I wanted, I can close my eyes if I choose. To say God cannot is to take away from His ability in my own estimation. I like you do not feel He subtracted but did add. As far as the I am statements. Christ only spoke what He heard the Father say and did what He saw the Father do. John 12:49
    For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. Jesus says here clearly He has authority, but however he leans not on His but His Fathers. He speaks only what God has shown Him remaining dependent on the Father as He models for us. As far as Jesus’s authority it is based on His righteousness and no one else in Scripture or on earth has ever lived a sinless life except for Jesus. Proverbs 16:12
    It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, For a throne is established by righteousness.
    and then again Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;Mercy and truth go before Your face. A throne is a place to rule from. Jesus’s sinless life, living as man, gave Him the ability to win back what the enemy had stole in the garden, authority. Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? When Adam disobeyed he became the slave to sin. Authority was transfered to Satan, but through Jesus the second Adam he obeyed fully and got back man’s place through his sacrifice. For his sacrifice to be perfect he had to suffer and remain obedient as man. Hebrews 5:8-10 (New King James Version) 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” Again here Christ learning or experiencing. He became perfect here is not refering to God not being perfect, but an acceptable sacrifice for man’s sin. He was perfected as a sacrifice. He could make I am the Gate, Way, etc. because He knew who He was and that His sacrifice was the other way. No one in all of scripture was sinless so they could not say this even with the Holy Spirit. They could speak as mouthpieces of God however, and when the Spirit comes on you it is as if God has spoke it himself. Thus why we consider Scripture the infalliable Word of God. So if the Spirit wanted to speak through you to say your sins are forgiven you could say it. You better make sure it is God, but you would be His mouth piece not the actual one bringing the forgiveness. So Jesus could not lean on His diety and say your sins are forgiven you since He heard from the Father. He was perfect and knew He would be the perfect sacrifice for sins. So He could leave the sins unpunished and still be just, knowing he would accomplish what He set out to do. Romans 3:25-27 in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
    Just in the fact He did not let sin be unpunished. The one who justifies in the fact He makes sinners right in His sight through the blood.

  141. matt says:

    the other way should be the only way in my statement above. The other part is the place where I say Jesus could not lean on His diety. I mean he could hear from the Father and say your sins are forgiven from God without having to lean on his diety.

  142. mbaker says:

    Just to make it clear my comment on May 14, at 9:32 dide not agree with Matt’s but was in answer to WB McCarty. I hope the author of this site will make that clear!

  143. matt says:

    Matthew 26:52-54 (New International Version)

    52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Here he has the option so His divinity remains intact, but he chooses not to use it.

  144. W B McCarty says:

    Matt, if the Son did not exercise divine power during the period of His humiliation, how should we understand Heb. 1:3 (he “upholds all things by the word of His power”) and Col. 1:17 (in Him all things consist”)? Wouldn’t His choice not to exercise divine power entail the destruction of His creation, which at all times depends on His sustaining power?

  145. matt says:

    Actually I think His exercising His divinity on earth would actually of caused the destruction of His creation. If He did not live as a man dependent on God, He could not be an acceptable sacrifice for man. Thus the made perfect statement in Hebrew 5:9. Without the suffering humanity part there could not be true obedience, but being tempted and still without sin. Going through all the same trials we have and not messing up. Not knowing everything but still trusting in God, He became a perfect sacrifice for mankinds sin. If he died as God alone it would not have helped us. We needed a perfect man to die to win back mankind from the power the enemy had gotten through the disobedience in the garden, not a perfect God. God was already perfect and as a Spirit eternal cannot die. However taking on the flesh, He also took on our limitations to be our perfect sacrifice. Not taking on our limitations would simply make Him God, not Godman. He however perfectly submitted His flesh to the will of God becoming the perfect sacrifice even in the face of temptation, in all points as we are. Why would the word include this if it wasn’t for a purpose. How does it help me to know that God relying on His full diety could hold out on temptation. Knowing that He could resist by leaning on God’s divinity lets me know through Him I can endure, not in myself. Relying on God. I think if He didn’t limit himself as humanity is limited then He would not be a perfect sacrifice for us. If not perfect then we would all face judgement cause that is all that would be left. All those in Paradise would have had to be thrown out to because the sins before hand were left unpunished. They were left unpunished because they were awaiting the future hope of Glory, Jesus. He is the only way in to heaven without the perfect sacrifice our fate would be the same as the masses who do not except Christ at Judgement. So by his act He held us together, saving us an all creation from what they were subjected to unwillingly. Romans 8 20-21 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. We through sin subjected creation to decay and corruption because the earth was given to men. However, Christ got back the keys, he held it all together through the sacrifice. He upholds all things. The living as humanity made the way for the visible to be brought back in the ownership of the invisible God through His Son Christ Jesus. Revelation 13:8 (New King James Version) 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. His was slain from the foundation of the world. A foundation is what upholds a house. His sacrifice upholds this world. Without him there is judgement period. The world would cease to exist. He has upheld it all by his sacrifice.

  146. Craig says:

    Matt,

    You’re missing some very key points in the Incarnation. Jesus Christ did not become a created being; therefore, He did not become man. As W B said, He put on humanity. This is the point of the virgin birth through Mary. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. And, of course, by taking on human flesh He did things other men did such as sleep and cry, etc. This does not diminish His divinity.

    Jesus Christ did not do anything as a man. He did everything as God in the flesh, truly God and truly man. If, as you say, Jesus can “close His eyes to His own knowing,” then what was the point of the Holy Spirit descending upon Him at Baptism? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems you agree with Johnson’s view that it was at Baptism that Jesus received the ability to do miracles. If that’s the case, He had no ability, no Holy Spirit to rely on, prior to Baptism. On the other hand, if you claim that He could lean on the Father at all times, even before Baptism, then what would be the point of Baptism if Jesus Christ could simply use the Father’s power rather than the Holy Spirit to perform miracles?

    With Jeremiah 31:34 you are carrying it too far. Do you really think that God can “forget” sins? Of course God doesn’t actually forget. It’s a figure of speech. When Jesus says He is the “Gate for the sheep,” “the Bread of Life,” the True Vine,” “the Light of the World,” etc. we know these are not to be taken literally, obviously.

    17”The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” [John 10:17-18]

    The passage above illustrates that Jesus had both power (No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord) and authority (I have the authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again). No one here is denying Jesus was obedient to the Father. However, we are saying Jesus was not so dependent upon the Father that He was, in effect, a mere man.

  147. Craig says:

    Matt, you wrote: “Jesus’s sinless life, living as man, gave Him the ability to win back what the enemy had stole in the garden, authority.

    It seems you are separating the period of the Incarnation from Jesus Christ as God eternal. He was and is God eternally including the entire time of His earthly existence. This Scripture clearly shows this:

    57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

    58 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. [John 8:57-59]

    This is a bold declaration of Jesus Christ as eternal God, so much so the Jews wanted to stone Him for blasphemy.

    I agree that Scripture makes it clear that the only once-for-all sacrifice for sins had to be a perfect man and hence sinless. But, there’s the rub. Since man is inherently sinful no man could accomplish this. However, the Son of God, God in the flesh could and did. To say Jesus Christ was strictly a man would infer a deficient Atonement.

    Matt, the trouble you are getting in is that you are separating the God from the man and vice versa in Jesus Christ. It is important to understand that He was/is both. Yes, some Scriptures speak more to His humanity, however, others speak more to His deity. We must always take the full counsel of Scripture.

  148. Craig says:

    mbaker,

    I’m not exactly sure how you want me to do this. Perhaps your comment and my reply here will suffice?

  149. Craig says:

    Matt,

    Jesus Christ had as His purpose to die as propitiation for our sins. Calling on legions of angels to stop the process leading up to His Crucifixion would defeat that purpose. This is not a matter of choosing whether to “exercise His divinity” or not but rather continuing in His divine purpose.

  150. Craig says:

    Matt, you wrote: “If he died as God alone it would not have helped us. We needed a perfect man to die to win back mankind from the power the enemy had gotten through the disobedience in the garden, not a perfect God. “

    First, God could not, and, of course, did not die. Second, yes, you’re right we need a “perfect man” to provide propitiation for our sins. And, the Son of God, God in the flesh, the unique God-man, was that perfect sacrifice. This sacrifice had to be both.

    Matt, there’s a reason why the hypostatic union within the Chalcedonian Creed of 451 was drawn up. To think you or someone else can negate 1500+ years of accepted orthodox Christian doctrine is, quite frankly, arrogant.

    Here is an English translation of the Creed from the hyperlink:

    “We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.” [emphasis added]

  151. Craig says:

    Matt, you wrote: “How does it help me to know that God relying on His full diety could hold out on temptation. Knowing that He could resist by leaning on God’s divinity lets me know through Him I can endure, not in myself.

    Because His Grace is sufficient.

    It is by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us that we can overcome sin in our lives. Yet, clearly, not one of us can ever live sinlessly even for a few minutes. That is the reason Jesus Christ died. He didn’t die so that we can be perfect in and of ourselves even with the Holy Spirit indwelling. We are only perfect in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.

    Is it somehow unfair that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, truly God and truly man? Would it be more fair if we were all God-men? This is not about fairness, it’s about Jesus Christ’s propitiation for the sins of all mankind.

    Matt, you wrote: “His sacrifice upholds this world. Without him there is judgement period. The world would cease to exist. He has upheld it all by his sacrifice.

    That’s not correct. Here are the Hebrews verses in full context:

    1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. [Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV 1984]

    The Son “sustains all things by His powerful Word” having “made the universe.” Jesus Christ’s sacrifice provides propitiation of sins, His sacrifice does not “uphold the world” as you say.

  152. W B McCarty says:

    I’d like to call attention to one specific phrase in the Chalcedonian Creed: “the property of each nature being preserved.” That brief assertion entails that, in Jesus, all the divine attributes–including, for example, omnipotence and omniscience–continued (and continue) to inhere. That is, Christ was (and is) fully God and fully man.

    Let me also re-iterate that the Creed is definitional of Christianity; that is, all branches of Christianity–Roman, Orthodox, and Protestant–affirm it. There’s no law that says any person or group must affirm the Creed. But any person or group that does not affirm the Creed thereby denies the common, orthodox Christian understanding of the nature of Christ.

  153. Peacebringer says:

    Part of what happens in understanding the infinite by the finite is reductionism. This results in knowing in part and leaves open for error but we were given specifics in Scripture to grow in. When there is elimination of a part of whole. There is error and grounds that lead to accepting decption

  154. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    At 7:54 a.m. yesterday you made this statement: I agree that Scripture makes it clear that the only once-for-all sacrifice for sins had to be a perfect man and hence sinless. But, there’s the rub. Since man is inherently sinful no man could accomplish this. However, the Son of God, God in the flesh could and did. To say Jesus Christ was strictly a man would infer a deficient Atonement. (Bolding added)

    Could you please clarify for me what you mean by that statement about man being inherently sinful as it relates to Jesus? To me it seems to be saying that Jesus, in regards to His human nature, had a sin nature like you and I. Am I reading something into what you said that you did not intend?

    Thanks.

  155. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I didn’t mean to convey that I believe Jesus, by taking on human flesh, took on man’s inherent sinful condition at the same time. Thanks for pointing out the fact that my wording could be misconstrued.

    For clarity, since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, man is born into a sinful condition. This, of course, is the reason for the need for Atonement for our sins. Jesus Christ, in taking on human form at the virgin birth, did not inherit mankind’s sinful nature. This is why the virgin birth is so important. And, of course, since Jesus Christ is fully and eternally God, He is not inherently sinful.

    The point I was trying to make in the quote you reference is that no man could possibly live sinlessly as mankind is inherently born as a sinful being. Only the perfect Son of God, God in the flesh, the One Who is truly God and truly man could be a “perfect man,” so to speak, and thereby provide proper Atonement.

  156. cherylu says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Craig. It would seem that no matter how hard we try, the way we say things can be misconstrued at times. I know it has certainly happened to me before and probably will again.

  157. Craig says:

    How very true. The written word can be very precise; however, back and forth verbal dialog is more effective to ensure that the individuals communicating are understood in the manner intended. An unclear statement can be questioned in real time and clarified very quickly. And, once spoken, these words are not usually left in written form for someone else to potentially misconstrue.

    We all do our best!

  158. Matt says:

    Heaven God’s realm was made through Jesus. This realm was also made by Jesus. However authority was given to man by God to take care of this one. Sin entered the equation and there goes our authority to make this world look like heaven. Now this world is coming apart at that seams. That doesn’t seem upheld or remaining consistent. Decay is a process of coming apart. We needed glue, creation needed glue, the universe of the finite needed glue. Without it chaos, judgement, destruction is all we would have. God however became the glue that upholds all things. By his sacrifice even the creation will be brought into freedom according to scripture. The only reason at the fall all didn’t fall apart was because of the future Christ. He left the sins beforehand unpunished. The fact that before the foundations of the world the Lamb was slain. I think the problem is not with us all agreeing that God is infinitely powerful I think the problem is our definition of diety is different. I believe God is all powerful so if He wants to He can choose not to do something. You believe He can not choose to live blinded to His diety while it remainig intact. Seems like your idea of God is what is different. I do not believe that any man can do what Christ did even following the Spirit. Because of man’s sin he does not carry that authority, and because we have limited knowledge that much power would be dangerous. Jesus could lay aside His because He would completely rely on the other Trinity to do their part. Lay aside in the fact that He didn’t use His only as the Father gave command as in your earlier post. He could have done miracles but He waited for the Holy Spirit to give the okay. The Trinity working together. Look at Jesus’s words He only does what He sees and speaks that. He tells them the things He could do but He doesn’t. If he does do things on His own before He dies to get authority back then we lose. Satan tried to get Him to make a stone bread. He wouldn’t even though He was hungry cause the Father hadn’t gave the go ahead. He turned a loaf and multiplied it. He could have just as easy made His own food, but he submitted to the will of the Father without mistake. Jesus even says I don’t know the day or the hour. Above you say God is omnisicent so He knows all. Your definition of God is what seems different from mine. I won’t let a man made definition let me undefine what the Word of God says. The Scripture says He doesn’t know the time or date but only the Father does. I still believe Jesus is all God with all authority. Jesus did His work now He sits by the Father while He does His. sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. Psalms 110:1. That hasn’t completely happened yet. Jesus is still operating on faith knowing that God the Father is able to do what He promised. Every knee will eventually bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I think it is a beautiful picture of the Trinity working together on behalf of humanity. I’m not saying man has all this ability. I’m saying man through Christ does. Only in faith and only depending soley on Jesus. I can command the kingdom to come all day long and if the one who governs the kingdom doesn’t show up nothing happens. Christ is the head. But in my life one that was wrecked by drug addiction and self mutilation an intense depression, when the kingdom showed up in power I was changed. The Holy Spirit came into me gave peace, joy, and through faith righteousness. I’m not perfect but His sacrifice is and it gave God the right to bless me even though i didn’t deserve it. The devil can’t say nothing about it and accuse me before the Father for past sins. God says the blood of My Son was enough. Now I’m a new creation. Have been for the past 5 years. His perfect sacrifice as a man saved me, but only God could do it. As far as councils go considering man is inherently flawed is seems that anything even this post will contain some error. Only Scripture is solid and worth basing my life off of. I won’t let a council dictate scripture in my life. I will however prayerfully consider what they say, but if it doesn’t line up with the Word I won’t redefine Scripture to line up with them. I would rather realign myself to line up with Scripture.

  159. W B McCarty says:

    Matt, we apparently agree that creeds and councils have authority only insofar as they agree with Scripture. But please don’t suppose that you’re nobly and rightly pitting the inerrant Bible against the fallible opinion of man in the form of creeds and councils. Instead, if you continue to insist that Jesus did not exercise divine power during His Humiliation, you are joining the cults in pitting your personal interpretation of the Bible against what all orthodox Christians–Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant–have affirmed for over 1,500 years as the clear teaching of Scripture. Specifically, you are denying the plain sense of Heb. 1:3 and Col. 1:13 by affirming, in effect, that Jesus did not uphold all things and that all things do not consist–that is, have their being–in Him.

  160. matt says:

    Man is three parts in one spirit,sould,body. Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground(flesh) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life(Spirit), and the man became a living being(soul). The original design was flesh to be led by the Spirit. When man gave in to the flesh he switched the order and Satan won authority in the flesh. The curse Genesis 3:14 You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. The flesh(dust) was where Satan had authority. So if Jesus lets His flesh lead Him he gives up His rights to be a perfect sacrifice. Being tempted in all ways as us He was made a perfect sacrifice the flesh part of Him not the Spirit part of Christ. Not saying Christ was not perfect or His flesh tent. Saying to be a perfect sacrifice He had to endure all mans temptations and down falls without fail. His diety can remain intact in the Spirit part of Him holding all things together heaven and earth. Even though creation was coming apart. Which He held together by His sacrifice. The Spirit part of Him, the Spirit of Christ was with him from birth otherwise the flesh would have succeeded. I see though the limitation was in the flesh now. The Spirit never sleeps nor slumbers. Christ humanity did. He covered His eyes to say in His humanity. The flesh (brain) was withheld information. He had to learn as we did but the Spirit of Christ kept the flesh in perfect order and without sin. So He can retain His diety in the Spirit of Christ and live as man in the physical sense. Without taking away from His divinity. Man has a spirit, so it wasn’t against the law for God’s Spirit (Jesus) to occupy flesh. Still living as a man. Him being divine gave Him the ability no other had though to remain spotless. Jesus never submitted to the flesh. I think after reading some of your post I see something different though. The reason Satan, in the temptations, wanted Christ to turn the stone to bread was two fold. One to get Christ to exercise His divinity. Two to get Him to obey his flesh. He was hungry. The flesh was crying out for food but Christ submitted it to the Spirit. Till He was told to eat He would not. He depended on God for the go ahead. His finite(flesh) not knowing when it would be over, but His Spirit urging him on. Galatians 6:8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. He never gave in to the flesh. He only gave in to the Spirit. So I’m not denying the divinity of Jesus. I see from a different angle than you. He did not exercise divinity in His human aspect. The human part is the part that had to operate like man to be the perfect sacrifice. He was made perfect, not in sinless but as a sacrifice because He was tempted in all ways as us but without sin, suffered, and died. Also I’m not in a cult if my interpretation of Scripture goes against a council. I’m seeking truth. The only time I enter that is if I blatantly go against scripture God’s council. I will not elevate a council to the status of God’s infaliable word that to me seems heretical. I’m open to opinions but I will only change my opinion based on Scripture. I’m only saying if whatever this council is, is put on par with scripture and ruled infaliable it is heresy in itself. I’m wrong if I put my interpretation above God’s. I don’t admit to knowing everything I simply write my opinion and then view yours to help sharpen my own and ask for God’s wisdom. I’m not seeking to convert you to my opinion that would do you no good. I want to seek truth. We all see in part. I thank you all for writing and definitely want to continue to learn more. I’ve definitely changed my beliefs a lot since this first started. I just don’t see the point of quoting a council. I know the Bible is true, show me in it. I mean this council has been thrown up like bible verses. Nicean Council vers 23:13. I don’t even know that much about this thing. Just show me scripture since this is our common ground. The Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any two edged sword , not the council of Nicia.

  161. matt says:

    Sorry I shouldn’t have said those last statement in that tone. I know you are all men of God who love and respect His Word. I will also try to keep these things shorter. This is my first forum talk I’ve ever done, sorry. I really have been learning a lot.

  162. Craig says:

    Matt,

    Creeds were established mainly to combat heresy. These were put forth by men of God led of the Holy Spirit. The Creeds in question here have taken a specific subject into account, using the full counsel of Scripture, and put it in a more concise form. They are almost like reading a scholar’s commentary on Scripture. These are not merely one or two opinions with no basis in Biblical fact.

    Take, for example, the doctrine of the Trinity which you yourself have used in comments. The word “Trinity” is nowhere in Scripture, yet today orthodox Christianity recognizes this doctrine as Biblical fact. Why? It was codified in 325 at the Council of Nicea in response to confusion and rampant heresy. Now, if a church body does not adopt the doctrine of the Trinity it is not recognized as part of orthodox Christianity.

    In a similar way, the doctrine of the hypostatic union was codified at the Council of Chalcedon.

    You must concede that every time one talks about Scripture in attempts to explain it one is paraphrasing Scripture. You, of course, have done that here as we all have. You can view the Councils in the same way. The Councils provide a basis with which to view our understanding of Scripture. The ones quoted here have not later been ‘proven’ wrong.

  163. Craig says:

    Matt,

    Yes, let’s try to keep things more focused on the subject of this post.

    Have you read Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth?

  164. Matt says:

    I have read the Bill Johnson book. I’m not a follower of anyone but Jesus however. I read other peoples books and like you say with a council, which I’m sure I will quote unknowingly, I let them shape my beliefs in as much as the Spirit witnesses with them. When I say unknowingly I mean in the fact that this council has shaped History. In whatever regards they are in alignment with scripture to the best of my knowledge I’m fine with being in agreement. I’m saying that I’m not opposed to site other works of influence, However I will only quote them in as much as I believe they are in agreement with God’s Word. If I discover they are not then I will change my opinion based on Scripture to line up more with God’s perspective. I know from talking here you all would do the same. I just want to know from Scripture why believing Christ limited Himself it is heresy Scripturally? Since that is all that matters. Could He not limit His Divinity in the flesh? Is it not obvious He did? Why if He blinds His Humanity would the world come apart? Since like someone said above I need to understand the difference between Christ humanity and His divinity. Is not all things consist in Him statement, consistent with the fact that if He hadn’t beent the perfect sacrifice we would not be in Him therefore not consist. Without the cross we would come apart and chaos would result. If I’m outside of His covering or not in Him I’m in trouble and even the world shows us it is coming apart without Him. Is the cross not the power of Christ to those who are perishing. So I agree that “in Him” all things consist. Outside Him nothing will. 1 Corinthians 15:6 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. Power over us is the authority over us. Would you not agree that without the Cross, the power of God to those perishing, we would not consist, or be upheld. So the power of God here, in one since, His authority over flesh to bless(hold together, give eternal life, and uphold) is the Cross. Just a thought. Does this seem heresy Scripturally?

  165. Matt says:

    Also to lay aside His divinity is meant in the terms of the flesh. He operated in no more power than we do in His flesh. His divinity wasn’t diminished the flesh was as it was until He made it submit by His Spirit. He later operated in power after the baptism. His Spirit didn’t get annointed His flesh did. Like at the end of the book of John , Jesus breathed and said,”recieve the Holy Spirit.” They recieved the Holy Spirit. They had to wait in the upper room on the anointing to operate in power. He could operate in power anytime on the earth, however, we would have paid the ultimate price had He. Only a perfect man, submitted to all the temptations and limitations of man, without sin could save us. Or get back authority over this realm.(the keys to death, hell, and the grave.) Jesus Son of God/Son of Man. It wasn’t only His death that saved us, but the life he lived. If you notice there is no showing that the Devil tryed to tempt Jesus the way he did till the temptation. He saw that Jesus had lived by the Spirit as man for 30 years without fault, but until the Father but the seal of approval on the Son of Man he didn’t attempt to confront Him so. Because He the Son of God/ submitted the flesh with the limitations of the flesh for 30 years, the Son of Man got the approval of God. Still never diminished divinity only diminished flesh, but the flesh was being submitted perfectly to make the perfect flesh for sacrifice. Now the biggest temptation, what will the flesh do now that it was empowered. Yet He perfectly submitted it to God making the flesh perfect. Like in Hebrews,” 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation.” The divinity was not made perfect but the flesh through trial was tested in a furnace. By obscurity, by prominence, by power, but yet did not yeild to flesh but yeilded the flesh to the Spirit the way it was meant to be.

  166. Craig says:

    Matt,

    Without the Cross we would be under the Law of Moses. I fail to see how The Cross, in and of itself individually and solely, has anything to do with Jesus Christ upholding the world. Hebrews 1:3 – the verse in question here – states that Jesus Christ is the exact representation of his [God’s] being which means He is fully God. And, I’ve cited Scripture in which Jesus Himself declares this.

    Your main thesis is that Jesus somehow ‘closed His eyes’ to His divinity which then is incumbent upon you to prove this from Scripture. However, you can’t as it’s an argument from silence. Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ is God and as such He must have all the attributes of God. Orthodox Christianity states His attributes were veiled during the Incarnation, not that He somehow ‘closed His eyes’ to His divinity. No one can see God and live; so, obviously, His attributes were thus veiled.

    You still insist on viewing Jesus Christ’s humanity as separate and distinct from His divinity which puts you in the territory of heresy. To be orthodox you must consider Jesus Christ as one complete entity, human and divine, with no diminution of His divinity – not one iota. If Jesus Christ became less than God, the Trinity would cease and hence the world would no longer subsist.

    I’ve supplied hyperlinks to other sites to help show you your error, yet you continue. At this point we’re having a circular argument which I no longer wish to be a part of; so, from this point forward, unless you have something new to say your comments will no longer appear on the site.

  167. Craig says:

    Matt, you wrote: “He operated in no more power than we do in His flesh. His divinity wasn’t diminished the flesh was as it was until He made it submit by His Spirit.

    Now, you’re getting worse in separating Jesus’ humanity from His divinity and vice versa. From your statement, can we maintain sinlessness?

    I have no idea your age; but, you have admitted that you’ve been in the faith for 5 years. Yet, even though you weren’t familiar with the Councils which shaped our faith over 1500 years ago, you wish to maintain your position which is at odds with historic orthodox Christianity. Frankly, that’s just about the epitome of arrogance.

    You wrote: “If you notice there is no showing that the Devil tryed to tempt Jesus the way he did till the temptation. He saw that Jesus had lived by the Spirit as man for 30 years without fault, but until the Father but the seal of approval on the Son of Man he didn’t attempt to confront Him so.

    Once again, an argument from silence upon which to build a thesis.

    It is obvious you’ve read Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth by some of your comments here. As to your words regarding the Apostles that they had to wait until Pentecost to receive their power, how do you reconcile that with the 72 Jesus sent out in Luke 10? This is covered in the “Baptism in Confusion” section of Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part II.

  168. matt says:

    Thanks for allowing me to participate I really learned a lot and have a lot to think about. I know one thing that It isn’t our perfect understanding of Scriptue or God that makes our way in heaven. Actually it isn’t about our perfection at all, it is about His. I believe Jesus has all authority and all power on heaven and earth. Always is and always will be God. I admit my theology is flawed as I am flawed. There are things I don’t know and will continue to seek truth, and as new truth comes to light will change accordingly. Thank you for this opportunity to get rubbed the wrong way. I loved every minute of it. I hoped in doing the samething we helped sharpen one another. I admit if anywhere my statements were wrong or the Spirit did not confirm it don’t change your opinion on Scripture and if you don’t know everything that is alright to. We have eternity to learn. The foundation is faith in Christ. Always let God be your light, and always be teachable. I never joined this to convert people to my doctrine. I only wanted to straightforward present an argument without apology then hear your perspective. Thanks for everything you all are awesome. Your brother in the Lord Matt.

  169. Craig says:

    Matt,

    I truly hope you did learn and will look over the comments here and continue to search and learn more; however, from your comments it seems you stick to at least one aspect of heresy all the way through. Earlier you wrote, “His Spirit didn’t get annointed His flesh did.” This sounds like the heresy known as Nestorianism which defines Jesus Christ as having two separate and distinct natures, one human and one divine, and from the hyperlink:

    ” The problem with Nestorianism is that it threatens the atonement. If Jesus is two persons, then which one died on the cross? If it was the “human person” then the atonement is not of divine quality and thereby insufficient to cleanse us of our sins.”

    You could benefit from a good Systematic Theology such as Wayne Grudem’s. From the book:

    …And, though we can sometimes distinguish actions of His divine nature and actions of His human nature in order to help us understand some of the statements and actions recorded in Scripture, the Bible itself does not ‘Jesus’ human nature did this’ or “Jesus’ divine nature did that,’ as though they were separate persons, but always talks about what the person of Christ did. Therefore, the church continued to insist that Jesus was one person, although possessing both a human nature and a divine nature.” [p 555]

    While there are portions of theology that are debatable and nothing to divide over such as eschatology (study of end times), we must maintain proper Christology (study of Jesus Christ’s nature, person and deeds). There are many other religions and cults who pervert the person of Jesus Christ and these do not offer true salvation as they do not offer proper Atonement. This is why understanding the person of Christ is of paramount importance.

  170. Craig says:

    matt,

    You seem to miss the point of this Open Challenge. It is specifically for Bill Johnson/Bethel supporters who wish to explain the brief passage quoted in Johnson’s book When Heaven Invades Earth identified in this post. This is the reason I asked you if you had read this particular book. You’ve been given plenty of latitude having been allowed to go down rabbit trails apart from this.

    The purpose of this particular post is for individuals to explain the Johnson passage by answering the specific questions posed in the article. It appears there are a few who look at Johnson’s ambiguous statements and interpret them in a Biblically orthodox manner. Others interpret them in a heretical manner. From the original article itself:

    “This brief article challenges Johnson supporters to reconcile just one of Bill Johnson’s statements in his book When Heaven Invades Earth (WHIE) with Christian orthodoxy.”

    The objective is for the reader to explain Johnson’s passage in a Biblically orthodox manner, not to allow any particular individual a forum with which to put forth their own unorthodox doctrine. For this reason, I’m not going to release your last two comments especially the last one. You should read (or re-read) the Before You Comment tab.

  171. matt says:

    I will stay on point then. Christ did not have to limit Himself in the flesh, he chose to. Divinity does not die but He chose to die. He said He lays down His life and He can take it back up. Does this not prove that God has the ability to limit the flesh. I can not lift my arm if I want, did that diminish my matthood. I think the problem is not seeing the 3 part nature of man. God is Spirit those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. We are spirit, soul, body. Jesus died and it said gave up the Ghost. Did He cease being God since the perfect sinless flesh lay there devoid of the Spirit, did the world come apart as you say. Since His Divinity left the perfect body. The flesh is not what makes us. I can live without some flesh. I can live without a leg. My spirit tells my mind which tells my body what to do. Saying Jesus could not chose to lay aside the ability to exercise authority in His flesh is diminishing God to just a body. And contradicts His own statement. Did Jesus not learn to talk, walk, did He not sleep, and use the bathroom. He didn’t have to do any of that your right, He is God. He chose to. He could have just appeared in flesh and died if all He needed was skin. His life means as much as His death. It is not against orthodox christianity because it doesn’t deny the Divinity of Christ. Only your understanding of how that divinity works. Easy example, I love my kids with the love of God. That love unctions my mind to have a thought to do somethin. I now choose in my mind whether I will respond and act according to the unction. If I don’t the spirit never finds expression in this realm and dies in my mind(faith without works is dead). If I do then there is a physical manifestation of a spirtual reality. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We are more than just mind and body. We are spirit as well. Jesus invaded this world with His Spirit and kept the flesh perfect(since it started out that way). He gained back what man loss through disobedience with obedience. That does not sound like heresy. He laid His life down in His own words. A lamb is led it doesn’t take the lead. He choose to be the Lamb for us so He could become the Lion for us as well. The lamb became a lion. You have to think spirtually not naturally to make sense of it. In conclusion it does not lessen the Divinity of Jesus the fact that He took on limitations in His flesh. If as you say the world would cease to exist if His mind didn’t know everything His Spirit knew. Based on the argument He couldn’t limit His flesh as you say. Even though Him dying showed He gave up divine rights to endless life. Seeing this from an natural example. Is my leg any less me because it can’t answer questions. No it is part of me I control it with my mind. So the Spirit controls the mind. So the Spirit of Christ can control the mind of Christ which controls the body of Christ. Exercising control or restraint in one doesn’t diminish the other. The Spirit is the highest. , Christ stepped down into this one. This does not diminish diety just the function as you understand it.

  172. Martin says:

    Just a quick contribution – was Jesus perfect from the moment he was born? If he wasnt perfect, then how could he be God? Matt 5:48

    But yet it says In Hebrews 5:9 That he was made perfect.

    God is perfect….yet Jesus was made perfect….Surely this is a contradiction.

    God can be tempted? Hebrews 4:15
    God cannot be tempted? – James 1:13

    Surely this is a contradiction.

    So we find some seeming examples which to be honest, is one of the mysteries of God. He was fully God, he was fully man. How can the two co-exist in one physical body?

    So i believe that Johnsons statement is completely feasible. To my mind it does not contradict the full divinity of Jesus as God, at the same time as Jesus being perfected, as a man.

  173. Craig says:

    matt,

    OK, I’m STILL going to allow you latitude, but this is the last time. Please try to keep your comments more on point. I’ve selected some of your comments to reply to and put those comments in italics:

    Divinity does not die but He chose to die. He said He lays down His life and He can take it back up. Does this not prove that God has the ability to limit the flesh.

    No, all this proves is that Jesus Christ chose to die on the Cross and that He had the power/choice to both lay down His life and to pick it back up. (Side note: Johnson, on at least 2 separate occasions, claims Jesus could not raise Himself contrary to John 2:19 and other Scripture.)

    Did He cease being God since the perfect sinless flesh lay there devoid of the Spirit, did the world come apart as you say.

    Are you saying Jesus died spiritually? That is heresy, by the way. It’s not wise to go beyond what Scripture states explicitly. See here: http://carm.org/christianity/christian-doctrine/where-did-jesus-go-after-he-died-cross. From the link:

    “When Jesus was made alive in the spirit, it is not saying that His spirit died and then it became alive again.”

    Saying Jesus could not chose to lay aside the ability to exercise authority in His flesh is diminishing God to just a body.

    I don’t follow your logic. Jesus Christ chose to come to earth by taking on flesh. In doing so, He also grew from infant to adulthood and did other things as normal humans do. However, He also, was at all times God during the Incarnation – as God in the flesh.

    …I love my kids with the love of God.

    Not to be too nitpicky here; but, I don’t believe any of us can love anyone else with the love of God since we are not God.

    Jesus invaded this world with His Spirit and kept the flesh perfect(since it started out that way).

    Jesus Christ was perfect from the beginning and never became imperfect and was never in real danger of becoming less than perfect. To think otherwise is to think that God can sin.

    He gained back what man loss through disobedience with obedience.

    Man lost communion with God as a result of sin in the Garden of Eden. With Jesus Christ’s redeeming sacrifice, we have the capability to regain some of this lost communion through faith in Jesus Christ. The difference is that God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. We do not enjoy that in the here and now, at least not in the same manner.

    You have to think spirtually not naturally to make sense of it.

    The Incarnation, just as the Trinity itself, is full of mystery that we just do not fully understand. We all have to accept this truth. However, this does not mean that God is illogical or He contradicts Himself.

    If as you say the world would cease to exist if His mind didn’t know everything His Spirit knew. Based on the argument He couldn’t limit His flesh as you say. Even though Him dying showed He gave up divine rights to endless life.

    You are putting words in my mouth. The world would cease to exist if Jesus Christ, or any part of the Trinity, ceased to be God as God Himself would no longer be fully God. Be careful — your last sentence is explicit heresy. God did not die.

  174. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Jesus was made perfect, yes absolutely. So, is Hebrews 5:9 a contradiction of Matt 5:48? No, Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect. The Hebrews verse does not negate the Matthew verse. The Bible does not contradict itself.

    God cannot be tempted because God is not inherently evil. The James verse is making that distinction. The Hebrews verse is merely saying Satan tried to tempt Jesus Christ; however, Jesus, being inherently God, could not succumb to evil as there was no inherent evil tendencies in Him.

    I agree there are mysteries of God, and the Incarnation is one of those things which is beyond our comprehension. However, that does not mean the Incarnation is inherently contradictory.

    So, then, I assume you believe Jesus “laid aside his [sic] divinity.” How much did He “lay aside.” His full divinity? Only part; and, if so, which part(s)? And, how does He maintain full Godhood if He “lays aside His divinity?”

  175. John Ashton says:

    Hey Matt-
    I have two words for you: PARA; GRAPHS! (Ha! Ha!….)

    As I said a couple of months ago, this is a deeply personal issue for me. Did Jesus’ divinity (he WAS divine at ALL times) in any way minimize the torture of leaded whips and the terror borne out of the possibility of separation from the Father? In other words, did the fullness of His humanity make Him susceptible, for example, to temptation….. or to momentary confusion and/or bewilderment as he endured the force of satan’s lies?

    This, at least in my opinion, is what BJ’s entire point is – Jesus’ humanity serves as a model for us.

    At any rate, thank God for the 1st Amendment…!

  176. Craig says:

    At any rate, thank God for the 1st Amendment…!

    [Waxing political for a moment: at the rate our Constitution is being "postmoderned," we may not enjoy this freedom for much longer. Political waxing off]

    The point I was making to Martin earlier is that Jesus Christ could not be truly tempted as He was not inherently sinful since Jesus was not born in original sin as we are. No doubt He was tempted by Satan; but, He never could actually act on those temptations and commit sin being God in the flesh. But, I’d say there was no doubt He felt pain like a man and felt the fullness of His scourging and crucifixion.

  177. matt says:

    I will go through each point you addressed to clarify.

    1. I said He died thus limiting the flesh. Not His Spirit died it is eternal. Did he not give up the Ghost on the cross? Did His flesh heart not stop? So saying Christ to live as man, but sinless, does not mean his mind has to know everything to not be confused or bewildered, but completely dependent on the Spirit. Romans 8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

    2. I said He died from a carnal perspective not spirtually. His flesh tent, heart stopped. He gave up the ghost. Was the flesh not devoid of God even though it was sinless. If I don’t use my foot puporesly I may vow, or put off, speaking. Does that mean I’m anyless me? If God puts off His flesh He is just as much God. He put it on, He took it off, and He put it back on, then glorified it. No less God because He did it.

    3. Loving my kids with God’s love. I didn’t say my love but simply giving away His He has put in me. Do you not believe that we can show God’s love? How will the world see if we can’t express it. If God unctions me to do something it is not my love but His that is working through me. 2 Timothy 4:17
    But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed. He became a vehicile for God’s message. The strength he had was not His own but God. God worked through him. God loves through us. To think otherwise is to deny Scripture, since it came from Divine unction. To the mind then through the hand but we call it, all God.

    4. kept the flesh perfect(since it started out that way). Never stated it was anything other than perfect. From beginning to end. Oh yeah, and I know there was no chance of it being otherwise or it would be a Kamakazee mission.

    5. lost communion through faith in Jesus Christ. Saying that was all we lost is diminishing Scripture. “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Seems like a lil more than communication was lost. How bout eternal life? The ability to labor without pain? I could go on on this point forever.

    6. He can reveal things to us through the Spirit. “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
    and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him—
    10 these are the things God has “revealed” to us ” by his Spirit.” If we set our mind not on what is seen but on the unseen. Of course the mysterys of God we will spend eternity searching and coming to new awareness of Him which do not contradict Scripture. Just our understanding of it.

    7. Again you fell to see that the flesh is a tool for the mind. The mind is a tool for the Spirit. His flesh died. Do you think His heart didn’t stop? He gave up the Ghost. His Spirit was absent from the body. Not heresy. God can not die.

    The understanding you stated above is that He didn’t exercise authority in His flesh then the world would come apart. That was my understanding. If he gave up the Ghost,as scripture states that contradicts scripture and considering the world stayed together I’d say that makes your statement wrong. You equate exercising Divinity to authority. I can have authority and not exercise it. He could not not have Divinity. He was Divinity that is what I learned from this forum. You can’t seperate the Divinity only the exercising of authority. So I have to say you have sharpened me. So show me from Scripture that this is heresy or denying His Divinity.

    You stated,”God did not die.” this is explicit heresy you say. Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who “DIED”—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Christ Jesus who DIED.

  178. matt says:

    Oh on the above statement. What part of God died? The flesh died His heart stopped. He was still alive in Spirit. Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Distinct parts, the Son of Man died. Not the eternal Spirit that indwelled Him. Then after the ressurection He glorified it. Bringing it to the state of never needing sleep, never dieing, the same as all who put their faith in Christ will recieve in the ressurrection of mankind.

  179. Craig says:

    matt,

    The only way Jesus Christ could be and remain sinless is by virtue of His divinity. To “lay His divinity aside,” if this were even possible, it to separate the divine from the human. This is really the main point. When an individual considers Jesus’ humanity over and/or apart from His divinity, the individual starts 1) equating Jesus Christ to man and vice versa; 2) separating Him into two persons in one body. Jesus Christ is at all times divine as God in the flesh.

    I’m glad you see that Jesus did not die spiritually. Yet you think Jesus Christ, who is God, died. God is eternal. The trouble is thinking and going beyond Scripture.

    The Cross is where it gets a bit dicey theologically; and, quite frankly, I don’t feel qualified to give an adequate answer. We know God doesn’t die; however, it’s clear His flesh did die on the Cross only to be Resurrected on the third day. Yet the key is Jesus’ “gave up His spirit.” [John 19:30 NIV] which indicates He did so willingly. This illustrates He was the divine God in the flesh, truly God and truly man, the unique God-man all the way to His death on the Cross which is a requirement for Atonement. Theoretically, He could have at any time come down off the Cross as He was God.

    As to point 3, if you believe you can love your children as much as God Himself does, fine. I just don’t see how anyone could possibly love TOTALLY unselfishly at all times. We ain’t God. God loves through us only inasmuch as we are willingly led of the Spirit. And, we do not yield to the Spirit 100% of the time.

    On point 5, I did not mean to imply there were not other consequences to sin. However, Jesus’ sacrifice did not redeem the land, did it? We still do not have an earth like the Garden of Eden, do we? Women still have painful childbirth, etc.

    Jesus exercised authority as God in the flesh, not by His flesh solely at any time. He was/is one person, not two persons in one.

  180. Craig says:

    I’m not sure I’d say it was the “Son of Man” who died in light of Matthew 10:23. Here’s a short answer to the question of whether Jesus Christ died: http://www.gotquestions.org/did-God-die.html

    Did God die when Jesus died on the cross? The answer depends on how we understand the meaning of the word “die.” To die does not mean an end of existence. Death is separation. Death is when the soul-spirit separates from the physical body. So, in that sense, yes, God died, because Jesus was God in human form, and Jesus’ soul-spirit separated from His body. However, if by “die” we mean a cessation of existence, then no, God did not die. For God to die would mean that He ceased to exist, and neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit will ever cease to exist. The essence of Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, left the body He temporarily inhabited on Earth, but His essence did not die, nor could it.

    Jesus is truly God and truly man. His physical body did die because it was entirely human. Just as our physical bodies die, so did His. But in the same way that Jesus died physically, but remained alive spiritually, so our physical bodies will experience death, but our soul and spirit will remain because they are eternal. The same is true with regard to Jesus Christ. His physical body died, but His inner being is eternal and could not die.

  181. matt says:

    Yes i agree Jesus did not die as in cease existence. I think I reiterated that like one hundred times. I repeatedly said above the flesh died, heart stopped, the Spirit can not die it is eternal. Are you even reading the post.

  182. matt says:

    I don’t think I can love my kids the way God does all the time. I’m saying some of the time I do. If I could all the time I’d be perfect.

  183. Craig says:

    It was your concluding comments at 11:27pm yesterday which stated such.

  184. Craig says:

    I’m glad you see my point and the reason why I saw that as a faulty analogy from your comment at 8:01am yesterday.

  185. Craig says:

    I should say I answered that comment before I read your subsequent comment at 4:31 am. For this reason, I saw an apparent contradiction in your previous comment of 11:27pm yesterday. With your follow up post of 4:31am I see better your point.

  186. matt says:

    Thanks for allowing me to clarify. As I’ve worked 90 hours in 7 days and trying to blog my mind is at most at 50%. lol Staying on point. How bout this analogy if, I lose my body, and have my mind am I still me? What if I lose my mind(please no jokes)? Is my spirit not more. Still all three parts of me. One is always the tool of the other. I can’t ask my foot a question, but it is no less me. God put on flesh or tabernacled, book of John, among us. What makes the tent Holy. What makes me me. The flesh or my mind. What shapes my thoughts my mind or my spirit. What made Jesus’s perfect sinless flesh, stay perfect and sinless, a perfect sinless Spirit that controlled a mind that controlled a body. I can’t seperate one from the other. The flesh didn’t have a chance to sin because God’s mind, unctioned by God’s Spirit was behind it. That is why Jesus could choose not to know everything in His mind and still be God. The body lay there devoid of the Spirit in the tomb, just cause the brain in Him wasn’t functioning didn’t diminish God’s Divinity. The problem is when we have to have an all knowing brain to make this work. If this is the case Jesus come out of the womb talking. Knowing everything doesn’t make you God. 1 Corinthian 13:2 and “understand all mysteries and all knowledge”, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. God is love. And God is Spirit those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth. You can take flesh off God and He still is God. The flesh he put on was without sin. He however was made like his bretheren. Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren. He could have chose to make His body all knowing like His Spirit, and walk in all power, like His Spirit, but he chose not to, but to go through life in “all” ways like His bretheren, but without sin. If He didn’t He couldn’t have suffered, died, slept, asked if the cup could be took from Him, and not know anything, he would have come out of the womb talking. He chose to live that way for our sake and He had authority to lay His life down and pick it up. I guess Bill should say lay down His rights to and pick them back up, Divinity is not really the best choice of words. In other words no matter how much the brain knew of Jesus even as a baby there was no chance of a mess up. His Spirit was in control. If my christianity is based on carnality, all God is is rules to be memorized and carried out the best way my brain seems fit. That didn’t work for Israel under the law and it won’t work for us. When the law came from the mountain 3000 died. When the Spirit came on Pentecost 3000 were added. Christianity lived from the mind will kill you. Christianity can’t be lived without the Spirit of Christ. Where he writes His law on your hearts and minds. Good example of Spirit led living there. The Spirit writes the law on the mind which man acts on in the flesh. How is that heresy?

  187. matt says:

    Hey I told you I’m learning here to. Sharpen me up. Got to rub each other the wrong way. Can make you pissed off sometimes. I firmly believe you can’t know what you believe till what you believe is questioned.

  188. Martin says:

    There is of course the danger that we want to be so accurate about our theology(because of possible deception) that we miss the point altogether. Imagine someone who was more concerned about having accurate theology than loving people, that would be extremely sad.

    I know Jesus debated with the religious leaders of his day, and really challenged their narrow viewpoints to the extent they were furious and wanted to kill him.

    Having sound doctrine is essential. Being obsessive about it, is in itself, unhealthy.

    What if someone had the best doctrinal understanding in the world, but didn’t love anyone?

    But what if someone had some of it correct but had some misunderstanding but loved people with all that he was.

    Who would please God the most?

  189. Craig says:

    I don’t disagree with you on that. We worship in Spirit and Truth and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do you think I’m unloving?

  190. Martin says:

    I don’t think i know the answer on whether you are loving or not. I can say that i feel there is an over emphasis on being theologically 100% accurate about everything.

    I really feel that there is such suspicion in the church about anything that falls outside of our doctrinal understanding, and this is responsible for some of the major divisions that exist in the church already! We dont want to create even more!

  191. Craig says:

    The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were not enabled/drawn by the Father [John 6:43; 6:55] which is why they didn’t recognize Him for who He was. That’s the difference between the theologians of today who are ‘born again’ and led by the Spirit (and I’m not saying all are, of course).

  192. Craig says:

    The point of the blog is to put forth correct doctrine as I understand it. This does not mean that I am unloving on this particular blog. In fact, if in exposing false teaching I can bring individuals away from said false teaching wouldn’t that be loving my neighbor as myself?

    And, of course most on here have no idea what I do apart from the blog.

  193. Martin says:

    I would be quite careful about suggesting someone is a heretic or teaching heresy without first of all carrying out a full investigation as scripture suggests, which is what i feel is being done here.

    Just because you consider something heresy doesn’t make it heresy. If you are holding up something someone has written and suggesting it is heretical, then you need to make sure it is first!

  194. matt says:

    As God’s “Spirit” He was willing to take on the limitations in the flesh(death,bathroom,growing up) even though He didn’t have to. By the Spirit He was able to live sinlessly. Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The Spirit carrys the will and ability. Emphasizing the flesh is to distract from the Spirit who gave the willingness. Zechariah 4:6 So he answered and said to me: “ This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘ Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. We don’t need to glorify the flesh it is but the vehicle. The driver is the Spirit. outer, inner, holy of holies. The Spirit lives in the (Holy of Holies) . The lampstand divine illumination(mind), court where the sacrifice takes place(flesh). Jesus taught us to follow the Spirit. No one can ascend to heaven without belief in Christ because He gives us a new birth in the Spirit. We were dead in our tresspasses and in. We weren’t physically dead I was still walking around with a beating heart. I was dead to a spirtual reality. Jesus Christ is the only way to be born from above. Giving us an endless life. So really the Spirit of Christ was willing and able.

  195. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I don’t disagree with you regarding heresy. Specific points are, of course, considered outright heresy and should be labelled as such. Outright unequivocally denying the divinity of Christ or considering everyone a God are two examples.

    The statement of Bill Johnson in this particular post is at best not well worded on more than one level. That is the one of the points of this article. One’s understanding can be either heretical or even orthodox. I deem that irresponsible as any teacher should endeavor to be clear in his theology so as not to potentially lead others astray.

    There are other articles on this site which go into much more depth regarding Johnson’s theology as expressed in his books and other material which lend even more towards outright heresy when taken together. And, while teaching may be heresy, I am not quick to label someone a heretic as this seems to judge the heart of the individual. See my Are You a Heretic? post.

  196. Craig says:

    Yes, Jesus Christ, by His own Spirit — not having “laid aside His divinity” — was able to live sinlessly. And, we, by the Holy Spirit inside of us are led as we yield to the Spirit.

  197. Craig says:

    Martin,

    One of the parameters set forth in this article is the following: “Those who wish to support Johnson by bringing in other explanatory material from the book WHIE are free to do so.” So, if you wish to find other material in When Heaven Invades Earth which supports an orthodox interpretation of the given quote in this article, then you are free and even encouraged to do so.

  198. matt says:

    Recently fellow apologist W. B. McCarty discovered the following previously overlooked statement by Johnson in When Heaven Invades Earth:

    For hundreds of years the prophets spoke of the Messiah’s coming. They gave over 300 specific details describing Him. Jesus fulfilled them all! The angels also gave witness to His divinity when they came with a message for the shepherds: “For there is born to you this day . . . a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Nature itself testified to the arrival of the Messiah with the star that led the wise men. Yet with this one statement, “Unless I do the works of the Father, do not believe Me,” Jesus put the credibility of all these messengers on the line. Their ministries would have been in vain without one more ingredient to confirm who He really was. That ingredient was miracles.
    Here Johnson seems to be affirming the full and unqualified deity of Christ during His incarnation on earth. I found this on a site. Seems like the discussion became closed but no one notified the forum. http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2011/04/bill-johnson-and-divinity-of-christ.html

  199. Martin says:

    He laid his divinity to one side. Whats wrong with that statement?

  200. Craig says:

    matt,

    I’m well aware of this as I participated in the comments.

    What, in your view, does this passage show? Does support your version that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside?”

  201. Craig says:

    The point of this particular article is to focus only on the given quote. Let’s stay on point.

    While you can use anything from the Johnson book it must pertain to the quote itself and how it can be construed in an orthodox manner. In bringing forth other sections of the book you will need to show how/why they make your case.

  202. Craig says:

    In and of itself it can be construed that Jesus so laid aside His divinity that He no longer had any and He was merely a man who relied upon the Holy Spirit and/or the Father. Other Johnson statements can be understood this way as well. This is further complicated by the use of both “his” and “His” in this quote.

  203. Martin says:

    Well – i’d like to suggest in his appearance he didn’t much look like God Almighty! He laid that aside.
    He suffered like any common man. He surrendered the right he had to be treated with all the awe and respect of the Living God. Did he stop being Christ, no. He did what he had to do to redeem the world from sins power. He lived under the law, and died under it. Even though he was the author of it.

    Am i saying that somehow he stopped being divine, that at any moment he could have cancelled what was happening. No ,i certainly am not.

    Being a king, he chose to become a peasant, to suffer physically as a man (which to me is to lay aside his divinity) Even typing that really moves me.

  204. Craig says:

    So, then, if I understand your view, you are saying that when Jesus Christ took on flesh that He did not have all of His divine attributes or at least not in full. Is that correct?

  205. matt says:

    The Spirit is what makes a person. The Spirit of Christ was in the driver seat. The Spirit is eternal. I think the problem is you can’t see the flesh/mind is a tool. The Spirit of Christ was in the driver seat so it had no chance of getting off course. To think His flesh would mess up cause His brain didn’t have all understanding is to think that the brain is God. Which is flesh. The brain is a tool of the Spirit. The flesh was sinless in the fact it never got off course. He can take parts off the car, the same ones we have off, and still cross the line. He the Spirit can take it off and put it on.. We if we lose something don’t have authority or ability to take it back up. He God did. The diffference is no man can do that because we as a driver don’t know the Way. The way had become vieled to us. Christ ripped the viel in two to lead us home through Him. Now we need to get over and let the Spirit drive us.

  206. Martin says:

    No Craig, that isnt what i’m saying.

  207. Martin says:

    It’s pretty simple and not nearly half as complex as what your talking about. Something like – You laid aside your majesty, gave up everything for me. Suffered at the hands of those you had created.

  208. Martin says:

    Or hands that flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered.

  209. Craig says:

    Martin,

    OK, then Jesus Christ came to earth with His full divinity. Well then, what do you do with this:

    Jesus Christ said of Himself, “The Son can do nothing.”2 In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! [p 29]

    No supernatural capabilities. NONE. That does not sound like Jesus Christ had full divinity, does it?

  210. Martin says:

    Now a question for you :-) – Why didn’t the disciples all fall down dead when they looked at Jesus’ face?

    Exodus 33:20(NIV) But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

    After all Jesus is Lord.

  211. Craig says:

    matt,

    Without the Holy Spirit we, obviously, cannot live by the Spirit. However, when we are born again, we can live by the Spirit only to the extent we yield. When we are sealed by the Holy Spirit we, of course, do not become God. Jesus, being God, did not have this limitation as He was always God. This is why comparing Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, with humans is not a true analogy.

  212. Craig says:

    From here: http://www.theopedia.com/Kenosis:

    Christianity maintains that Jesus did not “empty” himself of any of his divinity in the incarnation, although it is true that his divine attributes were veiled. When the Kenosis theory concludes that Jesus is or was less than God (as has been the case in the past), it is regarded as heresy. [emphasis added.]

    I answered your question. Would you answer mine from 5:30pm?

  213. Martin says:

    Thats not the complete verse – the complete verse is:

    “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

    John 10:30 – “i and the father are one”

    So the father and Jesus are one. yeah? So he had the nature of God. So thats not quite accurate.

  214. Craig says:

    I agree with you. Yet, those are Bill Johnson’s words, not mine.

  215. Martin says:

    That didn’t answer my question

  216. Craig says:

    I agree that the Father and Jesus are one. I also agree Jesus’ full glory was veiled. However, I don’t believe Jesus had “NO supernatural capabilities.” Do you?

  217. Martin says:

    I was commenting on the incomplete verse.

  218. Craig says:

    Ok. “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” This is what Scripture says. So, why does Johnson say Jesus had “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever.” There’s no other way to interpret this except Jesus Christ inherently had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever. That does not sound like Jesus Christ had full divinity, does it?

  219. Martin says:

    Well he said that “Alone i can do nothing”, but then he said “it is the father living in me doing his work” – so on the one level you say – he wasn’t going to do anything on his own but on another you say because the father does i do. So – it isnt straightforward.

  220. Craig says:

    I want to be sure I understand you. Are you saying Johnson’s words are not straightforward? If not, please clarify.

  221. Martin says:

    It’s time for bed – what do you think Jesus was saying?

    Was he perhaps saying that if he couldn’t see the father he couldn’t do it?

  222. Craig says:

    Martin,

    With all due respect, why don’t you answer this question? That is the whole point of this post. If Johnson’s words are clear and understandable as orthodox Christianity then (most) everyone would construe his words as orthodox. However, sadly, that is not the case. One quick look at his facebook tells the story.

  223. Craig says:

    Here’s the thing: Johnson’s main thesis is that Jesus could not do any signs, wonders, or miracles without the Father and/or the Holy Spirit after Baptism. It was after Baptism, of course, that Jesus began His ministry which included the miracles. I disagree with Johnson’s thesis; but, assuming this is true for a moment, how did Jesus live sinlessly before Baptism? Wouldn’t remaining sinless and the fact that Jesus “amazed” the teachers in the synagogue as a twelve year old qualify as being supernatural?

    And, to your question, “Was he perhaps saying that if he couldn’t see the father he couldn’t do it?;” i.e., Jesus couldn’t do anything supernatural unless He “saw the Father,” wouldn’t the mere fact that He saw the Father be supernatural in and of itself? As you wrote earlier, no one sees God and lives.

  224. matt says:

    I’ve had to pull my theology back about 15 times then put it back out there on this forum. Everytime Scipture contradicted what I said. Check out how clarity is being gained through interchange between the body. It is pretty awesome, but not for the faint of heart. You will get rubbed the wrong way through out the process. Not enjoyable at times but neccessary. At first I also said lay aside His Divinity. I realize the wrong wording of that could be catastrophic to the immature. There is mercy for us all however.

  225. matt says:

    catastrophic for the immature in that if it was taken in the wrong context.

  226. matt says:

    Hopefully it is made clear to the young in Christ you don’t build your faith on extra biblical sources. Creeds, doctrines, included. They are always subject to error as man had a part in it. You build it on faith in Jesus and a relationship with the Holy Ghost. The Bible testifies to God. It isn’t God. However being a testimony that can not be broken it is the best and only source to make sure what your hearing is from God he won’t contradict the word, only our understanding of it.

    Example: Peter saying to Jesus not to go. Jesus said get behind me satan. Peter thought his statement was noble according to his understanding of God and the word to make the statement. However, Jesus showed Him His understanding was wrong. Calling down fire is another one. They thought since Elijah did it that meant it was alright for them. They misinterpreted Scripture. Jesus clarified, “you don’t know what spirit your of.”

  227. matt says:

    The key to making teachers not use their brains to kill is staying rooted in Love. Love is the foundation if we comment from any other place we will only bring death. Love believes all things, hopes all things. Love will look to prove you right. Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. They searced to see if it was so. They didn’t search to prove it wrong. You generally find what your looking for. If you search for truth you’ll find it.

    Jeremiah 15:19 [ The LORD Reassures Jeremiah ] Therefore thus says the LORD: “ If you return, Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth. We should be finding the precious among the vile and seperate it out. Even among men’s statements. Not agreeing with error but seeking truth and declaring it.

    Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. We don’t need to dwell on error but on truth or we may become the error. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

  228. Craig says:

    matt,

    Just when I give you latitude you want to take advantage of it. Sad, really.

    How many times have I asked you to stay on point? Frankly, it’s rude. You are a guest here. Never forget that.

  229. Craig says:

    If the Creeds are in error as you say, then you need to show how and why. Where are the Creeds referenced in this article and throughout this thread in error?

  230. Craig says:

    You make a judgment that I use my brains and not my heart or Spirit. You claim I don’t have love. Which of my comments here lack love? Was Jesus unloving with the money changers. Was Jesus unloving to the Pharisees?

  231. Craig says:

    matt,

    You wrote: “At first I also said lay aside His Divinity. I realize the wrong wording of that could be catastrophic to the immature.

    That is one of central points of this challenge. Someone can interpret that in a heretical way.

  232. matt says:

    I did not say you didn’t use your brain. I said when teachers do that it is death. I feel very strongly you are called to be a teacher or I wouldn’t care what you said at all. However we all need each other.

  233. matt says:

    I just was stating above you are not perfect, as I am not as well. We all see in part. Sorry that came out the wrong way.

  234. Craig says:

    Then explain what you meant by your comments.

  235. matt says:

    Oh and yes I am agreeing that I changed my mind. Thank you from helping me sharpen up. If we hadn’t talked I may not have.

  236. Craig says:

    OK, that’s good.

    However, please show me where the Creeds quoted here are in error. You did make that point.

  237. Craig says:

    I am absolutely not perfect, that’s for sure! But, is there something here that’s just plain wrong?

  238. Martin says:

    No i don’t think it is as cut and dried as you are indicating here. I think as Jesus said “alone i can do nothing, I do what the father tells me.

    I think this is something of a mystery, to try and say it isn’t would probably be niave. I mean, what we are talking about here is Jesus telling people that he doesn’t act alone, and it is the father doing his work. Not everything fits into a nice little definition, somethings are a mystery.

    What i will say is that you have definately made me reflect on what i believe in more detail. I still believe if ever there is someone who is born again – Bill Johnson fits that description, to me.

    I think to take out part of the quotes from his book, and not keep it in context with the whole book is not right. We can all misconstrue statements, even ones in the bible.

  239. Craig says:

    Either Jesus Christ has “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” or does have supernatual abilities. You can’t have it both ways. If you want to take other quotes, even longer ones which you feel may make your case, feel free.

    A mystery is not by definition self-contradictory.

    I’m glad you are reflecting more on this.

  240. Craig says:

    Martin,

    The Scripture you cite is reflecting Jesus’ obedience to the Father. It does not mean Jesus Christ has no supernatural capabilities which would indicate He’s somehow less than God. Jesus’ attributes were veiled during the incarnation; but, He never at any point did not actually possess His divine attributes.

    I was waiting for your response in order to add more to Johnson’s quote from the book. Here’s the rest of the paragraph for more of its context:

    Jesus Christ said of Himself, “The Son can do nothing.” In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! While He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He was redeemed. He made that point over and over again. Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God … not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything… and makes possible a full restoration of the ministry of Jesus in His Church. [emphasis in original]

    Jesus cannot be “100 percent God” but yet possess “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” as God is by definition supernatural and hence performs the supernatural. Jesus Christ performing miracles as God in the flesh, truly God and truly man does not somehow make miracles unattainable for Holy Spirit-indwelled Christians. That’s one of Johnson’s many false analogies. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit, God working through Christians, that man performs any miracle. And, of course, God does not even need a human vessel to perform a miracle. God can and does work through our prayers. God sometimes even does His will through unbelievers.

  241. Craig says:

    I’ve just changed the parameters for commenting on this site. All comments will now be moderated while I’m unavailable. See Before You Comment tab for more info. Unfortunately, habitual infractions by some individuals from the rules set forth in this tab have necessitated this change. Sorry for any inconvenience.

  242. Martin says:

    Okay – i would like a definition of your understanding of the term veiled, in respect of how this would effect the attributes of Jesus as 100% God.

    I would then like to see what you think of this – If Jesus is 100% God so one of the attributes is Omniscience – if this is the case that he possesed all of the divine attributes – how come he say of his return….

    Matthew 24:36 – “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

  243. Craig says:

    Briefly, as I get ready to run out the door:

    Jesus Christ possessed all divine attributes. If He didn’t He wouldn’t be God. However, it is clear that His Glory, for example, was not fully manifested. A glimpse was in the Transfiguration. I cannot give you a set definition as I don’t wish to go beyond Scripture. Each context will govern the meaning.

    Regarding Jesus not knowing His return, apparently the Holy Spirit doesn’t know either in view of Matthew 24:36. Does this mean both the Son and the Holy Spirit were not fully divine? Were they God as part of the Trinity?

    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. [Hebrews 13:8, NIV 1984]

    But you remain the same and your years will never end. [Psalm 102:27, NIV 1984]

    God is not a man that He should lie or a son of man that He should change his mind. [Numbers 23:19, NIV 1984]

    Each member has different functions and roles. The Son paid for our sins on the Cross; whereas, the Father and the Holy Spirit did not. See here for more:

    http://carm.org/ontological-and-economic-trinity

    Now, that I’ve answered yours, please answer mine. Did Jesus Christ have “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” even though He was “100 percent God?” Isn’t that a total contradiction?

  244. Martin says:

    “However, it is clear that His Glory, for example, was not fully manifested”

    Whats the difference; between veiled, not fully manifested and set aside?

    Veiled – Partially conceal, disguise, or obscure.

    Not fully manifested – Clearly apparent to the sight or understanding; obvious.

    Aside – on or to one side.

    I think those terms are splitting hairs.

    Maybe – He veiled his divinity?

  245. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Good question. If something is veiled it is obscured. If something is not fully manifested it is not fully perceived, not fully obvious. If something is laid aside it is on or to one side, in a separate place. The first two are very similar yet the last one is different in that it connotes no longer having possession. Perhaps Jesus Christ could take repossession?

    By itself, saying Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside” is problematic but could be OK if it were explained further in an orthodox way in a subsequent sentence. However, since Johnson made a very definitive statement with this: “He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” he makes it clear his view that Jesus could not even perform miracles in and of Himself. This sounds as though He did not have the capability to pick up His own divinity that he “laid aside.” I think it quite fair to paraphrase Johnson as thus:

    “Jesus Christ, having laid aside his divinity, had no supernatural abilities whatsoever and thus was not capable of performing miracles, signs and wonders in and of Himself.”

    This, in effect, denies His deity as it clearly denies that Jesus Christ had supernatural powers even though, by definition, God is a supernatural being.

    Want more quotes? How about this one?:

    The anointing [at Baptism] is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil. [p 79]

    So, I would construe Johnson really believes Jesus was merely a man since He had “laid aside his [sic] divinity” and, who, at Baptism, was linked to the divine which provided the means with which to perform miracles, signs and wonders. Without this “anointing” Jesus would not have this capability.

    What do you think?

  246. Martin says:

    I truly believe you are making something out of nothing in this statement. I honestly don’t believe Johnson is saying anything other than he had all of his attributes but chose not to exercise them, but instead did them through the father, not through his own attributes!

    Thinking about it – why did Jesus even need to come in the flesh, be born as a baby? why didn’t he just turn up as a fully formed man and then be crucified?

    I get the impression Johnson is pointing towards God wanting to create in his human qualities the perfect obedient man. Otherwise wouldn’t he just give us his own already perfect nature?

    He didn’t need to be baptised, he didn’t need to become God or create himself to be divine – he already was. He didn’t need to learn from the scholars, or do normal human things to be God – that was settled already. So to me the more pertinent question would be why did Jesus have to do the things he did as a man?

  247. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Let’s start where we both agree. I agree Jesus Christ didn’t need to be baptized since He was already God. In fact, the word “Christ,” Christos in the Greek, means “Anointed One,” Messiah, and, of course, Christ. Jesus Christ was the “Anointed One” from the beginning [Heb 13:8]. Jesus is/was the Christ and there never has been and never will be another. “Christ” is an ontological term (related to His being) which denotes His divinity. I explain Christos in detail here in the “Christ” in the New Age post under the “‘Christ’ in Christian Orthodoxy” section.

    Now, let’s look at another quote from Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth which is on the same page as the quote at 1:14pm today as well as the quote in the article itself. This quote begins chapter 7 of the book:

    “Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.

    “The word anointing means “to smear.” The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism. The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.” [2003 p 79]

    You’ll probably need to read this a number of times as did I in order to fully understand what Johnson is saying here. I’ll explain by being somewhat redundant in order to make the statement clear.

    First, notice that Johnson claims Jesus did not come to earth with the “title” of Christ as he received it “in an experience” since it “was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title.” Next, see how “the name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.” So, since Johnson makes it clear that the “experience” he’s referring to is Baptism, and at Baptism Jesus received the “anointing,” and it’s at this point Jesus received the name of Christ, then the only conclusion is that Jesus was not the Christ until Baptism.

    This must be, because, according to Johnson, He didn’t have the title when He was “sent from heaven to earth” and He didn’t receive the “name” and “title” of Christ until He was “smeared with the Holy Spirit.” This means He was not Jesus Christ at the virgin birth but rather just plain Jesus of Nazareth instead. Is this what Johnson means when he states “Jesus laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father…” [p 79 again]? That is, according to Johnson, did Jesus Christ “lay aside His divinity” at or before the point in which the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary [Luke 1:34-35] so that He lived His entire earthly life as a man devoid of divinity until Baptism at which point He obtained the “name” and “title” of Christ?

    The rules of this challenge allow anyone to find any quote from When Heaven Invades Earth in order to show that Bill Johnson actually intends to be totally orthodox in his statements.

  248. mbaker says:

    Craig,

    Just a heads up here: Kindle readers cannot provide pages number because the font can be changed, thereby affecting the page numbers. They would have to have a hard copy of the same volume you are quoting from to match.

  249. Craig says:

    Good point. Thanks for the heads up. It will then be helpful to state the source of the quote; ie, book (and printing), kindle edition, pdf here, etc., so that all can be on the same page literally and figuratively. If a kindle edition, I should then be able to find the applicable page for the quote.

  250. Craig says:

    A tip: if someone has Kindle, finds a quote but cannot find a page #, by using the “control + F” function on the keyboad, the individual can locate key words and eventually the quote itself in this pdf:

    [link deleted]

    Similarly, if someone is thinking of a particular word or phrase and wishes to determine if this word or phrase is in the WHIE book, the “control + F” function can be used in the above link. Please bear in mind that the page #s in the printed book are different than those of the above pdf. For example, the quote used in this article is from p 79 of the book, yet it’s on p 75 of the pdf.

  251. Martin says:

    Right – i’m going to make an observation here. I think you are hell bent on proving Johnson to be a heretic, so much so, that i cannot even have an objective conversation with you.

    In my last post i was asking you to talk to me about the human nature of the person of Jesus. I was asking – why did he need to get baptised(why did he need to be born,live as a human?)

    Now i think you are twisting the Johnsons statement -

    “Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.”

    Now – i can biblically clarify this point. – Rom 1:4 through the Spirit of holiness He was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

    The point that i believe Johnson was making here is – it wasn’t enough for Jesus just to have the titles – Messiah, Son Of God – these were backed up with displays of power, which confirm that. Another point i want to make is after the wilderness experience – Jesus came out of the desert full of the holy spirit AND power. Now, why does the bible even mention this? Surely Jesus, who is in very nature God was already filled with the Holy spirit and power?

    The way i read Johnsons’ comments is that he is saying Yes he is God – but though he veiled his attributes – he took his human qualities and created in himself the perfect obedient Adam, or something along those lines. People get scared when you talk about the human qualities of Jesus, because it’s always safer to think of him as only God.

    Now, i don’t know where i stand in relation to some of this stuff, so, for me, it’s something i’m having to think about.

    Finally, i want to hold you to account on some other things you have done. In saying – If this is what Johnson means – then he is saying B,C,D and i think that that is wrong! You have to say with certainty that A is corrent first, no draw a whole load of conclusions from something he MAY be saying!

  252. Martin says:

    The Messiah
    The Anointing of Jesus, by William Hole, 1906.

    Distinct from the Jewish view, Christians believe the “anointed” one referred to in various biblical verses such as Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25-26 is the promised Messiah. According to the Jewish Bible, whenever someone was anointed with the specific Holy anointing oil formula and ceremony described in Exodus 30:22-25, the Spirit of God came upon this person, to qualify him or her for a God-given task. According to the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth is this Anointed One, the Messiah (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2-3; 18:5, 18:28). The kings of the Old Testament were anointed with oil and only afterwards did they receive Power through the Holy Spirit that came upon them. Jesus on the other hand, was anointed because the Holy Spirit had come upon Him (Acts 10:38). Jesus was anointed with Power itself. God was pleased that Jesus should be His Son (Matthew 3:16) and Jesus was the anointed of God. So we can differentiate between the kind of power that the kings of Israel and the kind of Power that Jesus (The King of Israel) had – the difference is that the kings were anointed of a human high priest but The King was anointed of God Himself. The Gospels also state that he was physically “anointed” by an anonymous woman who is interpreted by some as Mary Magdalene; however, this anointing was not in the fashion described in Exodus,[citation needed] but rather an anointing done out of affection, which Jesus stated was to prepare him for his burial. The word Christ which is now used as though it were a surname was more accurately a title which was equivalent to the Hebrew HaMashiach meaning “the anointed one.”

  253. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I will answer your previous questions now. Of course, Baptism was a significant event as this marked the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. However, if we believe the Holy Spirit provided His power at and after Baptism, then we also, by inference, believe He was deficient of full power prior to Baptism. This would mean He was less than God prior to Baptism, wouldn’t it? You yourself have stated earlier that Jesus didn’t need to be Baptized because He was already God. It was a symbolic event. In the OT, priests could not be consecrated until age 30. Jesus life was meant to fulfill the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King in order to provide Perfect Atonement. This is why Jesus did not Incarnate as a fully grown God in the flesh. Now let’s get back on point.

    The objective of this Open Challenge is to find specific quotes in WHIE which can lend towards interpreting the quote in the article in a historic Biblically orthodox manner. While I can appreciate you wanting to use Scripture to interpret Johnson’s words as being fully orthodox, the main point here is that his words are sufficiently ambiguous that, at face value, they could be interpreted in a number of ways. The only way to know what he intends is by taking his own words at face value. If a passage is ambiguous, let’s find another which could clarify his intended meaning.

    With all due respect, with your last comment you are reinterpreting Johnson’s words, or perhaps more accurately, going beyond his words in the passage I just cited in order to make the words appear Biblically orthodox. Bill Johnson is VERY clear that Jesus did not come to earth with the title of Christ: “It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title.” Further, it is also VERY clear that Jesus did not come to earth with the name of Christ: “The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.” By simple logic here, since Johnson’s claim is that the name of Christ is directly associated with the Holy Spirit at Baptism then Jesus did not have the name of Christ, and hence be Jesus Christ, prior to Baptism. How could Jesus be Jesus Christ before baptism when, by Johnson’s claim he wasn’t “sent from heaven to earth” with the title or name of Christ? How am I going beyond Johnson’s clear words here?

  254. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’ve just released this comment; but, from now on, let’s stick just with Johnson’s words to interpret Johnson’s words and meaning. Fair enough?

    However, let’s take the last sentence of your quote: “The word Christ which is now used as though it were a surname was more accurately a title which was equivalent to the Hebrew HaMashiach meaning ‘the anointed one.’” Do we agree that Jesus was already Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, Immanuel at the virgin birth? [Luke 2:11; Matthew 1:23] I feel certain we do. However, Johnson’s words, without going beyond the context, do not indicate this in the passage which begins chapter 7 of When Heaven Invades Earth. That is my point.

  255. Craig says:

    Martin,

    You wrote, “The way i read Johnsons’ comments is that he is saying Yes he is God – but though he veiled his attributes – he took his human qualities and created in himself the perfect obedient Adam, or something along those lines.” However, Johnson’s words are “He laid his divinity aside” which is not the same thing as saying Jesus’ attributes were veiled. Not once that I’ve seen does Johnson use the word “veiled” with the respect to Jesus Christ’s divine attributes. Now, if you can find a quote from When Heaven Invades Earth that states something to this effect, then please post it.

  256. cherylu says:

    “It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title.”

    Craig, you keep saying that Johnson in this statement says Jesus didn’t come to earth with the title of Christ. It seems to me that statement can just as well be read to mean that He came to earth with that title, but that coming with the title was not sufficient in itself, He had to have the experience of anointing too. If I remember correctly, that is the way I have understood it from the first time I read it.

    And again, for the benefit of anyone commenting here that is not aware of it, I am not saying that as a Bill Johnson fan.

  257. Martin says:

    I’ve just asked an anglican lay preacher – what he thought of the term ‘laid aside’ – he said yes he ‘laid aside’ his divinity. When i said what if i instead said veiled his divinity, he said “no laid aside seems more suitable”.This is from an extremely orthodox christian. So it’s another reason i’m not convinced by your reading of it. But it seems you will not read it any other way.

    In light of your refusal to answer my previous questions – which are extremely relevant to the topic of conversation – i’m afraid i will have to cease my discussion with you.In my opinion you are not even willing to even consider the prospect of altering your opinion, and so i feel that i am wasting my time. What is the point in trying to offer an explanation, when you’ve made your mind up already!

  258. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    [edited]

    Yes, it could be construed that way; however, Johnson qualifies it with both his previous and his next sentences:

    It is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired. [emphasis added]

    By “anointing” he is referring to the Holy Spirit at Baptism which he makes clear in the subsequent paragraph.

  259. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I thought I did answer your questions. Which one or ones did I miss?

    As regarding “laid aside” versus “veiled,” the word “veiled” is used by the orthodox Christian church with respect to kenosis. If you can find a documented source that uses “laid aside” then you may use it to bolster your case. In any event, the challenge is find a statement within WHIE which somehow clarifies Bill Johnson’s ambiguous statements. The “laid aside” statement is only part of the quote of this article.

    However, again, you seem to miss the point of this. There ARE individuals who understand Bill Johnson’s words in a heretical manner. If his words were more clear, then this would be less likely wouldn’t it? Shouldn’t a teacher endeavor to be clear in his teachings for the sake of the sheep?

  260. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    In re-reading your comment, I’m not sure I’ve answered it exactly; so, I’ll try again. If we accept that Jesus Christ already had the “title” and “name” of Christ at the virgin birth, or even at Mary’s overshadowing, then to make a separate and discreete statement as Johnson does is confusing at best. If Johnson were to have stated something to the effect of, “While Jesus Christ came to earth as the Messiah, the Christ, at the virgin birth, Baptism was the point at which He fulfilled the OT role of Priest” it would be better understood. To state that He received the title in “an experience” identified as Baptism is not a clear statement in view of the way its presented and lends to the belief that He did not have the “title” and “name” prior to Baptism.

  261. Craig says:

    I should say further that in harmonizing just the words on page 79 of WHIE one could very easily come to the conclusion I have. Johnson starts off with the Christ is a “title” and “name” teaching pointing to Baptism which could be construed as Jesus not being Christ and hence not fully divine, or perhaps not divine at all, until Baptism. He then goes on to say Jesus “lived with human limitations” and that He “laid his divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment.” [Did Jesus "seek" to fulfill His mission; i.e., could Jesus have failed? Could God in the flesh have sinned?] Then, in the next paragraph are the words “[t]he anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him…” which again, reinforces the idea that Jesus was just a man who was “linked” to the divine at Baptism.

    I admit it’s very difficult to take these words at face value because we, as Christians, tend to look at books such as this through a Christian lens. We will usually read orthodoxy into them.

  262. John Ashton says:

    Even thought I’ve brought this up numerous times, I think it might be worth mentioning again in light of some of the posts by Martin and Craig.

    In order to make a point, I’m going to make an extreme statement: “Jesus was not divine.”

    What basis do I have to make this statement? I’ll list one – Hebrews 2:17: “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things…” A couple of things come to light:
    a) Jesus was made. How can this be? If He was God, how is it possible that He is made? If He was made, then He cannot be God.
    b) He was like his bretheren (humans) in ALL things. If this is true, then is there any LOGICAL way you can say He was divine, given that man is not divine? If the writer of Hebrews meant that Jesus was like His brethen in MOST things, then why didn’t he make this clarification? He could have said, after all, that “aside from the fact that He was divine, He was made like brethren in all things…”

    So does this verse force us to conclude that Jesus was not divine? If we use earthly logic, then, yes. At the very least (I’m shuddering as I think about debates from my college days) we’re forced to deal with a difficult paradox.

    Yet again, it bears repeating what BJ repeats over and over: Jesus served as a model for humans. He did not sin. It was only because He was divine that He did not sin and yet, at the same time, he could have sinned; he was given the choice countless times.

    The resolution to all of this emerges only when we de-couple ourselves from the restraints of human wisdom and logic. Yes, in a sense, we DO have to throw logic to the wind when it comes to the mysteries of the Kingdom. More to the point, I do not feel it’s fair at all to draw conclusions based upon one phrase BJ makes any more than it’s fair to draw the (false and heretical) conclusion about Jesus that Hebrews permits.

  263. Craig says:

    John,

    The thing is we don’t take just one verse of Scripture, of course (at least we shouldn’t). We take the whole counsel of Scripture. Jesus Christ, not having orginal sin, had no predisposition to sin in contradistinction to mankind. Two attributes of deity are immutability (changeless perfection, divine constancy) and impeccability (inability to sin). So, your statement, “He did not sin. It was only because He was divine that He did not sin and yet, at the same time, he could have sinned; he was given the choice countless times.” is a false premise. I covered this in a previous comment on this thread.

    It seems I have to repeat this ad nauseum: the challenge here is to find other passages in WHIE in order to show the quote in the article can be construed in an orthodox manner given the ambiguities in the quote. With that in mind, please find in the book where Johnson states that Jesus did not sin because He was divine. I would say Johnson’s statement, “…He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin…” indicates Jesus could sin (as you’ve even stated above), yet the book does not state anywhere — at least that I’m aware of — that Jesus did not sin by the mere fact that He was divine. While this was not one of the specific questions in the challenge, I’ll allow this since this is in the quote itself.

    You wrote, “The resolution to all of this emerges only when we de-couple ourselves from the restraints of human wisdom and logic. Yes, in a sense, we DO have to throw logic to the wind when it comes to the mysteries of the Kingdom.

    Just because something is not understood does not mean it’s illogical. For example, I don’t understand how radio waves are transmitted. It does not make radio transmission illogical.

    You wrote, “…More to the point, I do not feel it’s fair at all to draw conclusions based upon one phrase BJ makes any more than it’s fair to draw the (false and heretical) conclusion about Jesus that Hebrews permits.

    And, I’ve brought out more of Johnson’s quotes, from the same page in fact, to further illustrate my point in order to be fair.

    To reiterate, let’s stick to the parameters set forth in the challenge.

  264. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    I’m sorry about straying off course. I just felt the point might add to the discussion in light of recent comments.

  265. Craig says:

    John,

    Well, I did let your comment through; so, no harm done. But, again, I ask you, or any reader, to find a quote in which Bill Johnson explicitily affirms Jesus did not sin by virtue of His divinity. There may well be an affirmation to this effect in the book that I’ve looked over.

    And, of course, the rest of the challenge stands as well.

  266. IWTT says:

    The thing is we don’t take just one verse of Scripture, of course (at least we shouldn’t). We take the whole counsel of Scripture.

    Yes I always wondered how one would feel if they were to author a book, a book that was to be read in it’s complete context because the author had a specific message and all words in sentences meant something within the paragraph and then within the chapter, and then the reader would then take a sentence here and there and take it out of the context and state thatthe author meant something else entirely different?????

    And then later somebody comes along and decides to give each sentence or portion of sentence a number so as to divide the book up even more, giving readers the ability to take a sentence out of the context, as if it were written seperate from the rest of the book to either tell others what the author meant or come up with their own theological belief of what the author said.

    If I were the author I would be pretty upset for taking MY words and making something completely different as to what their meaning is when if they are read in the complete context of what was written you’d know exactly what the author meant.

    This is where I think man has “screwed up” if I may, in terms of interpreting the very WORD of God. It is taken out of context and then interpreted. I make a challenge. Take scripture from a web source, cut and paste, remove the verse numbers and read the section in it’s context. I think you might be surprised.

  267. Craig says:

    Agreed. There are quite a few breaks that seem to break the flow of some passages. It is for this reason I invite others to find quotes within WHIE in order to illustrate that Bill Johnson intends orthodoxy in the quoted statement of this article.

  268. John Ashton says:

    Hey IWTT

    How would Bill Johnson feel about your recent comment?

  269. Craig says:

    John,

    Hence the reason for the challenge here. If you believe Bill Johnson is being prooftexted then show us other sections of his book which illustrate that he intends something different than what has already been noted here.

  270. IWTT says:

    I don’t know but then I am accusing him of doing just that. His theology stinks, IMHO!

  271. julie says:

    Scriptures, read in context, do take on a whole new meaning. In my early ‘believing’ days, this was not the way in which they were taught to the congregations I attended. What a surprise to begin reading them, as written, and in context.

    Yet, still, to this day, having learned how not to read the bible, I still find myself ‘lifting’ scriptures out of context. I deplore this tendency in myself, and many teachers today. I can’t agree with IWTT more. Thanks, guys.

  272. Eli says:

    ok I’m nobody, and just stumbled on this conversation. but, i have a question. If Jesus had no supernatural abilities while in the flesh, then how did he heal, give sight, raise Lazarus, turn a sack lunch into food for 5,000? And Bill Johnson is a Dominionist right? I think that explains a lot. I will never understand why some people in the Dominionist/Word Faith camps feel it necessary to strip Him of His diety while He walked among us. It defies scripture and logic.

  273. Craig says:

    Eli,

    Thanks for coming by. Limiting or stripping divinity from the Word made flesh, the second person of the Trinity is very definitely unscriptural.

    I’ve been putting together a new article which will discuss some of what you wrote while addressing the concerns of others who think this challenge is too limited in scope. The article will discuss kenosis, proper Christology and how these apply to Bill Johnson’s overall teaching.

  274. Craig says:

    This new post will help answer some of the questions brought up in this Open Challenge:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-i/

    Please direct any comments pertaining to this new article in the comments section of this article.

    Part II will be up in the near future.

  275. Julie Dufaj says:

    I’d like to make an observation, after reading this post. Please note that I am not saying I am right; I am just making an observation after reading this. I don’t know if Bill Johnson is a true or false prophet, as I am not familiar with all his teachings. I have seen him in videos and have been impressed by his seeming sincerity and love of God. Here is my observation:

    “Lay aside” and “veiled” do not seem all that different to me. An honest person could use either one to mean He chose not to use His divinity. I get the feeling that the author of this post has an axe to grind against Bill Johnson, who may or may not deserve it. This seems to me to be splitting hairs to support an underlying agenda. Again, not saying I am right, but this is what comes across, at least to me, from the posts above.

  276. Craig says:

    Julie,

    Thanks for your comment. Admittedly, “veiled” could mean to be completely obscured and thus unseen; but, that is not the meaning by the respective contexts of the orthodox theologians. On the other hand, to “lay aside” can only be construed one way:

    1. on or to one side; to or at a short distance apart; away from some position or direction: to turn aside; to move the chair aside.
    2. away from one’s thoughts or consideration: to put one’s cares aside.
    3. in reserve; in a separate place, as for safekeeping; apart; away: to put some money aside for a rainy day.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aside

    If, by context, the writer intends that divinity was “laid aside” and is thus no longer possessed, then, this is a clear case of kenosis. You will see in part II of the new article that Johnson clearly means Jesus had “NO supernatural capabilities” and other such language which shows Jesus lacked divine attributes. That’s the point.

  277. Martin says:

    Something isn’t right about this whole thing.

  278. Craig says:

    On that I will agree! However, perhaps not in the way you meant it.

  279. Martin says:

    Craig –

    “On the other hand, to “lay aside” can only be construed one way:”

    No, that is not correct. It is not limited to your own interpretation. You are being totally biased, as to what this means. I don’t read it the same way as you seem to be. So it isn’t construed one way at all.

    In this thread, as well as others you have used the following format.

    a.) If so, how could God relinquish divine attributes and yet remain God? In what sense might a limited, finite man be considered God, when the very term “God” denotes infinity?

    What do you mean If so? IF SO? You haven’t even confirmed the original point, how can you then go on to discuss the implications?

  280. Craig says:

    Martin,

    The point of posing these questions in the challenge is to determine how individual readers understand the words within the context of the quote by providing a question/answer format. The individual responding to the challenge then explains via the potential answer given a), b), c), etc. in order to expound on their own answer. The question posed in the Challenge is this one (referring to the quote in the post) which is addressing the “human limitations” Johnson refers to:

    1. To what “limitations” does Bill Johnson refer? Does he mean that the God-man Jesus, in His divine nature, lacked divine attributes such as omniscience (possessing all knowledge) and omnipotence (being all powerful)?

    and this is the first potential answer given:

    a.) If so, how could God relinquish divine attributes and yet remain God? In what sense might a limited, finite man be considered God, when the very term “God” denotes infinity?

    Having said that I concede that others could interpret “lay aside” differently than I have — even if it doesn’t agree with the given context. However, wouldn’t saying Jesus “laid aside his [sic] divinity” to “live life as a man” indicate Jesus no longer had His divinity? If I were to ‘lay aside’ my keys would I still maintain possession of my keys? No, I’d have to pick up my keys in order to regain possession. How would you interpret the wording here?

  281. Martin says:

    How would i interpret that statement? Well scripture cannot contradict scripture. It may seem to do, but it does not. I’ll concede this. This would have sounded better….He laid aside the full rights of his divinity by putting on flesh, so that some of his attributes were veiled. Then all the orthodox people will be happy and now we have answered that question adequately – we get a ticket into heaven, all the legalistic requirements of Jesus have been met he is now very happy with us!

    Collosians 2:9 – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. So that must mean all of the fullness of the diety lives in bodily form then. Unless ive got something wrong with my interpretation of that.

    A little balance is in order on here.

    Just out of interest are you a cessationist?

  282. Martin says:

    I would suggest you contact Bill Johnson (maybe through his facebook)and ask him his thoughts on this. It would be nice if he could at least explain what he is saying.

  283. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’m glad to see you understand kenosis. I do not have a problem with your statement. However, to fit that into Johnson’s context would require adding and/or subtracting some of his words because they sound much more like the unorthodox version of kenosis.

    No, I’m not a cessationist. Our God is a supernatural God by His very nature and He is still in the miracle-working business. Sometimes He even uses mankind. The Holy Spirit disburses gifts just as He determines [I Cor 12:11]. However, let’s not go any further with this as this off the subject.

  284. Craig says:

    Johnson is welcome to reply here. Others have asked him his thoughts through Facebook and via Bethel’s site. I would like for him to explain his meaning.

  285. Craig says:

    Here’s part II of the Kenosis post:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

    Please direct any comments pertaining to this new post over there.

  286. peacebringer says:

    Martin, see the thing is Bill has put his thoughts to pen and paper. Thus this discussion. As I understand it, the whole premise is that Jesus operate as just a man so that all are able to be “empowered” to do what Jesus did because it is simply the proper annointing…

  287. #S110 says:

    Martin’s comment at 2:37 on June 16 the second paragraph,second sentence should end with IN CHRIST.

    Look at Colossians. 2: 18,19 specifically 19 And not holding the HEAD from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministereth,and knit together increases with the increase of God.

    There is a subtle deception creeping through the churches, trying to draw saints away from Jesus (the Head) and placing the focus on the false teachers

  288. Craig says:

    #S110,

    To be fair, Martin does put “In Christ” in the beginning. It looks as though he’s just paraphrasing.

  289. #S110 says:

    I thought he was advocating the “corporate annointing – corporate christ” teaching which is rampant in latter rain

  290. Martin says:

    #S110 – What you need to do it interogate everyone and treat people with total suspicion, just like it says in the bible….Actually it doesn’t say that does it? Does that mean it’s okay to do it? Is this suspicion an extra biblical practice, something asumed that you must do.

  291. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’m letting this one comment through; but, this will be the last one of this sort as I do not tolerate personal attacks — sarcasm included. Read the “Before You Comment” tab.

  292. Martin says:

    If you want to stop and make me think – i want to stop and make you think. I had a feeling this wasn’t going down very well. I actually thought, i wonder if they will try and find a reason to stop me posting. And hence forth…!

  293. Craig says:

    Martin,

    There is no “they” as this site is solely my own through WordPress. #S110 realized his error by his last post and he never did attack you personally only questioned what you wrote. Big difference. You, on the other hand, made a comment pointing to his character.

    You are a guest on this blog and, frankly, I don’t have to let any comment through if I do not wish to. Having said that, I’m not asking you to go away — just mandating you stay within the parameters I’ve set forth.

  294. Craig says:

    Now let’s stick to the very limited subject of this particular post (this includes everyone) or post comments on another post/article more appropriate.

  295. Craig says:

    Since this thread is still receiving a large number of hits, I’ve decided to put up another ‘challenge’ of sorts. I would like to see what Bill Johnson proponents think of the following post regarding an admitted botched initial healing:

    By Whose Power Does Bill Johnson Perform Healings?

    Please direct any comments pertaining to the ‘healing’ article to that post.

  296. Graham says:

    I think you are all taking what Bill wrote out of context . I accept he could have phrased it better but when I read his comment on this matter it seems to me he clearly means Jesus voluntarily laid aside the right to express his divine nature . If people read the whole book and the Church website it is clear Bill believes Jesus was totally God and totally man . He is stating when Jesus walked this earth although totally God and totally man he laid aside the right to use his divine nature and did his miracles via the person and power of the Holy Spirit .

  297. Craig says:

    Graham,

    This is not the only passage in which Johnson “could have phrased it better.” I’ve read the whole book and others of his books and I’ve listened to some of his sermons. Since this particular thread is very narrow by design, take a look at this one which goes into far more detail using other quotes from WHIE and other material.

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

    You may skip down to the “Bill Johnson’s Kenotic Concept” section and read from there.

    Also, stating that Jesus Christ relied totally on the Holy Spirit to perform miracles is not Biblical as the above thread indicates.

  298. Robert Becker says:

    This article is sharp and honestly cuts through questions I had while attending Bethel about the Theology taught. Hey, everybody hopes to see the miraculous as when our Lord walked the Earth. I started backing away from what was going on when the Praise and Worship songs being introduced were mentioning Jesus less and less. Lots of references of God and His Glory and His Kingdom… and everybody likes to hear this as well.
    I just started feeling uneasy when I heard one too many statements from various leaders about how they are pouring God’s glory on us. I find my self anchored on the fact that He says specifically that “it is my glory and I share it with no one…” And this from the Word doesn’t coincide with what Bethel leaders speak out.
    When it comes down to my understanding of Jesus, I keep it real simple. He is God and He basically tied one of His arms behind His back when He came down here to save us. Hear Israel that the Lord is God and He is One and I will love him with all my heart soul and might. Cause everything else is hinged on this.

  299. Craig says:

    Robert,

    I thank the Lord you were given the discernment to see the Truth through the false at Bethel.

  300. Solomon says:

    He was all powerful God when he walked the earth, then why did he endure hunger and all manner of temptation? Surely the God in flesh would not be subject to such human feelings !

  301. Craig says:

    Solomon,

    Jesus Christ was both God AND man. There are many examples of Christ’s humanity in the Scriptures. There are also Scriptural examples of Jesus Christ’s deity (divinity) on display. He was uniquely both. However, his humanity did not diminish His divine status one iota. When Jesus, in His Humiliation, consdescended to become the God-man (Theanthropos), he took on humanity while not losing any part of His divine status including His attributes.

    Given that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever [Hebrews 13:8], He was certainly God in the flesh while incarnate– either that or He wasn’t and isn’t God (deity) at all. Which do you think it is? I think the answer is obvious.

    Even if our limited finite minds cannot comprehend the mystery of the Incarnation, it doesn’t change the fact that Scripture declares He was both God and man while walking among us. And, praise God that He did so to atone for the sins of us all!

  302. TheTruth says:

    The excerpt from the book is saying that Jesus, as GOD (even while walking the earth), chose certain human limitations. The point is that we are to live like Christ, empowered by the same Spirit as He was. We are not to stand back and look at Jesus’ lifestyle (i.e. the Fruit & Gifts of the Spirit) and say, “Man! I could never be like Jesus!!” That wasn’t Jesus’ point for doing the stuff. We are to say, “Jesus, you are my Lord and my Master, therefore I LEARN from you how to live. This is not limited to the FRUIT of the Spirit, but also the GIFTS of the Spirit.” So that is it in a nutshell. “Lord, I am passionate to become like You, because I believe that that is Your command!” It is a lifestyle of obedience. And it only comes to the hungry. An intellectually empowered Gospel will not save the drug addict, the prostitute, the sinners. The Gospel Message empowered by God’s Spirit (power, signs, wonders, healing, prophecy, miracles) has the power to take someone out of the dirt and clean them up and transform them from the inside out. I have seen this happen to many sinners! They’ve been transformed by God’s Presence. Why do you think that many missionaries in Third World countries–surrounded by poverty, addiction, and destitution–often spontaneously experience the Spirit of God with signs and wonders following? It is because they are forced into the Real Gospel by desperate circumstances. The whole world is in desperate circumstances. That’s why Jesus came!!!

  303. Craig says:

    “TheTruth”,

    Thanks for your comment. Given that your position is that Johnson is stating “Jesus, as GOD (even while walking the earth), chose certain human limitations” why would he also state:

    1) “He laid his [sic] divinity aside” which seems to be making a statement of Jesus totally putting/laying aside all divine attributes which would render Him less than God?

    2) “The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless)” which seems to state that Jesus had no powers at all which, again, renders Him less than God?

    You wrote, “The point is that we are to live like Christ, empowered by the same Spirit as He was.” Stating Jesus relied totally on the Holy Spirit to perform the miraculous is not Scriptural. According to John 2:19/10:17-18 Jesus had the power and authority to lay down His life AND pick it back up in and of Himself. See Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II for more examples, a more complete discussion, and the importance of Jesus Christ having full power while on the Cross thereby negating Johnson’s claim that Jesus was a “lamb, (powerless)”.

    You wrote, “Lord, I am passionate to become like You, because I believe that that is Your command!”

    Do you believe we actually become just like Jesus Christ? Will we walk on water? Will we raise someone from the dead who has been deceased four days (Lazarus)? Will we sit at the (immediate) right hand of the Father?

    You wrote, “An intellectually empowered Gospel will not save the drug addict, the prostitute, the sinners.

    Do you have a Scripture for that statement? There is only one Gospel and it’s the one Paul preached: “Christ and Him crucified.”

    You wrote, “The Gospel Message empowered by God’s Spirit (power, signs, wonders, healing, prophecy, miracles) has the power to take someone out of the dirt and clean them up and transform them from the inside out. I have seen this happen to many sinners!

    While it’s the Spirit who convicts, not the messenger, of course, signs and wonders may be present at conversion or they may not. I know of more than one person who was saved out of drug/alcohol addictions but not by “signs and wonders.” And, signs and wonders are not necessarily the mark of the Trinitarian God of the Bible. Here’s a quote from William Branham:

    “There are disturbing powers here. I can do nothing.”

    How could a true man of God’s powers be thwarted by “disturbing powers”? Kurt Koch, in his book Occult A-B-C quoted the above [p 235] in reference to Christians who prayed that if Branham’s powers were from God that He would bless and use Branham; however, if his powers were not then to hinder him instead.

    Here’s an interesting quote from Ern Baxter, a former associate of Branham’s:

    And some of you may know that I travelled for many years with the late William Branham. And in the beginning of those meetings, when we were packing the largest auditoriums across the world, I believe there’s a lady here from South Africa who can remember the service we had in Durban at the racetrack, where the press reported 200,000 people attended. In those days we would have as many as five to ten thousand people come through a healing line each night. And I’d see people coming through the healing line that I knew as Christians, good devout people who loved God – I had no reason to believe otherwise. And Brother Brahman would lay hands on them and nothing would happen. Some fellow would come through, obviously didn’t know God, in fact you’d hear people saying they were coming for a treatment, and this fellow would come through the line, Brother Brahman would lay hands on him, he’d throw his crutches in the air and go screaming down the aisle, and I said to … ‘Whoa, whoa, there’s something wrong here! This nice sweet saint doesn’t get anything, and that old sinner gets the whole thing! There is something wrong! Why is that Christian not healed?’

    So, yes, why were the non-Christians healed while the Christians were not? Was it those “disturbing powers” again? Please keep in mind Exodus 7:8-15; Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; II Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:11-18. The question we must answer is “Which Christ is being promoted?” Is it a different Jesus, a different Spirit, a different Gospel [II Corinthians 11:3-6]?

  304. IWTT says:

    The Truth says — An intellectually empowered Gospel will not save the drug addict, the prostitute, the sinners.

    Wait a minute! God is not powerful enoug with out the gifts and miracles, etc. to bring salvation to those who need it?

    Rom 1:16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Eph 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

    TheTruth says — The Gospel Message empowered by God’s Spirit (power, signs, wonders, healing, prophecy, miracles) has the power to take someone out of the dirt and clean them up and transform them from the inside out.

    Really? So hearing the truth, that being, that without believing, there is a judgement, God’s wrath to come (due to sin) and if you don’t believe then there will be consequences isn’t enough to or powerful enough to bring one to salvation. The gospel, That man is sinful, God sent His Son, who died on a cross for sin, was buried, rose from the dead three days later and was seen by many, and now is seated at the right hand of the Father? Unless there are gifts accompany the “words of truth” there is no salvation? That seems to me to contradicts the verses above.

    I guess 2000+ years of folks sharing the gospel, whether “pentecostal believing” or “orthodox believing” doesn’t count. History sure tears that statement you made apart.

  305. Stan says:

    “Judge not….lest YOU be judged”. Paul said “that after the way which they call heresy so worship I the God of my fathers”. People should be careful what they call heresy or lable as false. The Jews said the same thing about Jesus and the disciples. Why is it that people always try to put God in a box and tell the world “This is what God looks like”. I am quite sure that He looks or acts nothing like what we in our finite understanding can even fathom. I think people say “God doesn’t do things this way or God doesn’t heal or use people to raise the dead” in order to justify the lack of power in their own lives. Do I agree with all of Bill Johnson’s teachings? No. But I learned a long time ago that sometimes while eating meat, you have to spit out an occasional “bone”. There is way too much truth in what he teaches to ignore it. There are way too many people around the world whose lives have been touched to say that what they are doing at Bethel is “wrong”. Paul also said “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some”. Why do we always have to “bash” people who do things differently than we do, especially if what they are doing is helping to change lives? I would rather rejoice in what we have in common: reaching the lost and being a blessing to those who are hurting and less fortunate. If we would spend more time focusing on “that” goal instead of trying to tear down the work of others, we might be able to once again, as followers of Christ, “turn the world upside down” and be the church that He gave His life for.

  306. Craig says:

    So, Stan, were you actually going to take this challenge or did you want to illustrate your hypocrisy by judging me in your claim that I am judging Bill Johnson? I think you would benefit from reading The Use of Loaded Language in Hyper-Charismaticism, Just a Touch of Arsenic, and the “Look at the Fruit!” posts.

    God did put himself “in a box,” so to speak. It’s the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Given that Christianity centers around the person of Christ, proper Christology is of utmost importance, wouldn’t you say? And, Christology is the main subject of this “challenge.”

    As for Matthew 7:1-6 (judging), I’ll quote from Craig Blomberg’s commentary on Matthew in the New American Commentary [B&H Publishing, 1992]:

    “‘Judge’ (krino) can imply to analyze or evaluate as well as to condemn or avenge. The former senses are clearly commanded of believers (e.g., I Cor 5:5; I John 4:1), but the latter are reserved for God…” [p 127]

    Matthew 7:1-6 does not apply to false teaching but rather to hypocritically judging others. Later in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warns of good vs. bad fruit (7:15-23). Quoting Blomberg again:

    “Jesus now explicitly addresses the situation in which greater numbers profess Christ than actually follow him. He describes some of the pretenders as ‘false prophets,’ those who claim to be God’s spokesperson’s but are not. Yet, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, they give all external appearances of promoting authentic Christianity in both word and work. ‘Prophets,’ as in the Old Testament, refer to those who either foretell or ‘forthtell’ God’s word.” [p 132]

    Given the prevalence of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” per Jesus’ own words, shouldn’t we evaluate teachings of individuals to be sure we are not following one? Shouldn’t we be “fruit inspectors” as the late J. Vernon McGee termed it? To reiterate, I believe you would benefit from reading the “Look at the Fruit!” post.

  307. Craig says:

    Stan,

    I forgot to add this from Blomberg’s commentary regarding Matthew 7:15-23

    “…We are reminded that signs and wonders can come from sources other than God, including both the demonic world and human manufacture (cf. Acts 19:13-16; Rev 13:13-14)…”

    To that I would add II Thessalonians 2:9-12; Exodus 7:9-12, etc.

  308. IWTT says:

    @Stan

    How would you like this post to be…

    I judge that you have no real discernment of the word of God and that if you really knew the scriptures you wouldn’t have posted what you said in the manner you said it nor would you be following someone who seems to be off base in what he teaches which was claimed to be heresy by the church many years ago.

    OR

    Stan,
    I read what you have said, I think you may have something there about what you said, but I think I’ll judge your words to the scriptures or be berean with your post and see if you may be right or to see if you have interpreted what you have said correctly in the light of the Word of God?

    God Bless you

    Which do you like best? lighten up, and talk to us and tell us why you believe Bill Johnson is correct? Site some chapter and verse and DISCUSS like a rational person…

  309. Peter says:

    Jesus was fully a man, who possessed the pure nature of the Living Lord of Hosts.
    He showed the Lords essense poured into human form with all its limitations could live a perfect life. We are healed through Jesus sacrifice because this fully shows us the extent to which we are loved and removes the excuse of rejection that is buried deep in our hearts.
    He paid the price to open the door, to undo the cause of sin and death that clouds our perception of the living Father. However Jesus limited himself, he was fully God.
    Do we know how God is all knowing, all wise, all percieving. Jesus as a man was different from the Father as he did not know the time of the end.
    For me the eternal story is love conquers all and until you learn how to love as Jesus loved you will be eternally lost. The selfish raising of non powers, faith, dreams of glory above showing this love in simple humbleness and sincerity is heresy, and rotten rags before the Lord.
    How could men, men who claimed knowledge of the Living God disgrace his son by preaching such self indulgence.

  310. Craig says:

    Peter,

    I must admit that I’m having a hard time understanding what you are saying here:

    The selfish raising of non powers, faith, dreams of glory above showing this love in simple humbleness and sincerity is heresy, and rotten rags before the Lord.
    How could men, men who claimed knowledge of the Living God disgrace his son by preaching such self indulgence.

    Can you rephrase?

    Jesus as a man was different from the Father as he did not know the time of the end.

    Scholars are not in universal agreement on this. Some believe that “in His humanity” Jesus did not know His return just like “in His humanity” he suffered pain and death even though God cannot feel physical pain or die. This is known as the communication of attributes in which one could state Jesus Christ was omnipresent (since omnipresence is a divine trait) even though He simultaneously had a limitation of physical presence during the Incarnation [Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology; p 563]. Grudem affirms that “anything either nature [the human or the divine in the person of Jesus] does, the person of Christ does” [p 562].

    For me the eternal story is love conquers all and until you learn how to love as Jesus loved you will be eternally lost.

    Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by His grace through faith not works “lest one should boast” is the way to salvation. In our own human weakness we can never truly “love as Jesus loved you.”

  311. Peter says:

    “Selfish raising of powers” I watched Todd Bentley and his ministry. I love praise of the Lord, I was in mass gathering in the 70′s where the Lord was meeting people and I felt a great blessing but this is very different. Angels, open heaven, exstatic statements of success and blessing, rediculous optimism, healings, the miraculous on tap, as if this was like a drug.
    The gospel is we are a fallen people, driven by selfishness and sin, who need to repent to live holy lives, in humbleness and purity through the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
    The highest ethic presented by these preachers is to be a miracle worker, to have an anointing.
    People are being driven to seek an anointing from the preacher, to be able to give anointings on others.
    We are called to do “good works”, to show love and help, to be servants, to help the weak and the poor, to rescue the lost and give hospitality to the needy.
    Our problem is we are hurt, bitter, lashing out at others, because we do not believe anybody really loves us. The fruit of knowing we are loved by Jesus is the good works.
    Please tell me where any of this teaching is present from these people or part of their message.

    Jesus and his limitations. I do not fully understand how Jesus was God and man at the same time. In human form he seems to be saying, because I could do it, so can you.
    What I have come to see is the universe is split into two camps. The first is hierachical, domineering and slave orientated, you do as I say. The other is understanding and freely accepting the need and then choosing to meet it. The first says if I can take it then it is mine, the other wants to understand the context and act appropriately.

    For me the people of the kingdom are those who choose to see the need and run to help. I agree that as a sinner I cannot love as Jesus loves, but with Jesus’s love in my heart, I can love with the love He gives me. I have had this experience many times when I have given up on a situation and cannot love, given it to the Lord and through His strength and love I have been able to love from the heart.

    For me, Jesus came to set people hearts free, to enable them to act as their hearts direct because their hearts have been transformed through redemption and obedience to his commands. Some would say to me this is salvation by good works. I would say you have never forgiven someone from the heart. When you start to actually do things, it changes you.
    Why do not people see “Build your house upon the rock”, “You reap what you sow”.

    A loving person walks by faith not knowing the outcome only that he is loved by God. The eternal fruit are the good deeds done through love for people without regard to the response. This is how Jesus treated us. But this takes time, discipline, transformation, prayer, worship, but that is walking with Jesus. These preachers appear empty vessels, preaching a doctrine of this world, magic glory to patch up the dullness and depression of normal life.

    Does this help?

  312. Peter says:

    It is easy to sound like an acedemic
    “We can never truely love as Jesus loved us”
    Firstly you cannot measure love. It is a general description of an intention of one being towards another. The size or strength is often understood through actions, for instance Jesus dying for us. Now spiritually when I love because of the love created in me as a human, love with the love Jesus planted in my heart through salvation and faith in the cross and resurrection, where is my love and His love, or does this language loose its meaning. I am a branch, He is the vine.

    What you are really saying to me is you feel alienated and distant from the Lord, alone, not full and overflowing. When I am low and distant from the Lord, I am there as well.

    What I am feeling now is the opposite, but I cannot be objective, or bring out a tape measure.
    If you have opened up your heart, and are not afraid of what you feel and who you are, it is that simple, you just feel and respond. What I can testify is Jesus intensity and strength of feeling is way beyond mine and all I know is I am very weak. Maybe that is what you also mean.

    I am sorry if this sounds confused or unclear. I grew up in an emotionally repressed family, where affection and emotional expression rarely made the surface. Through growth in the Lord, having a wife and family I am now at the other end of the scale. Jesus laid love on my heart rather than exergisis, for love is the armour of God. Now that does sound too cheesy.
    But love to me is also righteousness, justice, holiness, sacrifice of life for another etc.

    Most people are scared of their hearts, scared of their emotions that they lock away, and do not trust the Lord to help them. But this is the way to spiritual maturity and freedom.

    Or do you think I have got it wrong? Jesus did not bring a gospel to make his people into mature healthy life giving individuals worthy of respect and honour.

  313. Craig says:

    Peter,

    Yes, faith without works is dead. While I better understand your position and I can appreciate your comments, I need to ask you to stick to closer to the subject of the posts, please.

    Within hyper-charismaticism, including Bill Johnson, the “anointing” is many times conceived of as a substance to be used at will.

    I’m not sure if you are stating that I’m somehow “hurt, bitter” because I’m “lashing out at others” or not; but, that’s what is seems. If that’s your stance then you are missing the point of this post. The main point is: how do others intrepret Bill Johnson? Is Johnson understood in an orthodox or heretical manner by his followers?

    To get back to the post itself — and back on track — how do you interpret the Bill Johnson paragraph cited in this post? Please respond by answering any one of the specific questions/answers posed in the “challenge.”

  314. Craig says:

    Stan,

    It seems you would also benefit from reading the Before You Comment tab as well.

  315. Peter says:

    Craig,
    I am sorry. I was talking about in our hurt and defensive state we all lash out at others.

    What these “latter rain” prophets fail to realise is God has never been about power or dominance or magically overcoming problems. To make Jesus fully human is in some ways to make us all capable of becoming “gods”, supermen. Now the Lord could have chosen this route but he did not. Gods heart is on righteousness expressed as an outflow of the heart.
    The Lord cares about actions above belief. The warning in Matt 7 is about those who claim spiritual gifts and actions but do evil.

    Did Jesus put aside divinity, ie knowledge, power, presence?
    Is the attempt to define God by simple precepts valid when we have no way to test such statements or even know which are true?
    Did not Jesus call us to walk as he walked, to follow his example, to be servants to one another. I see in teachers using concepts as an excuse to justify absurd teaching. All illness is evil. All christians overcome its limitations. We are called to be His children, learning through repentance and humbleness the power of the kingdom. It is Gods character and approach that we are called to follow, not his power, because he gave that up to show his true nature.

    I suggest it is both wrong to add or subtract on things we do not know. We are called to do the Fathers will, to love the poor, the needy, the weak, the widows. Jesus walked with an open heart, expressing everything he felt.

    Bill Johnson is a heretic, and is being used by people who wish to destroy the body. But this can never be done because it is literally Gods handiwork. It is like saying I could stop love growing in my heart when I love the Lord with a pure desire. Our names are written in the Lambs book of life, so I laugh at this false stupidity as if it has value.

    How many readers realise they can think they believe but only do it to keep emotional stability in their lives. They literally have no intention of changing and fight like crazy to stop people seeing their hypocracy. Faith only has relevence when it reaches the heart and changes you where you really are. Is this true for you or do you still have a closed heart?

  316. Denney says:

    “Do you believe we actually become just like Jesus Christ? Will we walk on water? Will we raise someone from the dead who has been deceased four days (Lazarus)? Will we sit at the (immediate) right hand of the Father”

    25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

    27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

    28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

    29 “Come,” he said.

    Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

    In addition, Peter at this time wasn’t fulled with the Holy Spirit.

  317. Craig says:

    Denney,

    Yes, Peter walked on water. What is your point? Do you know someone who did/does walk on water? I didn’t think so.

    Let’s get back to discussing the actual post.

  318. Denney says:

    The point is, you implied that no one could walk on water but Jesus, but Peter did. That’s all I wanted to say. Didn’t mean to strike a nerve.

  319. Craig says:

    Denney,

    The point is that no one has ever since. Just like I’m very skeptical that there’s been any dead raising by anyone other than the 1st century Church.

    Would you like to take the “challenge?”

  320. Craig says:

    Denney, you wrote “Didn’t mean to strike a nerve.

    It seems you did in fact intend to strike a nerve. The point of the paragraph of mine that you pulled the “Will we walk on water?” from was to pose the question asking if anyone will become ‘just like Jesus’ as the larger context makes clear. The questions were, like in the book of Job, rhetorical questions. You knew that. Yet, you came on here with the intent to sow discord having no intention of actually contributing anything germane to this post (as your recently deleted comment full of false humility declining the challenge illustrates).

    16 These six things the LORD hates,
    Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
    17 A proud look,
    A lying tongue,
    Hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
    Feet that are swift in running to evil,
    19 A false witness who speaks lies,
    And one who sows discord among brethren.
    – Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV

  321. matt says:

    Some speak the word in boldness and people are brought into the kingdom. Some with signs and wonders following to win people not with words of man wisdom, but with a demonstration. None come however unless the Spirit draws them first. The sign or word confirm the conviction.
    We all have different understandings of Scripture and none is only for personal interpretation.

    As long as others believe Christ is God and God’s Son do these small details really matter. Now when someone denies Christ as the only way to God the Father or that He is not God that is something to question. Not the fact maybe they don’t have the humilation figured out or how hypostasis works. Maybe it would be better to post on the Nicean Creed and why it is relevant. (I have read and studied it now). Let people see the truth of who God is and who is Son is. This is getting out of hand, and I think it is doing more to hurt Christianity than help it.

    Craig I understand you feel convicted to do this site, but I believe all I see on here anymore is strife. Praying for you brother. Please just take a honest look at the fruit. Do you see any on here. I constantly see badgering and fighting. You have a wonderful gift, don’t waste it.

  322. Craig says:

    matt,

    I’m glad to see you’ve come back; but, please, let’s keep this particular post focused on the challenge itself. I’ve allowed far too much leeway on this recently. There are other posts on here which I allow a bit more flexibility. The point of this one is to see how Bethel attendees/Bill Johnson supporters understand some of his teachings. Some have understood them in a heretical manner. Others have construed as orthodox. The problem is that Johnson’s words are unclear to the point of confusion. This is not the mark of the good teacher. While everyone makes mistakes, these sorts of things should be minimized and corrected once pointed out.

    You wrote, “We all have different understandings of Scripture and none is only for personal interpretation.” That is very true and which is why I try to quote from a variety of different orthodox sources whether they be of the dispensational, charismatic, etc. backgrounds. This is also why the ecumenical creeds are important as these were embraced by the larger Church including the RCC and Eastern Orthodox for the very large part.

    However, while there are debatable points such as eschatology, there are also doctrines which must be adhered to in order to be considered “Christian.” This includes proper Christology as you have noted. And, that is what this post is about.

    You wrote, “Maybe it would be better to post on the Nicean Creed and why it is relevant. (I have read and studied it now).” I’m glad you took the time and effort to read the Nicean Creed. As one of the ecumenical creeds, it explains proper Christology. Unfortunately, proper Christology is not taught as much as it should in most churches and apparently some feel this is debatable. It is not, as the person of Christ IS the basis for Christianity. Without a true understanding we run the risk of worshiping a false Christ and eventually even potentially the Antichrist. [See Jesus' words in Matthew 24 and also 1 John and 2 John.]

    As far as discussing the importance of the Nicean Creed, I discuss the importance of the Chalcedonian Creed, and adhering to its tenets, which expands on Nicea in the following two part series:

    Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part I

    Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II

    As for the “strife” and “badgering and fighting” on here, unfortunately, that begins with the Johnson supporters. I try to give them a chance to state their viewpoints and what follows are sometimes attacks on me. It comes with the territory. And, this sort of thing, in general, seems to be getting worse. While it’s certainly OK to have disagreements, let’s discuss without the personal attacks.

    In conversations on here, I do my best to make points from an emotionally neutral point — not that I’m always successful, but that’s my intent. However, the written word can sometimes result in having the tone misconstrued. I’ve misunderstood others and others have misunderstood me.

    I could be doing any number of things besides writing and posting comments and follow up comments on this blog. I do this 1) because I feel called to do this; and, 2) because I care about the spiritual welfare of others. IMO, one of the best mission fields is in the “Church” itself including the apathetic, those caught up in various false teachings and those perpetuating false teachings whether wittingly or unwittlingly. Can the tares be converted into wheat [Matthew 13:24-30]? I dunno. Maybe, maybe not. But, according to James 5:19-20 and Jude 21-22 some will wander from the Truth and eventually come back.

    Now, for all readers here, let’s discuss the particulars of this post.

  323. Craig says:

    matt,

    I just caught this; you wrote:

    Some speak the word in boldness and people are brought into the kingdom. Some with signs and wonders following to win people not with words of man wisdom, but with a demonstration.

    There’s this persistent false dichotomy – that Johnson continues to use – between quoting the word in context which is construed as “man’s wisdom” many times as opposed to “signs and wonders.” While it’s true that signs and wonders may follow the preaching of the Word resulting in conviction/salvation, it’s much more common for signs and wonders NOT to be present after preaching the Word resulting in conviction/salvation. It is also true that a display of signs and wonders can come after words not from the Holy Spirit as this happens in cults and false religions.

    Signs and wonders are not necessarily the mark of the Holy Spirit.

  324. Penya says:

    With regard to Bill Johnson correcting his errors in his teachings very unlikely to happen. My personal knowledge dating back to his “early christian days” circa 1990′s no fruit was evident then except pride, arrogance and great dislike of children (his then girlfriend’s especially). Since his book about his experience (which no one can dispute since it is personal) very convenient strategy. In my personal experience God would not take a Christian and show them hell unless it was to warn them and help them to repent ? But there is no scriptural foundation for such a thing except it makes for a fictional best seller. Jude 11(NIV)

  325. Penya says:

    Now that I made a comment about a man named Bill Johnson only God can judge all of us by the many words we speak. Lord be merciful to me a sinner saved by grace. Regardless, this Bill Johnson and the Bill I refer to are not relevant except that if either Bill has been warned and refuses to repent then the alternative is to “turn such a one over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh that his soul be saved.” If he is under God’s protection and covenant by repenting and turning from his evil ways than we will see the fruits. Peace.

  326. Craig says:

    I’m not sure I get your point. In your first comment you refer to a different ‘Bill Johnson’ than the one in this post(?). What is your point in that? Let’s stick strictly to the contents of this post as defined by the post. Otherwise, you can be construed as making false allegations against the subject of this post.

    “…only God can judge all of us by the many words we speak.”

    Yes, that is true, but in the meantime, this Bill Johnson of Bethel is leading the sheep (and quite probably, some of the not-yet-sheep) astray. This is where Jude 3 comes in as well as Jude 22-23 James 5:19-20.

    “…if…Bill has been warned and refuses to repent then the alternative is to ‘turn such a one over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh that his soul be saved.’”

    Various articles on the ‘net have been written exposing Bethel’s Bill Johnson of his false teachings. He’s refused correspondence by email, etc. However, some have questioned him in social media and each time he will say something orthodox yet contradict these statements with contrary unorthodox/heretical statements. How do you suggest he be turned over to Satan?

  327. Craig says:

    I just made an addition to the first paragraph in order to stave off potential opposition:

    Even though Johnson makes the statement, “[w]hile He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He [sic?] was redeemed” [p 29] Johnson negates this with “He had No supernatural capabilities whatsoever” and “He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father…” [p 79]. One could construe Johnson’s “while He is 100 percent God” as present tense as opposed to past tense (during the Incarnation) especially in light of his numerous statements pronouncing Christ’s humanity at the expense of His deity.

  328. matt says:

    John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I HAD with you before the world began.

    Notice the word “Had” which shows past tense. Jesus had a glory with God, gave it up, and received it again. Bill Johnson’s statement seem consistent with this statetment. Not with the fact of ascension as do the Mormons. The difference is Mormons and other groups who believe in ascension believe you can start from a flawed position and through exercise of will ascend to the state of diety. Bill Johnson and others make it clear that Jesus is the only way to the Father. The Law in fact shows that one sin disqualifies you from life eternal. One sin and you can never enter life no matter how good you become. The wages of sin are death. ALL have sinned and fell short of the glory of God. The GIFT of God is eternal life.

    The difference is the belief in the sanctification of the believer. It seems to me that you are over emphasizing there belief in sanctification and super imposing it over their beliefs in salvation. One could be heresy the other a matter of opinion. To believe you can ascend outside the cross to heaven is heresy. Believing you can mature as a Christian and become more Christlike is the goal of all Christians. Paul states in Ephesians 4:13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, ATTAINING to THE WHOLE MEASURE of the fullness OF CHRIST. He is talking about becoming more Christ like as we live not ascending to Master status. Paul is speaking about becoming like your teacher. Even Jesus said in Matthew 10:24-25 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master..” That verse shows the goal of disclpeship to become like your teacher. You will never be above your teacher but it is enough to be like them. God wants us to become obedient like Christ, dependent on the Spirit, and to grow up! What parent doesn’t want to see their children excel?

    Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He HAD TO be made like His brethren in ALL THINGS,…to make propitiation for the sins of the people. HE HAD TO be made made like His brethren in ALL THINGS. In other words it was neccessary for our salvation. If not Christ could have come in the flesh outside of woman, died, and we would have heaven. Obviously God doesn’t do things without reason. No less God.

    Also the statement, “As He is, so are we in this world”, is actually a direct quote of 1John 4:17.
    Are you saying from your article you think that is a heretical statement?

    I do believe Christ could have bailed out at anytime and it would have been game over for us. He however proved to have lived a limited life in the flesh. Otherwise sleeping, eating, becoming tired, going to the bathroom, and even dying would have been impossible. Which are the biggest arguements Muslim’s use to show Christ is not God. Unfortunately it is this misunderstanding that keeps many from the faith. Understanding the self-imposed restrictions in order to be our atoning sacrifice only furthers my love for the Father. Knowing He didn’t have to endure pain but chose it because of His great love. After the ascension John saw the glorified Jesus and what a picture that was, returning to the glory He had from the beginning.

  329. Craig says:

    matt,

    Jesus’ glory was concealed under a veil of flesh – he wasn’t emptied of it. Big difference. See “Kenosis Defined” section here. Johnson presents a Jesus who empties Himself of “supernatural capabilities.” Given that God is in very essence supernatural, wouldn’t you see this as problematic? This is the central thesis of Johnson’s Jesus as in yet another example: “He so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…” [Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind p 50]. Yet, this is not true as Jesus Himself had both authority and power (omnipresence) to “give life to whom he is pleased to give it” [John 5:21b].

    One must keep Jesus’ deity and humanity in balance using the hypostatic union as in Chalcedon as our guide. Yes, of course, Jesus ate, slept, wept, etc. as per His humanity; but, He never stopped being deity. None of His divine attributes were ever emptied. I explain this in the following using Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology in the “Background on More Recent Kenotic Theories” section of the article referenced in the first paragraph:

    This “communication” of attributes is a way of explaining how the contradictory attributes of the two different natures (e.g. omnipresence vs. limitation of physical presence) in the incarnate Christ are expressed as the one person of Christ. Wayne Grudem affirms that “anything either nature does, the person of Christ does.”36 In this way, we can state that Jesus Christ is omnipresent since this is inherent in His divine nature and hence His person, even though omnipresence is not a trait of humanity. Similarly, we can state that Jesus had the ability to suffer pain and even death since, in His human nature He did feel pain and experience death, even though, of course, as God He could not have done either of these.37 The divine and human natures, though, remain separate and distinct from one another. [footnotes refer to Grudem p 562 and 563 respectively]

    To understand Johnson’s theology you will need to acquaint yourself with Latter Rain doctrine especially Manifested Sons of God teaching. Did you read what I wrote regarding changing “Christ” into “Christ anointing,” an anointing available to all believers? This means, in the Johnson theology (which is Latter Rain), that all can become ‘Christed’ with the ‘baptism of the Spirit.’ Without this botS one does not have “the anointing” or, stated elsewhere, the “Christ anointing” [Face to Face with God; p 77].

    Read the first page of chapter 13 in WHIE. Johnson clearly states that it’s the glorified Jesus of Revelation 1:14-15 who is our model. Johnson is not speaking of sanctification but glorification. The “as He is, so are we in the world” when put in its full context is speaking of Christians like Jesus in love, not in physical characteristics post-glorification. The NIV has a much better rendering than the KJV or NKJV for this verse. Here it is in full context:

    15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

    God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. [1 John 4:15-18; NIV 1984]

    matt, you seem to have a fairly good grasp of Scripture which is commendable. I implore you to read Johnson as he writes and not read into what he writes from your own point of view from an orthodox Scriptural base. Trust me, I know it’s not easy. Test all things like the Bereans (Acts 17). The New Order of the Latter Rain has its own systematic theology that, by design, looks a lot like Biblical Christianity.

  330. matt says:

    Craig,

    You stated,”“He so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…” [Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind p 50]. Yet, this is not true Jesus Himself had both authority and power (omnipresence) to “give life to whom he is pleased to give it” [John 5:21b].

    -Matthew 28:18 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
    -John 5:19 “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself,”
    -John 5:30 ” I can do nothing on My own initiative.”
    -John 17:2 You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life”

    Jesus clearly states that He was incapable of doing anything without the Father’s help in His humanity. He relied on the Father. This is speaking of His humanity. He allowed His flesh to be limited as we are, learning, sleeping, weeping, etc. Bill Johnson’s statement that He was incapable of doing anything without the Father’s help does not seem to be a lie but to line up with Scripture. Check out above verses.

    Emptying may be the part where you could have an argument, but not on the dependence of the Son on the Father so much as His humanity was concerned.

    I am looking at Chapter 13 when I have time and I’ll get back to you on it. Blessings.

  331. Craig says:

    matt,

    There’s no argument from me regarding the Son’s dependence on the Father. This is because of the subordinate roles of the Trinity; both the Holy Spirit and the Son are subordinate to the Father. However, I note you previously stated that you believe Jesus could have decided against the Cross which would point to independence rather than dependence on the Father.

    However, As for John 5, you’re proof-texting. Look at the full context of John 5:19-30 especially the latter part of the last verse: …for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

    And, yes my main problem with Johnson as far his Christological teaching is the “emptying” of His divinity which is flat out heretical.

  332. Craig says:

    matt,

    And, you cannot deny Jesus’ words of John 5:21b as I point out. It’s quite clear Jesus “gives life to whom He is pleased to give it” which means some independence from the Father.

  333. Craig says:

    However, I see I did make an obvious error as I defined power as “(omnipresence)” when it should have been “(omnipotence)”. No one could ever accuse me of being infallible…

  334. mbaker says:

    Matt,

    Just to interject something here: Jesus was not saying He had given up his divine place as the Son of God, but just saying that he was in agreement with God’s omnipotence, and so honored that Himself. This was part of His demonstration to us, that even as the only begotten Son that He honored that position of the Father in His human life as well.

  335. matt says:

    Craig you stated,”Jesus in love, not in physical characteristics post-glorification.” You here are making a statement that you believe Bill Johnson believes we are to be physically like glorified Jesus. If this is true Johnson would have to preach immortality in this life. Believing in healing is different from glorification of body. Glorified bodies are not tempted, can’t die, etc.??

  336. Craig says:

    matt,

    Did you read the first page of chapter 13 yet? Johnson is teaching glorification in this life which is Manifested Sons of God doctrine. He makes this point by first citing Rev 1:14-15 and THEN he proceeds to the “as He is [glorified in Rev 1:14-15], so are we in the world” proof-text.

  337. matt says:

    Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation.
    Stating that Johnson believes we are to live glorified in ,”in physical characteristics post-glorification”, seems to be taken out of context.

    I did read Chapter 13 and then to be fair I read on and found this in Chapter 17 on page 183. Speaking of the maturing of Christians Johnson states, “I don’t believe that this is speaking of human perfection, I do believe there is a maturity of function.” Glorification by protestant definition is perfection. Johnson in page 186 also states,” While the full expression of His Kingdom may be reserved for eternity, it has never entered our minds what God would like to do before then.” A full expression would be completion. Johnson states here that a full expression or completion is reserved for eternity. Glorification again means completion.

    It actually appears Johnson in Chapter 13 is speaking more of the life found after the Cross. Jesus was born under law, celebrated the feast, was circumcised on the 8th day, etc. We would not expect someone after the Cross to feel essential to salvation to embrace this part of Jesus’s walk as He died to free us from the works of the law. Johnson appears to be using his own language to try and build a contrast between old and new covenant. Johnson states on page 146,”He suffered with stripes to free me from affliction, and He became sin so I become the righteousness of God. Why then should I try to become as He was, when He suffered so I could become as He is?” This statement is referring to trying to work to achieve a salvation that Christ has already paid for. Don’t live as under the law, live justified by faith in Christ. Stop working for what you already have.

    2 Timothy 2:11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him,We shall also live with Him.

    We must die to ourselves to live a life of faith in Christ. He then becomes our righteousness. As He is in right standing with God so are we in this life.

  338. Craig says:

    matt,

    I don’t have the time at present to reply more fully; but, in the mean time: what do you make of Johnsons’ claim that “Jesus is returning for a bride in equal proportion to her head”? That makes it clear that Jesus is returning for a glorified bride. If that doesn’t make the point, here’s Johnson on one of his sites:

    http://www.bjm.org/articles/12/apostolic-teams.html

    All of this serves one purpose – Jesus is returning for a bride. For this to happen the harvest must be brought in, and must be “cleaned.” He’s not returning for a bride that He has to heal up and put together like a puzzle in heaven. He is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head, and whose parts work together in coordination. It’s called a “glorious church, without spot or wrinkle”10 in scripture. Anything less is an illegitimate vision.

    This is what the Latter Rain have been teaching for years. According to NOLR, Jesus CANNOT return except to a glorified bride. This is Manifested Sons of God teaching plain and simple. And, when you view the portions you cited through that lens, it lines right up – despite Johnson’s claim that “I don’t believe this is speaking of human perfection…” What is glorification, as in a “glorified bride,” except perfection? This is not unlike Johnson making the claim that Jesus was/is eternally God while at the same time claiming that “He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever.”

    BTW, the footnote 10 refers to Ephesians 5:27 – the usual proof-text used to support MSoG teaching.

    False teachers’ goals are to confuse and divide and Johnson’s theology sure is confusing and divisive…

  339. matt says:

    Well according to Bill Johnson (WHIE) on pg. 183 In his own words, “That is the picture of the church becoming a mature man. It is singular, meaning we all function together as one. All its members will work in perfect coordination and harmony, complementing each other’s function and gift, according to the directions given by the head. This was not a promise to be to be fulfilled in eternity. While I DON’T BELIEVE that this is speaking of HUMAN PERFECTION, I DO BELIEVE there is a MATURITY OF FUNCTION,….” This is him referencing Ephesians 4:13.

    You could say of anyones teaching that they can get confusing. Peter even said of Paul’s writings they are difficult to understand. Difficulty in understanding someone nor divisiveness is enough to consider someone heretical. Jesus stated He came to bring a sword at times His Word’s caused division. Especially in John 6 when He referenced that people would have to eat Him and drink His blood. You judge according to fruit. I see a difference of opinion. I do not believe Bill Johnson believes Jesus wasn’t the Son of God. Merely him attempting to try and explain Jesus’s humanity. The fact that Jesus ate, slept, wept, etc.

  340. Craig says:

    OK, let’s go back to the beginning of chapter 13 on page 145 since this sets up the pages which follow. In order, we have:

    1) A discussion of Jesus’ physical glorified state of Rev 1:14-15
    2) Which leads into, “The ‘as He is, so are we in the world” John 4:17 taken-out-of-context proof-text.
    3) Johnson continues, “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” which is a reference to Ephesians 4:13. Clearly, the way Johnson is framing this discussion Ephesians 4:13 refers to glorification and not merely “maturity of function” as claimed on page 183.
    4) This is reiterated in the 3rd paragraph, “The Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Johnson puts a footnote here referencing John 7:39.
    5) He goes on to state, “…He does all this to make us just like Jesus.” Which Jesus? The already glorified Jesus of Rev 1:14-15.
    6) He drives this point home (as if he hadn’t already) with “So, 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! Johnson closes this section with As He is, so are we in this world.

    As to your follow up comment at 10:57 regarding the Cross, you must keep in mind the preceding which sets up this discussion. Johnson is talking about a post-Cross Christ – a glorified Christ, once again. This is why he uses the term “resurrection power.” As I point out in the Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, part II article in the “Resurrection of the Latter Rain” section, this “resurrection power” is a term borrowed from Kenneth E. Hagin from whom Johnson borrowed other teachings. Hagin states in His book “The Name of Jesus” [which borrows quite heavily from Kenyon’s “The Wonderful Name of Jesus”] that his use of John 4:17 – “As He is, so are we in the world” – is NOT when we get to heaven, “No! In this world! Glory!”

    Moreover, the emphasis on the ‘risen’ side of the Cross rather than, as the Apostle Paul proclaimed, “Christ and Him crucified”, is well known in New Age/occult as I point out with an Alice Bailey quote in the “Sinless at the Other Side of the Cross” section of BJII:

    “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…”

    That, my friend, is what Johnson is teaching!

  341. peacebringer says:

    Hey matt,
    that “glorification”= “completion” I find to be a difficult assertion. Hebrew word for glory=weight.

    the greek gets in to elevating one and bringing honor. It does reference an elevation. The key passages in referring to the concept Romans as the end chain. If you examine the concept, theologically it deals with ultimately being changed from that which is corrupted to that which is right. It is brought to perfect alignment and submission to God. There is tought, including by Bill Johnson that there is a state of “closeness” to God that you radiate “glory.” And the focus is on God Glory as if it something to posses. Given the Hebrew word denotes heavyness it really is about the awesomeness of God beyond that which we can comprehend. “THe Otherness of God.” We can reflect that Glory, like the moon, but it is not something to manipulate or possess. It is not something to camp out at and create a movement over, like was suggested at the transifiguration where Jesus let glory seen. No, rather it is pointing toward God.

    The focus on anything of self falls into that of “self-glorifcation” or “Self-elevation.” And this is what Bill Johnson talks of with the “Annointing.” Sure the words can sound well and good, but twisted. What Bill Johnson teaches has more in common with Gnoticism, Kabbalah, and other esoteric philosophies. Take time and dig into the exegesis and even twists such as the human glorification of saints done both in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. it is always to God be the Glory. The true essence of on earth as it is in heaven is everything focused on God. May everything be direct and pointed to and focused on God. Is there anything about Bill Johnson’s words in that book that point to such? Or is it a twist off of the lies at Eden, a promise of elevation to on par with the divine. This is the problem here.

  342. Craig says:

    You could say of anyones teaching that they can get confusing. Peter even said of Paul’s writings they are difficult to understand.

    That’s not true at all. I don’t find most Christian teachers confusing. As regards Peter’s quote of Paul, let’s state the entire verse:

    15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. [emphasis added]

    You wrote, Difficulty in understanding someone nor divisiveness is [not] enough to consider someone heretical.

    I have no difficulty in understanding Johnson’s teachings as regards his Christology as heretical and neither would some of the early church fathers who denounced this sort of thing as heresy.

    You wrote, Jesus stated He came to bring a sword at times His Word’s caused division.

    Here’s the Scripture:

    33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

    34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

    “‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    [Matthew 10:33-35 NIV]

    One could state that claiming Jesus “so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father…” and “He had NO supernatural capabilites whatsover” is tantamount to disowning Jesus in front of others. The early church fathers would have thought so since they denounced Arianism which Johnson’s Christology resembles. Jesus was ALWAYS supernatural as God is by very definition supernatural.

    You also wrote, “You judge according to fruit.”

    Yes, we do: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/look-at-the-fruit/

    You wrote, “I do not believe Bill Johnson believes Jesus wasn’t the Son of God. Merely him attempting to try and explain Jesus’s humanity. The fact that Jesus ate, slept, wept, etc.

    You can continue to defend Johnson but his own words betray him over and over.

  343. peacebringer says:

    Matt,
    In essence then Johnson is echoing the concept of Latter Rain and others of the church reaching some moment when we have completed becoming the bride without spot or wrinkle, which is supposed to be some action on our accord. That when there is this “united” or “mature” state and the church has had impact on all aspect of society and set things right, then jesus will come. Bill is not saying all of that but the concept is linked from your description. It is in essence putting the church to an elevated point of something that is of Jesus to accomplish.

    The point you drive home really shows the flaw and the thinking, Jesus was shown “glorfied” so that we know what will “become” this becoming is when you reach the “annointing” and become overshadow like Jesus. As He is, so are we in this world.

    … find that one scripture will you. Where do you find that stated at all? Sure some levels it has a ring of truth. Particularly in matters of suffering and persecution. But it hints at reaching a level above. That there is this “supernatural state of elevation” that can be reached. Is that really consistent with scripture? Or is it more like the hook in the garden of eden?

  344. matt says:

    -The emphasis for salvation is the Cross, the emphasis for our new life is the power of the resurrection. The cross made way for the power of God(Holy Spirit) to be received by the believer. 2 Corinthians 13:4 For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.

    -Without the risen Christ we have no hope. 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

    -Keeping heavenly minded and not carnally minded is keeping our eyes on a risen Christ. Colossians 3:1-3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

    -John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” This verse means nothing to those who have not received the sacrafice of the Cross. After faith in Christ this promise comes. We find victory because of a victorious Christ. Keeping our eyes on Him gives us hope to overcome.

    -1 John 4:4 “and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” How can we have faith to overcome if we don’t know first that Christ was himself an overcomer? The resurrection proves Him a conquerer and gives us confidence.

    -Romans 6:4-6 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
    Again here Paul also emphasizing the resurrection and the power to be free from slavery to sin.

    One verse from Paul doesn’t justify a position of never speaking of the risen Lord. Paul himself speaks of the hope and power the resurrection imparts to the believer. Taken out of context I would only preach His death. Without the resurrected Christ I am hopeless.

    While some similarities may be seen quoting Alice Bailey to back up a view on Johnson they can be misleading. Just because of Alice’s overemphasis doesn’t mean anyone who preaches on the risen Christ is in the exact same error. We are speaking of Johnson. You yourself claim to borrow from others who you don’t completely agree with. That isn’t to say Johnson even borrowed from her. To attack a view point for emphasis on the risen Christ would be to attack the Apostle Paul as well. Truths to extreme are where we find gross error. Besides I thought this was about Johnson not Alice Bailey. Lastly Johnson’s own words define His, not Kenyon’s or Hagin’s, view on the glorified church position. I can borrow from someone without holding to all their theological points, can’t you?

  345. Craig says:

    matt,

    Your stubborn refusal to take Johnson’s plain words at face value is disappointing to me. Your defense of Johnson shows that you are willing to defend man over God. I don’t know how much clearer I could make the 6 points above which clearly illustrate Johnson is making the glorified Jesus our model for which we attain our own glorification on this earth.

    Yes, Jesus’ Resurrection is the central point of our faith. It proves Jesus was God. It provides the necessary and sufficient atonement for our sins. It provides the hope of our own future resurrection in glorified bodies as we depart this earth.

    You wrote, “You yourself claim to borrow from others who you don’t completely agree with.

    Yes, I do and I am sure to quote them in context if I agree with said point or to quote esoteric/occult source to illustrate a possible connection with another’s teaching.

    You wrote, “Johnson’s own words define His, not Kenyon’s or Hagin’s, view on the glorified church position.

    Johnson defines it himself. Hagin’s/Kenyon’s words add to it as Johnson clearly borrows from the their own Word of Faith/New Thought/esoteric backgrounds. And, this is not the only place Johnson borrows from Hagin/Kenyon – he does it in the ‘Born Again’ Jesus doctrine. It’s all from the same source.

  346. peacebringer says:

    Matt,
    Yes, we are to have an eternal perspective. See Randy Alcorn’s writings for sound exegesis on the concept. The concepts talked about here are not “heaven minded” they are earth minded. “Bringing heaven to earth.” The focus is taken off of God to some concept of supernatural power.

    And yes, the resurrection is central. That Jesus defeated death and became “The Way,The Truth, and the Life.” Do a word study on that statement to find out what that means and compare it to this focus of an “annointing” to “elevates.”

    You reference “glorified church.” No where is there a reference to a “glorified church.” There is a bride without spot or blemish (Made so by Jesus). No where in paul’s writing can you find this “glorificatied church” concept. That is again placing the “church” into postion other than what God intends. We will be changed, we will be made whole, we will be transfigured. We will be given honor, which in turn we will give back. We will get crowns to lay at his feet.

    Yet, we have a focus on “glory” and “power” and all that, most of which triggered by desire of self, the ever increase desire to be as God.

  347. Craig says:

    For more on “Resurrection Life” see the “Manifest Sons of God: The New Breed” section of BJII with Todd Bentley explaining it. Bentley is a ‘friend’ of Johnson’s as per one of Johnson’s websites. Bentley describes “Resurrection life” as a corporate anointing. Quoting from BJII:

    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]

    Johnson himself speaks of a “corporate anointing” – which is MSoG – in this post:

    “…Here’s what I’m believing for – I know it’s never happened; but, I know that it must before the end. There must be, not just individuals – I’m thankful we have individuals that are rising up with such anointing, such strength, we have people scattered all over the planet right now that are just making a mess of things in all the right ways. We are so encouraged. But, what I’m believing for is a generation – a generation that’ll rise up with a corporate faith, a corporate anointing to press into realms because it’s my conviction that as much as God put on a William Branham, or a Kathryn Kuhlman, or a Wigglesworth, He’ll put far greater anointing on a company of people than He ever would on an individual…

    Going back to Bentley from BJII:

    “…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.’”

    and, later in this same video/audio:

    “…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.”

    Hmmm. That ‘born again’ thing again…

    Let’s compare again to Theosophist/New Ager/esotericist/occultist Alice Bailey:

    “…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.”

    There we go again with that John 4:17 prooftext that Kenyon/Hagin/Johnson use and we have Bentley’s claim of Christ in us, the hope of glory as the “same spirit that raised Christ from the dead.”

    Yes, according to Bentley and Johnson, the Son didn’t raise Himself from the dead contrary to John 2:19/10:17-18. Here’s Johnson’s claim:

    “…Jesus gave Himself to be crucified. He did not raise Himself from the dead…His job was to give His life to die. The Father raised Him by the Spirit…” [Bethel sermon February 27, 2011]

    Alice Bailey again:

    “This initiation [Baptism] marked a tremendous change in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Up to that time, for thirty years, He had simply been the carpenter of the little town, and the son of His parents. He was a personality doing much good in a small sphere. But after the purification in Jordan, having ‘fulfilled all righteousness,’ He became the Christ…”

    Exactly. Just like Johnson, Bailey’s Jesus received the ‘title’ of Christ at Baptism. But, who raised Jesus from the dead? Benjamin Creme, an avid Alice Bailey devotee, makes a claim not too dissimilar from Johnson as it was the Christ (spirit) who raised Jesus:

    “Jesus was raised from the dead by his teacher the Christ who entered his body 3 days after his death. Jesus was no longer in that body and it was the Christ whose personal name Lord Maitreya who lived in that body for the 41 days after the resurrection.”

    This is FAR too close for comfort!

  348. peacebringer says:

    okay, just went to the online version of the book to see really what Bill Johnson said.

    There is this paragraph
    “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.”4 The Holy Spirit comforts us, gives us gifts, reminds us of what Jesus has said, and clothes us with power. But He does all this to make us like Jesus. That is His primary mission. So 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 a sculptor looks at a model and fashions the clay into its likeness, so the Holy Spirit looks to the glorified Son and shapes us into His image. As He is, so are we in this world.”

    Um, say what? Heavenly Model that we are to become? Where is that in scripture, seriously.

    Another disturbing phrase: “Why then should I try to become as He was, when He suffered so I could become as He is? At some point, the reality of the resurrection must come into play in our lives—we must discover the power of the resurrection for all who believe.”

    No where in scripture is the goal about becoming AS HE IS. We are to be “like Christ” but not “As HE is.”

    Now to be fair, he goes on to make a good point about ‘brokenness and false humility, but the question in my mind is to what is he pointing.

    He also makes some sound points and premises about repentance and change…

    Ah and then he goes into the argument- starting with declaring “I AM STRONG” He talks of recognizing status of heirs. Then he deviates to what As he is about, focuses on Glory defined as “manifest presence” (not found in scripture, Christ in us the hope of glory) about Power, about Truimph, and adds on holiness. His views of all are twisted.

    So with a cursory glance at chapter being discussed, some sound words that quickly deviate off into something else. The mindset of “AS HE IS” to the point of declaring strength with an I AM and a twist focus of being hears and adopted children of God permeates. It is easy to miss. And now I have a headache from having read that chapter. It is why I tend to stay away from such stuff, I don’t respond well to the twists. It impacts me physically.

  349. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    Keep in mind that according to the occultist the goal is to overcome the ‘lower self’ in order to actualize ‘the higher (divine) self.” Even Bailey says we must “take up our cross daily.” So, holiness is a big part of esoteric doctrine. The big difference is that it’s through self-effort to auto-soterism — self salvation.

  350. peacebringer says:

    Stepping back from that read of the chapter, he really does put together an enticing argument. We are to be as Jesus is, focus on Resurrection. Changing in identify. We are to be AS HE IS, that was Jesus goal, to allow us to be AS HE IS. Too many folks focus on sin, woe is my, wretched man that I am, they don’t recognize their new identity and don’t walk in the victory. They don’t let God move. Because of that pride they miss out, cause they don’t understand. For when you are His son, the Glory, “MANIFEST PRESENCE” comes, Power Comes, and nothing can stand for you can access the Victory. Sins won’t mater, there will come Holness and we will all do great things in a revival to come. It will be beautiful. Now don’t you dare miss out cause you don’t understand and if this doesn’t make sense? Do you want to be mature? Don’t you want to do great things and not miss out. Don’t question what you don’t understand. Just accept it. BE AS HE IS….

    Of course that is my paraphrase of the tone of that chapter. Does that sound like the Gospel to you? What does the focus seem to be about God, Jesus or Self and Power? Sure words of holiness, and repentance but it is all about this experience, this “BEING AS HE IS” which is not defined in that chapter other than brief comments about GLORY, POWER, TRUIMPH, HOLINESS, it really reads as elevationg to being on par with God. BE AS HE IS!

    No, I would rather be as He made me, mature in that, and reflect and point to Him. May I be nothing and God greater. Christ in me, the hope of glory. God with me. Relationship with the almighty God. That is what He came for, to restore relationship. Not this “AS HE IS” Non-sense.
    Now to kick on some worship for I just feel dirty.

  351. peacebringer says:

    Craig, I am well aware of that, just pointing out the nature of the arguement, the pieces that sound good. BJ’s words all say it is not of self on one level and then talks about self all the way through that chapter. It is very “dirty”

  352. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    Hence the allure of false teaching. It’s ear tickling [2 Timothy 4:3].

    I mainly wanted to respond to what you said for the benefit of readers who may have been confused that you were agreeing with Johnson and in opposition to what I was writing.

    This sort of discussion from Johnson defenders is good in that: 1) it helps to hone the apologetic against Johnson’s teachings; and 2) it tends to bring up things I didn’t see at first. As to point #2, matt showed how Johnson defines Ephesians 4:13 two different ways: the first as proof-text to make a point using eisegesis contrary to Scripture (glorification pre-eternal), the second to make it sound as though he’s orthodox (“…not human perfection…a maturity of function” p 183 in first edition). Once again, it’s like Johnson claiming Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” while proclaiming His full deity elsewhere.

    Chapter 17 expresses the Latter Rain doctrine more fully. Here’s more on the “glorious church” perfected before Christ can return:

    The experiential love of God, and the corresponding fullness of the Spirit is what is necessary to bring the full stature of Christ — Jesus will be accurately seen in the Church, just as the Father was accurately seen in the Son. [p 186]

    The key words again are “…to bring the full stature of Christ” which is speaking of glorification – the old familiar Ephesians 4:13 again – as in the description of the glorifed Jesus in Revelation 1:14-15 as pointed out in the beginning of chapter 13. The “experiential love of God” is ‘intimacy’, ‘soaking’, or, as New Agers would say “Christ consciousness” [see that section title here] which we are are to expand which will bring about this ‘self-glorification.’

  353. W B McCarty says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have time to comment at length on the many interesting new ideas that have been raised since I last participated in this discussion. But I would like to offer one point that I hope others will find cogent and constructive.

    Because the doctrine of the dual natures of Christ is at the very center of Christianity, it has been a settled matter for over a millennium. Certainly, the doctrine can be hard for laymen to understand and apply, as this discussion demonstrates. But there is no excuse for inaccurate, incomplete, or unclear articulation of the doctrine by a minister of the Gospel, most especially one with a widely followed ministry. No one, not even Pastor Johnson, deserves a pass on a doctrinal question so central to the Christian faith as this.

    In order to be gracious and in order to simplify my case, I’ll leave open for the moment the question whether Pastor Johnson’s statements entail material Christological heresy, as Craig has argued. But even in that case, there remains the problem that Pastor Johnson has been manifestly unclear.

    Those of the Christian faith who follow Pastor Johnson deserve, and should demand, that he clarify his position by showing conclusively that he holds to the historical standards of the Christian faith affirmed alike by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox. To satisfy such a demand is not difficult. He might do so, for example, simply by stating that he fully subscribes to the Chalcedonian Creed. A single-syllable “yes” or “no” response is all that’s required. That he persistently neglects to do so is reasonable grounds for calling him out. But not only that, I insist that his neglect requires as a matter of Christian duty that anyone who does understand what’s at stake in the unclear presentation of this doctrine should join in calling Pastor Johnson to publicly clarify his position at once. If Pastor Johnson truly holds an orthodox position, let him offer appropriate affirmation.

  354. Craig says:

    W B McCarty,

    While I don’t necessarily disagree with you, sadly I’d be reluctant to fully accept even a “yes” in affirming Johnson’s adherence to Chalcedon. The reason I state this — to use an example not tied directly to Christology — is that he so easily uses Ephesians 4:13 to mean two different things simultaneously by his own contexts using his own clear words in When Heaven Invades Earth. As pointed out above, on page 145 of original issue [first page of chapter 13; p 138 in online pdf version], Johnson frames his argument such that Ephesians 4:13 is used as support for the idea of individual glorification on earth as opposed to this verse supporting merely a “maturity of function” and “[not] speaking of human perfection” on p 183 [p 175 in pdf] while again speaking of glorification/perfection using this same verse as support just one page later:

    The experiential love of God, and the corresponding fullness of the Spirit is what is necessary to bring us to the full stature of Christ — Jesus will be accurately seen in the Church, just as the Father was accurately seen in Jesus.

    This point is made clear by Johnson’s statement following the above, “GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT FULLY EXPRESSED” using Acts 2:17-21 [Joel 2] as support — a clear Latter Rain reference.

  355. Craig says:

    Another comment re: Chalcedon. As pointed out by modern proponents of kenosis Sarah Coakley, Stephen T. Davis, Ronald Feenstra and others, the Council of Chalcedon does not fully define “God.” Given that, attempts have been made to redefine God to support a kenotic theory such that God is “omnipotent-unless-kenotically-incarnate” and other such. :( Of course, such a redefinition has implications on the Trinity as well and violates at the least Hebrews 13:8 as I see it.

  356. Craig says:

    …and, it seems to have implications on the Atonement as well…

  357. matt says:

    Craig you stated,”Yes, according to Bentley and Johnson, the Son didn’t raise Himself from the dead” That is actually a quote from the Bible not Bill Johnson or Bentley.

    -1 Corinthian 6:14 “And GOD both RAISED up THE LORD and will also raise us up by His power”.(NKJV)

    Looking into John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I RECEIVED from My Father.”

    He received authority. Once you receive something you can use it as you please. Hence Jesus’s statement He can give life to whom He pleases. Just like if your dad gives you his car. Now you can drive it where you please. These statements are more congruent with Jesus’s own Words when taken in context with His others. Jesus lived just as we did in His humanity. He did nothing outside the Father’s will even when given the authority and power to do so in the flesh. He made Himself(his choice) as man to live in all ways as His brethren. Spirit was still glorified but didn’t fully allow the manifestation in the flesh.

    Jesus is competely dependent on the Father. Jesus is the Word of God. The Word states,”out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34 I can not see what is in someones heart. They have to declare their heart to make it known with their words. John 1:18 states,”No one has seen God at anytime. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” Jesus is the manifestation of the Father’s heart. He constantly reflects who the Father is perfectly. Hebrews 1:3 says,”He is the brightness of His glory, and the exact representation of His person.” Jesus is the Word of God sent to clearly declare the abundance of the Father’s heart.

    The more I study this the more I believe there is no independence from one another in the Trinity. If there is then am I really into a monotheistic belief? The Lord is one states there utter dependence on one another. I may have been presumptive to state Jesus’s independence from the Father in light of the Scripture, “I can do nothing of myself.”

    I know the argument will be then what about the Scriptures that state John 8:29 “I always do those things that please Him.” This and other Scriptures could be used to state that Jesus had a will apart from the Father. I think the will He is speaking of was the weakness in His humanity. His humanity was hungry and willed to eat but He went without food 40 days and submitted Himself to the Father’s will. His body willed not to die on the cross, but He said ,”neverless not my will but your will be done.” The fact that Jesus never did anything outside the Father’s will is proof that He is God’s Word. For a Word that doesn’t come from the heart of God is not God’s Word. Romans 1:4 “and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” The resurrection declared Him to be what He said He was the very exact representation of the Father’s glory the Son of God.

    The last part there are just some of my thoughts on the matter. I would like some “constructive” criticism, thanks! Please include Bible verses as I am not as familiar with many of the other sources you quote. The first 3 paragraphs deal with your quotation of Bentley and Johnson and the verse of the Bible that goes with their argument.

  358. Craig says:

    Matt,

    First, I want to say that I appreciate the fact that you are willing to search the Scriptures and learn what they truly mean apart from what Johnson states or what I state. I’m certainly not infallible although I endeavor to be very careful what I write on here and I invite correction if it can be shown I am indeed wrong.

    I’ll address the first three paragraphs you wrote after I address the latter ones. First, it is not easy to give a full teaching on the Trinity in the space of a comment box. I’ll quote directly from Wayne Grudem again [p 231 Systematic Theology]:

    1. God is three persons
    2. Each person is fully God.
    3. There is one God.

    Each ‘person’ is co-equal and co-eternal with the others; however, there are subordinate roles. Now, how does that all work together? My strong suggestion is to pick up Wayne Grudem’s work which is both well organized and fairly easy to understand and Grudem comes from a continuationist perspective. I differ with him on some points (and it’s not from a cessationist perspective as I’m not); but, of all the Systematic Theologys I have and have read, Grudem’s is one of the easiest to read.

    You can read some reader reviews at christianbook.com:

    http://www.christianbook.com/systematic-theology-introduction-to-biblical-doctrine/wayne-grudem/9780310286707/pd/28670?item_code=WW&netp_id=161543&event=ESRCQ&view=details

    and Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Systematic-Theology-Introduction-Biblical-Doctrine/product-reviews/0310286700/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    In the meantime, “Got Questions” is a pretty good source for answers:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Godhead.html

    Perhaps a reader here can point me to a good book on the Trinity as well or as an alternative [“Got Questions” lists two at the end of the article above.] If I find what looks like a good source, I’ll let you know.

    Now, moving on to the first three paragraphs of your response.

    As per John 2:19 Jesus raised Himself. My comments in the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II article:

    According to Scripture, Jesus Christ raised Himself [John 2:19], He was raised by the Father [Gal 1:1; Acts 13:34], and, He was raised by the Holy Spirit [Rom 8:11] beautifully illustrating the interrelationship of the Trinity.

    Yes, Jesus received the command from the Father in John 10:17/18; but, Jesus had the inherent power (omnipotence) to perform it. Again, this goes back to His subordinate role to the Father.

    What it seems you are failing to see is that Johnson explicitly states Jesus did not raise Himself inferring He didn’t have the ability, the power. This is made even more evident in the latter part of the quote as stated in the ‘challenge’ itself: “The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless)…” which illustrates Jesus, according to Johnson, lacked power (omnipotence), a divine attribute, contrary to Scripture [John 2:19, 5:21b].

    You also fail to acknowledge that Johnson claimed Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever.” This points to a human Jesus with no divine attributes who could only live by the power of the Holy Spirit having divested Himself of all divine attributes when the Word became flesh. Do you believe Jesus voided His divine traits when the Word became flesh? Keep in mind Hebrews 13:8, Hebrews 1:3 as well as Colossians 1:27. This is real issue here.

  359. W B McCarty says:

    Craig, I’ve been unclear. I don’t mean to imply that someone who affirms Chalcedon is thereby provided to be orthodox in all respects. I mean only that, absent an affirmation of Chalcedon, a record of incomplete or unclear articulation of the doctrine of the nature of Christ might reasonably be understood as negation of Chalcedon. Laymen can reasonably be given a pass but ministers of the Gospel ought be transparently clear in their enthusiastic, regular affirmation of Chalcedon and all that it implies.

  360. Craig says:

    W B McCarty,

    You wrote, “absent an affirmation of Chalcedon, a record of incomplete or unclear articulation of the doctrine of the nature of Christ might reasonably be understood as negation of Chalcedon.”

    Agreed. And, that’s exactly the conclusion I reached in the two part kenosis article.

    You wrote, “Laymen can reasonably be given a pass but ministers of the Gospel ought be transparently clear in their enthusiastic, regular affirmation of Chalcedon and all that it implies.”

    Agreed, once again. Johnson can be quite lucid on some points clearly articulating his thoughts. And, given that, I can only conclude that he’s being sufficiently clear in his various and abundant Christological statements which show unorthodoxy at best and heresy at worst.

  361. Mary Matthews (MaryM007) says:

    Bill Johnson’s statement – “The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless)…” in and of itself throws the gospel of Jesus Christ off it’s foundation. The purpose of a sacrifice is that something innocent had to die – shed it’s blood – to pay the penalty of our sin (the wages of sin is death). The lamb is used because it is innocent – not powerless. Jesus is the lamb of God because He is innocent – sinless – not because He was powerless. God made the way for us to come back to Him before the foundations of the world – 1 Peter 1:19-21.

  362. Mary Matthews (MaryM007) says:

    It appears that Johnson doesn’t understand Who Jesus is and/or Why He came…

  363. matt says:

    Let me ask you this. Tithing old or new covenant? Required or not? Just interested to hear your thoughts.

  364. Craig says:

    matt,

    This is WAY off subject; but, I’ll indulge you briefly. Tithing is OT. NT is freewill giving.

  365. matt says:

    According to Craig, “I’d be reluctant to fully accept even a “yes” in affirming Johnson’s adherence to Chalcedon.” You state that there is almost no possible way you will believe that Johnson is orthodox.

    With this matter settled in your heart there is really no need for this challenge. Mainly it has became an apologetic site to defend your already settled mind. “This sort of discussion from Johnson defenders is good in that: 1) it HELPS to HONE the apologetic AGAINST JOHNSON TEACHING.” -Craig

    “Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you’re going to be thinking tomorrow.”- Glen Beaman

    I enjoyed our discussions but I see no further need of them in relation to Johnson’s teaching. If anyone gets some ideas on some good books about the Trinity post them. I appreciate your time.

  366. matt says:

    O and thanks Craig. I agree with you on tithing. Maybe you could do a forum on that I would love to see your thoughts and others. I paid a big price for seeing things differently on that point in the church. Pastor found out and basically interrogated all my friends. Told people I held to heresy. Maybe that is why I hate hearing anyone labeled a heretic. I know misunderstanding can lead to a lot of hurt.

  367. Craig says:

    matt,

    The matter of Johnson’s Christological unorthodoxy or heresy is borne out in his own material – not based on any kind of bias on my part as I don’t know the man. Like a boomerang, I’ll keep coming back to this and other similar statements: Johnson’s claim that Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” and was a “lamb (powerless)” on the Cross illustrate a ‘Jesus’ who is less than God and who could not have provided adequate Atonement. This is very serious. In addition, given that he cites one verse [Ephesians 4:13] to back up two opposing theological truth claims in the same book and that he claims Jim Goll provided a predictive prophetic word in September 2009 about the acquisition of the Roberts Liardon library while he already in fact had this library [acquiring it in 2008] provide a large credibility gap causing me to disbelieve any subsequent possible claim of adherence to Chalcedon. I would deem it as merely paying lip service.

    For me to be convinced that Johnson has converted to orthodoxy necessarily requires me to see that he’s actually reformed his Christology evidenced only by changing the language in the myriad of material he has produced in written form and audio to reflect this. I’m not holding my breath; but, I won’t discount the possibility as our God can and has performed the miraculous.

    So, yes, our discussion here with respect to Johnson’s use of Ephesians 4:13 has helped to hone my apologetic against Johnson’s false teachings (of which there are legion) and for that I’m thankful. Your quote on stubbornness could well be applied to yourself as you continue to defend Johnson even in view of the plain evidence of Johnson’s Christological unorthodoxy at best and heresy at worst.

    I’ll continue to look for a good, sound book (or books) on the Trinity and post the results here.

    Thanks for taking the time to participate in the discussion.

  368. Craig says:

    I’m very disappointed you were labeled a heretic for merely believing the tithe had ceased. Obviously your (former?) pastor had other motives. You should ask him if he fancies himself an OT Levitical priest. If so, inform him that he should realize he cannot hold any property. Then, ask him if he’d prefer his tithe in the form of grain or livestock. Gold and silver were only used to (re)build the Temple.

    I had considered a post on tithing over a year ago. Maybe one day…

    Here’s Dr. Russell Kelly on tithing: http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/

  369. peacebringer says:

    Matt,

    Sorry that happened to you. Personally I have nothing against Bill Johnson. All I know is what see and read. Craig puts research and time into things that I just know are wrong. At time Bill Johnson writes things that sound on par, sound right, as in Chapter 13, but then quickly deviates into “something other than” as exhibited in Chapter 13. Please take time to ask God to open your eyes, ears, and heart to anyhting amiss. Sometimes we are attracted to certain things, not based on what say, but how impacts self and own desires. This bibilcally is what allows us to be deceived, it is our own evil desires. Bill Johnson’s words, even in Chapter 13, appeal to pride and other areas of self.

  370. matt says:

    That is why I hate when people say I don’t care about the truth. I have given up plenty. My wife had a position singing at a large church. I was asked to be shaped into the next youth leader. The Lord clearly warned me in a dream not to take the position, I didn’t. I never put anyone down for their belief in tithing. I in fact still don’t. I’ve tried to go to churches here and as soon as they hear from someone else my belief system I got a pastor at the door step. I actually had one come in my house and try to fight me. He said I disrespected him by walking out of the room to answer a phone call why he was at my home. Stated that a man of God is to be respected and I should stop everything I’m doing till he leaves. I told him that was childish and he was welcome to go out the door. That didn’t set well with him. The tension had built because he had taken me and my family to an event in the southeastern United States and I walked out.
    I was at a meeting of 10,000 when the speaker told the people to close the doors and not let anyone out we are taking up a offering for a lady who runs the event. This guy is very respected in NAR circles. I thought it was demonstrating too much control. I stood up while atleast half the people looked at me and walked out to the bathroom. I was stopped by a 20 something in camoflauge who told me I needed to sit in respect for Mr.******. I told him for freedom Christ had set me free, get out of my way or I’ll make one. lol I also informe him it was against fire marshall law to block exits to a convention center room while 10,000 people are packed in.
    I also loss a few friends over the situation. I know loss over truth. I just inspect things objectively and look for the good in others. Just some of my background in case you wondered.

  371. Craig says:

    I’m running out the door to meet some friends; but, I ask you to indentify this NAR shuckster for the sake of us all. This sort of thing REALLY angers me! I guarantee you I would have stood up!

    This sounds like the tactics of Copeland; but, I’m sure it could be any number of this ilk.

    We may disagree on Johnson; but, I agree with your stance in this account and with respect to tithing in general. These ‘pastors’ are not pastors at all as they are fleecing the sheep instead of leading them.

  372. IWTT says:

    Kudos to you Matt!

  373. Arwen4CJ says:

    All,

    I’ve done quite a bit of reading in how to defend the faith against Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, and the like. One thing that is pointed out by people like Walter Martin (who wrote the book ‘The Kingdom of the Cults”), is that since all three persons are God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit actually are involved in everything –

    There are Scriptures that show that all three persons raised Jesus from the dead.

    I don’t have a lot of time right now, but when I get back from church today, I’ll find the quotes and the Scriptures that show this.

    It’s not just the Holy Spirit, and it isn’t just Jesus, and it isn’t just the Father…..

  374. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I know this thread, and even the recent exchange here is l–o–n–g, but I did recently point out that it was the entire Trinity involved in Jesus’ Resurrection [November 4, 5:35PM]. This is noted in the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II thread (under the section “Eternal Implications of Johnson’s Kenosis”). Here’s the comment:

    According to Scripture, Jesus Christ raised Himself [John 2:19], He was raised by the Father [Gal 1:1; Acts 13:34], and, He was raised by the Holy Spirit [Rom 8:11] beautifully illustrating the interrelationship of the Trinity.

    While I’m sure there are others, two more quickly come to mind: Acts 10:40 and Romans 1:4.

    The main point here as regards Christology, of course, is that Jesus had the inherent power (omnipotence) to raise Himself. This is integral to the Atonement.

  375. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Thanks….you’re right…I didn’t read all the comments to this one before I made my own comment. I apologize. I happened to see the discussion about who raised Jesus from the dead…so I just wanted to point out that Bill Johnson’s teaching that Jesus didn’t have any power as God while on Earth is incorrect, and that it wasn’t just the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.

    I meant to contribute to the argument, that is all. But I see that this argument was already made :)

    To Matt,
    I can understand someone saying that, in a certain situation while Jesus was on Earth, he chose not to use His power as God in a particular situation. I can understand someone saying that Jesus chose to rely on the Holy Spirit without their saying that Jesus no longer had any powers.

    However, I can’t understand anyone who says that Jesus no longer had any power as God during the incarnation. To make the claim that Jesus didn’t have God powers anymore is not in the Bible. I know why Johnson is claiming it, and I see how he uses it in his theology, but it’s not based on the Bible…and is therefore false.

    Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Jesus got rid of His deity or His powers as God when He came to Earth.

  376. Craig says:

    No apology necessary! :-) As I said, there are a LOT of comments on here; and, I do appreciate your comments to add weight to the arguments put forth.

  377. Craig says:

    This article speaks on the theory of perichoresis: the nature-perichoresis of the person of Jesus Christ and the person-perichoresis on the Trinity:

    http://tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/library/TynBull_2005_56_1_07_Crisp_PerichoersisProblems.pdf

    Admittedly, this is rather deep; but, I feel if one takes the time to fully study its contents it will bring some understanding of the mystery of both the Incarnation and the Trinity. Perichoresis attempts to describe the interrelationship between the two natures of the person of Christ and the three members of the Trinity.

    As to the person of Christ, Oliver Crisp here explains that the doctrine of nature-perichoresis interpenetrating His human nature by His divine via omnipresence is just like the divine nature interpenetrating and upholding all of creation [cf. Hebrews 1:3] but to a stronger degree [This is not to be confused with panentheism!].

    As pointed out in the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part I article, it’s precisely this perichoretical relationship which provides Jesus Christ’s miracle working: “two natures held together in perfect union in one person.” This is important in understanding how Jesus Christ performed his miracles by the divine nature of Christ in hypostatic union with the human nature in the one person of Jesus Christ. However, this could raise a question:

    But does this activity of the divine nature in and through the human
    nature of Christ mean that only Christ could be acted upon in this way
    via nature-perichoresis? Is it not possible that God could enable me to
    walk on water, or rise from the dead, through some increase of divine
    perichoretic activity in my own body? And if so, how is the nature-perichoresis
    experienced by Christ really different from the
    perichoresis I experience? The answer is that God ,could act upon
    others in the way in which he acts upon Christ. All that distinguishes
    the perichoretic relation Christ’s human nature experiences with his
    divine nature, and my human nature experiences with God, is the
    degree to which the divine nature of Christ interpenetrates his human
    nature. But none of this means that there is not a difference between the
    way in which Christ’s human nature is interpenetrated by the divine
    nature and the way in which I am interpenetrated by God.

    Does this mean the hypostatic union is redundant because God
    could have brought about person-perichoresis by interpenetrating a
    human nature as he interpenetrates my human nature, without the need
    for a hypostatic union of two natures? Not necessarily. A number of
    classical theologians, following Anselm, say that the incarnation
    requires there to be a divine and human nature in hypostatic union in
    the person of Christ. If God simply created a being comprising a
    single human nature, and act upon that human being in a special way,
    via a non-hypostatic nature-perichoresis, this would not be sufficient
    for the purpose of the incarnation. Such a person would not be both
    fully God and fully man. He would be fully man, but also only merely
    man, with only a human nature upon which God acts in a special way.
    This is the heresy of adoptionism, that Jesus was a human being who
    was ‘adopted’ or ‘possessed’ by the second person of the Trinity at
    some point in his life, becoming the Christ through this experience.

    So, it seems to me that, although this version of nature-perichoresis
    does entail that the interpenetration of the human nature of Christ by
    his divine nature is only different in degree of divine co-inherence from
    that which is involved in God interpenetrating and upholding me at
    each moment of my existence, this nevertheless has important
    ramifications in the doctrine of the incarnation that do involve
    important differences between Christ and other human beings. And this
    need not lead away from orthodoxy…

    Crisp concludes with the following:

    None of this actually explains what perichoresis is: what does it
    mean for the human nature of Christ to be interpenetrated by the
    omnipresence of the divine nature of Christ to a greater degree than the
    way in which the divine nature interpenetrates me?…I cannot say
    because I do not know. This is a divine mystery before which theology
    must give way to doxology.

    AMEN!

  378. Craig says:

    Quoting a portion of the Crisp essay:

    …This is the heresy of adoptionism, that Jesus was a human being who
    was ‘adopted’ or ‘possessed’ by the second person of the Trinity at
    some point in his life, becoming the Christ through this experience…

    Adoptionism was refuted as heresy at the Council of Nicea [325] and again in the Council of Constantinople [381]. This sounds much like Johnson as he claims that Jesus received the ‘title’ of Christ at Baptism as explained in the “Johnson’s View of How Jesus Received His Title/Name of Christ” section of Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II. This has roots in Gnosticism as well beginning with Cerinthus [AD 100 or thereabouts] and it is also central to current New Age doctrine.

  379. matt says:

    I guess I’m back in this conversation. ugh! Does help sharpen you up though. If Bill Johnson believed Christ was a human being who was adopted by God then the statement, “He emptied himself would not be given.” To empty oneself you first have to be full. I understand that the verse “the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily” seemingly contradicts this statement. I personally believe for the time being Johnson means this in regards to explaining His humanity. That he chose not to let his flesh exercise all the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. Obviously so considering sleeping, drinking, etc. To adhere to adoptionism you have a human Jesus becoming a God. Not a God becoming human which Johnson is proposing.

  380. Martin says:

    Defnitions are all well and good but they are somewhat limited. When trying to define the mystery of God incarnate I think reliance on the early church fathers opinions in written statements(by an official “council” or not) proves nothing in my opinion. We have someone who is fully God,fully man(I personally do not believe Jesus was ever less than 100% God) He is God, so for him to suddenly lose 1 or two of his attributes to complete his mission seems ridiculous.

    But equally ridiculous is to argue a knowledge of the divine incarnation and his human attributes interacting simultaneously when that is not revealed to us.

    We are told not to go beyond what is written. That goes for all of us.

  381. Craig says:

    matt,

    You wrote, “If Bill Johnson believed Christ was a human being who was adopted by God then the statement, “He emptied himself would not be given.” To empty oneself you first have to be full. I understand that the verse “the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily” seemingly contradicts this statement.

    You are exactly right on this point. This is why I state, “this is much like” instead of ‘is just like.’ However, if Johnson believes Jesus, the Word was God who ‘emptied Himself’ having “laid aside His divinity” thereby becoming a human devoid of deity/divinity then subsequently received the ‘title’ of Christ when He was ‘anointed’ at Baptism it sure sounds like adoptionism.

    You also wrote, “I personally believe for the time being Johnson means this in regards to explaining His humanity. That he chose not to let his flesh exercise all the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. Obviously so considering sleeping, drinking, etc.

    This is in essence what Oliver Crisp describes as functionist kenosis which would be a possibility except for the definitive claim that “He had no supernatural capabilites whatsover” which means Jesus the entire person lacked omnipotence. Had He qualified this with “in His humanity” then this could be construed in that manner. As I state in the Kenosis II article, ‘if, according to Johnson, Jesus Christ had merely chosen not to exercise His divine attributes as in functionalist kenosis, then He would still have the ability to perform miracles if He so desired rather than having “NO supernatural capabilites whatsoever.” This is reiterated in his book The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind:

    “…Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’ He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us…Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…”

    Again, He “had no ability” and He “couldn’t” and He – the entire person of Jesus Christ – “set aside His divinity” at the miraculous conception. I say this because Johnson expressly uses Philippians 2:5-7 as the proof-text in the footnote in WHIE on page 79 [footnote on page 85 (first page of chapter 7 for quote and last page for footnote)] – the very Scripture kenotics use to justify this theory:

    5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. [NKJV]

  382. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’m glad to see you’re still reading.

    These Councils I’ve cited by the early church fathers are universally recognized across Christianity. Their purpose was to specifically refute heresies. They provide a theological backdrop and are backed up by Scripture. They are not, of course, a substittute for Scripture. The Council of Chalcedon is the most current and complete of these Councils still recognized the by Church universal. As such, any deviation from it is very likely heresy. Johnson deviates from Chalcedon, a point I make clear in the Kenosis II article.

    You wrote, “But equally ridiculous is to argue a knowledge of the divine incarnation and his human attributes interacting simultaneously when that is not revealed to us. “

    I don’t think anyone has done this. If you’re referring to Crisp’s essay, then I believe you’ve misread it. The theory of nature-perichoresis is an attempt to explain the person of Jesus Christ who was clearly both a human person and a divine person in one complete person, the unique God-man. Crisp is clear that the human attributes do not ‘communicate’ to the divine.

  383. Martin says:

    Catholics recognise Mary as being free from original sin in one of their creeds – The Baltimore Catechism – read no. 50 for an unbiblical hoot.

    My discussion/ thinking revolves around the mystery of God incarnate; in the person of Christ, in that; God cannot be tempted, and that Jesus was tempted(in every way) just as we are, yet was without sin.

    This is a concept i have struggled with, because it effects the following passage that is incredibly pertinent for true believers. Hebrew 4:16

    If Jesus was tempted by the devil to commit an act that was contrary to his very divine nature, in the same way we are(as that very passage seems to suggest) Then in my understanding as a christian – it appears to be seemingly irreconcilable with; God who cannot be tempted as suggested to us in James 1:13.

    Madness.

    If Jesus actually understands the very nature of this darkness(temptation) then he can relate to me in a very real way. If, however, there was no struggle for him at all, how can he relate to me?

    So there is definately an element of mystery about The Lord in his human form! So the whole christology thing isn’t as clear cut as some may try to define. It’s all so interesting though.

  384. Martin says:

    Sorry could you expand on the statement

    “Crisp is clear that the human attributes do not ‘communicate’ to the divine.” It sounds incredibly deep but what does it actually mean.

  385. Craig says:

    Martin,

    The Incarnation is a divine mystery indeed!

    However, I don’t think it’s incoherent/contradictory. Jesus was tempted, yes; however, He was not born in original corruption, i.e. He did not have the sin nature that we all inherited from Adam. Therefore, He could not have sinned. But, yes, He could be and was tempted. Temptation becomes sin when the thought is acted upon whether in completing the thought or in performing the actual sin.

    13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. [James 1:13-15; NKJV]

  386. Craig says:

    I should add that Jesus was not “drawn away by his own desires” since He did not have the propensity to sin in the first place. The temptation came not from within but from without, from others.

  387. Martin says:

    But, yes, He could be and was tempted

    for God cannot be tempted by evil,

    Can you not see what i’m getting at?

  388. Craig says:

    Oh, and regarding the Councils I refer to: I only refer to those universally recognized by the Church at large thereby excluding all those which are expressly RCC. There are only four Councils pertaining to Christology which are universally recognized and it’s these of which I refer.

  389. Craig says:

    See my comment at 6:04 which I’m presuming you didn’t see yet when you posted your comment at 6:06.

  390. Martin says:

    It’s still not clear. I’m still exploring some of this stuff for myself, please be patient with me.

  391. Craig says:

    Martin,

    You wrote, Sorry could you expand on the statement

    “Crisp is clear that the human attributes do not ‘communicate’ to the divine.” It sounds incredibly deep but what does it actually mean.

    I’ll first try to explain the “communication of attributes” (not to be confused with the Lutheran communicatio idiomatum) by quoting directly from the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part I article under “Background on More Recent Kenotic Theories” section. I’ll leave the footnote superscripts in the text so that you can see where it is in the article and refer to the notes if you’d like:

    This “communication” of attributes is a way of explaining how the contradictory attributes of the two different natures (e.g. omnipresence vs. limitation of physical presence) in the incarnate Christ are expressed as the one person of Christ. Wayne Grudem affirms that “anything either nature does, the person of Christ does.”36 In this way, we can state that Jesus Christ is omnipresent since this is inherent in His divine nature and hence His person, even though omnipresence is not a trait of humanity. Similarly, we can state that Jesus had the ability to suffer pain and even death since, in His human nature He did feel pain and experience death, even though, of course, as God He could not have done either of these.37 The divine and human natures, though, remain separate and distinct from one another.

    This is the explanation of the “communication of attributes.” Now going back to the text of Kenosis I article:

    Oliver Crisp, in his book Divinity and Humanity, supports a theological concept, different than the orthodox “communication” of attributes yet is somewhat related and incorporates it, which attempts to explain the interrelationship between the two natures of Christ. This is termed nature-perichoresis, similar to person-perichoresis which attempts to describe the interrelationship between the persons of the Trinity.40 In nature-perichoresis41 the divine nature ‘penetrates’ the human in the incarnate Christ in an asymmetrical manner (one way only) without transferring properties or confusing natures thereby upholding and sustaining the human nature similar in fashion to the divine nature of God interpenetrating all of creation. According to Crisp, per the theory, the divine attribute of omnipresence in the divine nature of Christ makes nature-perichoresis possible in the person of Christ.42 [This is explained further in the following section “Kenotic Theories of More Recent Vintage.”]

    Crisp then applies the “communication” of attributes as per orthodoxy the way Grudem states above. He proceeds to describe the relationship of the divine to the human as “Christ’s human nature is ‘indwelt’ by the divine nature in a way analogous to the indwelling of a human body by its soul…”43

    So, the divine nature ‘penetrates’ the human nature in the person of Christ providing the means for which the person of Christ can perform the miraculous. This penetration does not go from the human to the divine, however, because this would limit the divine nature. As one example, humans do not have omnipotence; so, by transferring this human trait of ‘limitation of power’ to the divine would in essence cancel out the divine attribute of omnipotence.

    I concede this is a deep concept and not easy to grasp. I had to read Crisp’s essay a few times and really study it to understand it.

  392. Craig says:

    Martin,

    No problem as I appreciate that you are endeavoring to educate yourself.

    Humanity is tempted from within because of the sin nature; whereas, Jesus is not tempted from within having no sin nature to cause Him to actually sin. He can be tempted by outside influence; but, He cannot be tempted in His person. I suppose I could try this analogy: Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that eating shrimp is a sin. However, I myself absolutely do not particularly care for shrimp (this is true). Someone could place some well-cooked broiled shrimp in front of me and I would not be tempted to eat any of it even if I were very hungry. However, to the individual who enjoys shrimp it would likely be difficult for him/her NOT to eat the shrimp as this individual would be very tempted. The individual in this example has an inherent desire for the shrimp; whereas, I do not. Now, if I’m REALLY hungry, this would be more difficult to turn the shrimp away.

    I know that is not a complete analogy; but, it’s the best I could do ‘off the cuff.’ Does this help?

  393. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Here’s more explanation from William L. Lane’s commentary on Hebrews [Word Biblical Commentary 47A; 1991, Thomas Nelson; pp 114-15] regarding Hebrews 4:15:

    This capacity [to be tempted in all ways yet not sin] derives from Christ’s full participation in humanity [cf. 2:17-18]. The heavenly exercise of his office is based upon the accomplishments of his earthly ministry. The writer [of Hebrews] will not recognize any disjunction between the ministry that Christ performs in the state of his exalted glory from that of the state of his humiliation [the Incarnation from conception to Cross]. The experience of sufferings and trials endured during his humiliation equipped him with empathy so that he is able to support the covenant people in their sufferings and temptations. The emphatic statement that he was, “in every respect, in quite the same way as we are,” implies that he was susceptible to all the temptations that are connected with the weaknesses inherent in the frailty of humanity. This was necessarily the condition for his full equipment with the fellow-feeling required for the discharge of the priestly ministry of helping. Suffering produced sympathy for endurance.

    The analogy between the testing of Christ and that to which the hearers are exposed remains unimpaired by the qualifying phrase, “only without the result of sin.” It does not restrict the likeness of the testing but relates exclusively to the outcome…

    The expression “in quite the same way,” in v 15 involves both similarity and distinction, excluding identity. The writer nowhere suggests that Jesus had to become identical to fallen humanity in order to redeem it. In fact, in 7:27 he denies that Jesus had to offer sacrifice “first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrified for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”

    This is a bit off topic of the post; however, I DO think it’s important in light of Johnson’s statements about Jesus not sinning which are phrased as if it were possible that He could sin such as this statement:

    …[H]e chose to live with self imposed restriction while living on earth in the flesh – as a man. In doing so He defeated sin, temptation, the powers of darkness as a man. We inherit His victory – it was for us. He never sinned!”

    Of course He never sinned! He never had the inherent capacity for sin in the first place.

  394. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,
    Jesus never claimed that He didn’t have deity powers while walking this earth. Everything that Jesus involved the whole triune God. Jesus revealed what God was like to us. Jesus had the ability to forgive sins, and He claimed it. Those who didn’t believe in Him recognized that only God had the ability to forgive sins. This alone should prove that Jesus didn’t leave behind His divine attributes in the incarnation.

    I know that forgiveness isn’t one of the classical attributes that deity has, but it IS an attribute that the God of the Bible has.

    If, as Johnson says, Jesus gave up all of His divine attributes and powers at the incarnation, He wouldn’t have had the ability to forgive sins.

    Take a look at the following passage. Pay special attention to verses 3 and 4.

    Matthew 9:2-8 NASB
    2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he got up and [c]went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

    Jesus knew their thoughts. This clearly shows that Jesus is all-knowing, showing yet again that Jesus, while on Earth, had divine attributes.

    The account is in the other Gospels as well. Here it is in Luke.

    Luke 5:17-24
    17 One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. 18 And some men were carrying on a [i]bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. 19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” 22 But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.”

    Again, Jesus knew their thoughts. Jesus did not lay down any of his divine attributes when He became human.

    Again, could understand someone saying that in certain scenarios, Jesus chose not to rely on His divine powers. But this wouldn’t be because Jesus didn’t have those powers available to Him, as God. It would have been because He decided not to use them in that particular situation.

    I could also understand someone saying that Jesus, although He had divine power as God, He chose not to rely on it in certain circumstances, but instead decided to rely on the Holy Spirit. However, again…this wouldn’t be because He didn’t have the ability to use the powers as God, but rather that He didn’t want to use them in that instance.

    I’m not saying that that’s how I think Jesus did miracles, but I would be able to understand someone saying that.

    However, I cannot understand Bill Johnson (or anyone else) claiming that Jesus had no divine attributes in the incarnation. Johnson made it very clear that he believes that Jesus laid all divine attributes down at the incarnation, and that He had no ability to do any miracle as God. Why? Because that view is refuted by Scripture.

  395. Arwen4CJ says:

    Just to make my last comment clearer — the “Why? Because that view is refuted by Scripture” refers to my statement that “I cannot understand Bill Johnson claiming that Jesus had no divine attributes in the incarnation.”

    So I was saying that Johnson’s view makes no sense to me because his view is refuted by Scripture.

  396. Arwen4CJ says:

    Correction to my post — I don’t think this account is in John. I was thinking it was — there is one miracle that is in all four Gospels. I thought it was this one, but I don’t think it’s in John….but it IS in all of the others.

  397. Craig says:

    You’re correct on your correction. This account is only in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) but not John. In Mark it’s 2:3-12.

  398. Craig says:

    The feeding of the five thousand is in all the Gospels. I found it in the “Harmony of the Gospels” in Strong’s Strongest Strong’s.

  399. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thanks, Craig. That was actually one of the two possibilities that I was thinking about :) Thanks for confirming this.

  400. matt says:

    Matthew 9:8 glorified God, who had GIVEN such AUTHORITY to men. Jesus always kept authority as the Son of God. He was given authority because of His perfect life as the Son of Man. Living as man in the flesh with the limitations of the flesh. Further read in the Scriptures and see the occasions it was stated Jesus was given authority and would do nothing outside the Father. (Matthew 28:18, John 17:2,John 5:19, 5:30, John 8:28) to name a few.

    I like the Crisp guy from the statement you have put here. As far as the divine communicating to the flesh, the sinlessness of His Spirit could communicate to His flesh. The weakness of His flesh desiring to eat when the Spirit had not lead Him too could not communicate to the Spirit. His Spirit never slept or slumbered, his flesh not glorified did. His flesh did not want to die, but it could not lead His Spirit astray. He submitted the weakness of His flesh to His Spirit. The flesh could not defile His spirit or communicate to His Spirit. Not so with us. 2 Corinthians 7:1 ” let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit” Communication is a means of expressing oneself. The Spirit could express itself in the flesh. The flesh could not express itself in His Spirit. Or think of telephones. If one end was the Spirit it could talk on the other end being flesh. The flesh did not have a line to the Spirit however. It did not have a say.

  401. Martin says:

    Thanks Craig, that does explain the within/without bit. Still struggling with the tempted in every way just as we are part. Because clearly from how you’ve defined it there was no consideration ever given to the sin. How can that be classed as temptation!

    I’m not understanding how Jesus can sympathise with me, if he’s never had to resist sin!

  402. Craig says:

    matt,

    Be careful not to ascribe “Son of Man” too narrowly. There are times when this term is used to show His preexistence [John 1:51; 3:13,14; 6:27, 53,63] which obviously point to divinity over humanity. Also, keep in mind that Jesus Himself was God AND part of the Trinitarian Godhead simultaneously and that He was in His divinity (not just humanity) in a subordinate role to the Father.

  403. Craig says:

    matt,

    You wrote, re: Jesus, “…the sinlessness of His Spirit could communicate to His flesh.” Please keep in mind that in the miraculous, virginal conception Jesus’ humanity was made without original sin. Of course, His divine nature was sinless as well.

  404. Craig says:

    Keep in mind that Crisp is stating a theory which essentially explains how the two natures of Jesus Christ worked within the person of Christ. He’s taken the Biblical concept as laid out in the Council of Chalcedon and tried to explain it via the nature-perichoresis theory. Kenosis theories, on the other hand, violate Chalcedon by reducing God in one way or another. [With the exception of the 'loophole' some recent kenosis proponents have claimed in which it is pointed out that Chalcedon does not define God. While this is true, that was beyond the intent of Chalcedon and, besides, Scripture defines the Godhead.]

  405. matt says:

    I was merely stating that the Spirit maintained the sinlessness of the flesh despite temptation.
    Thanks for the clarification however.

  406. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,

    All right, so the Scripture says that God had given such authority to men…I will grant you that. However, I don’t believe that is talking about knowing people’s thoughts. Jesus knew their thoughts. This is a divine attribute….God being all knowing.

    The title ‘Son of Man’ in this context is specifically used as a Messianic title for Jesus, and only Jesus. This was a direct reference to a prophecy about the Messiah from Daniel. See Daniel 7:13-14.

    Daniel 7:13-14
    13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
    And behold, with the clouds of heaven
    One like a Son of Man was coming,
    And He came up to the Ancient of Days
    And was presented before Him.
    14 “And to Him was given dominion,
    Glory and a kingdom,
    That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
    Might serve Him.
    His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    Which will not pass away;
    And His kingdom is one
    Which will not be destroyed.

    The Jews in Jesus’ day considered this to be a Messianic prophecy. Jesus made other references to His claim to being the promised Messiah based on this passage. When He talked about coming on the clouds in the future, He was referring to this prophecy. Jesus’ use of it is both a claim of being the Messiah and one of claiming Deity. In other words, to be the Son of Man is to have God’s authority because He is both the Messiah and God, second person of the Trinity.

    Because there is only one God, and that one God is triune, I don’t think that Jesus could do anything without the other members of the Trinity. He is one God. I think it would be impossible for Jesus to act apart from the Father. Jesus isn’t the Father, and the Father isn’t Jesus…but all three persons of the Trinity are so linked….

    Do I believe that miracles and such things happen today? Yes. But we are no way on the same level as Jesus. The Holy Spirit can use us, but we are not incarnations of God. Jesus is and was unique. He is and was the Messiah. We aren’t. We cannot bring ourselves up to the level of God.

  407. Arwen4CJ says:

    Psalm 139:1-6
    For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

    1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
    2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    You understand my thought from afar.
    3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
    And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
    4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
    Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
    5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
    And laid Your hand upon me.
    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

    Isaiah 55:8-11
    8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
    9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways
    And My thoughts than your thoughts.
    10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
    And do not return there without watering the earth
    And making it bear and sprout,
    And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
    11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
    It will not return to Me empty,
    Without accomplishing what I desire,
    And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

  408. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,
    I’m wondering if you understand what original sin really is. Back, before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were created without a tendency towards sin. This didn’t mean that they couldn’t be tempted — but rather that they had no inborn drive towards sin.

    The inborn drive to sin is illustrated when someone uses the example of a child being told not to do something. When a child is told not to do something, they usually end up doing it. Our inborn nature is rebellion.

    Adam, Even, and Jesus didn’t have this inborn tendency. If they were told not to do something, they had no drive to disobey. Once Adam and Eve disobeyed, they received the drive towards sin. All humans would then inherit this tendency towards sin.

    Jesus didn’t have the tendency/drive towards sin. This doesn’t mean that He wasn’t tempted — He just didn’t have the tendency towards it. Therefore, it wasn’t just because of the Holy Spirit that He didn’t sin. He chose not to sin — a choice that no other person since Adam and Eve could really have.

    Jesus did not inherit original sin.

  409. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,

    I also have to wonder if you believe that flesh = evil and Spirit = good. I’m asking that, based on your comments above:
    “…the sinlessness of His Spirit could communicate to His flesh.” and
    “I was merely stating that the Spirit maintained the sinlessness of the flesh despite temptation.
    Thanks for the clarification however.”

    It seems like you’re almost equating flesh with being evil or being sinful — or, another way of saying it would be that it almost seems like you’re saying that the human nature is evil.

    Then, it seems like you’re saying that Spirit is good.

    Is this what you believe? Is this what you understand Bill Johnson to be teaching?

    I’m asking for clarification about this because it’s really important.

  410. peacebringer says:

    matt,
    really wanting to understand your perspective here. You stated “He was given authority because of His perfect life as the Son of Man.” And not sure where you are drawing such a statement, as do not know of a Biblical reference to Jesus having authority because of sinlessness. Jesus has authority as the Son of God. He has autority as the Lamb of God, because of what in his innocence he was able to do. You go on to talking about “his Spirit” and “flesh” and it is confusing as to

  411. peacebringer says:

    eh, last post cut off

    what is confusing whether you are referring to Jesus spirit (as a human) or the Holy Spirit. It really is hard to follow what you are saying. Now, did he maintain correct balance of spirit over the rest of self, yes. But really not sure what conclusions are coming from and what your frame is.

    Jesus faced all sin, all temptation including that well beyond what we understand. He was tempted in every way, with what is tempting to him. To be Messiah in a way other than God’s plan. To not follow thourgh. He resisted to the point of shedding blood. That is a body/flesh reaction to standing firm and resisting the temptation. It was not easy. Yet, it was about His gift and sacrifice. It was about Jesus doing. it was not about his “innocent” state.

  412. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    The Scripture states it was “as” drops of blood, not actual drops of blood.

  413. peacebringer says:

    Whether there was actual blood or not, there was still a physical and emotional reaction. There is an actual physical reaction. Would need to be at home to sort out that “as” or “actual” a bit more. There is debate. It is medically possible to sweat blod. It is an acute stress reaction. We have later scripture indicating that “have not resisted temption to the point of shedding blood.” And I do not believe that is pointing to the blood on the cross, but to the extreme resistance to temptation that body has such a severe reaction. So, sure, it can be taken to read “as” and would have to look more into that with other tools. However, that point is but a tangent.

  414. peacebringer says:

    Here is one article showing the other side of that particular debate: http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1086

    Not being a langauge expert myself look at tools and really need to look closely at how the original language was written including the author. Luke was a physician and certainly would use “medical descriptives” vs literary descriptivse. Often the “not blood” and as blood really comes down to rationalizing what happen, but yes, the english translation can be taken sweat like blood. Regardless, whether there was blood in sweat or not, he was at the highest level of angony adn distress possible, yet resisted. There was emotional and physical torment in the resisting, whether it meant there was blood or not is reather secondary. And as said that was a bit of distraction.

  415. Craig says:

    I have 2 references I can check once I get home – one by Darrell Bock and one by John Nolland. I’ll post the results then.

  416. matt says:

    Matthew 26:41 “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 12:38)

    That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)

    who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

    I wouldn’t say the flesh is evil. I’m saying when the flesh leads it becomes evil. The flesh is a tool to be used to further the Kingdom. It really doesn not become evil until it leads. When the Spirit leads it then it is Godly. The Spirit of God of course. Just like the carnal mind is at enmity with God but a spirtual mind is life and peace. (Romans 8:6) One sense the mind is good and in the other bad. It is all according to the focus. When the flesh gives obedience to God it is awesome. When the flesh seeks its own it becomes evil. It all really comes down to submission.

    Example the Spirit(Holy Spirit) lead Christ into the wildnerness. Christ became hungry(flesh) and normal reaction to going without eating. Christ was led not to eat so, being tempted to eat in the (flesh), He submited Himself to the Father’s will as directed by the Holy Spirit and did not eat. He did not allow His flesh to communicate with His Spirit and lead Him to disobedience simply because He hungered. His Spirit(Christ Spirit) submitted to God until God told Him that He could now eat. He proved the flesh did not master Him but He mastered the flesh. His divine nature as the Son of God communicated to the flesh, I’m boss. Not by might or by power but by my Spirit says the Lord. I think that verse could apply to the situation. It wasn’t by a glorified flesh that knows no hunger, but by a flesh that did hunger. Still made submissive by the Spirit of Christ and perfectly sinless from conception.

    Just like in my life. God gave me a sex drive(flesh) for reproduction. Not a bad thing. God said,” Be fruitful and multiply” and the moment He said so, sex and sexual drive came. Then God said,”It is good!!!” Extra exclamation points my own. Sex is not bad when used in the right way to further the relationship I have with my wife and reproduce. Now if I simply lived based on my sex drive (flesh) without restraining it out of love(spirit) for my wife it can cause all kinds of bad problems in my life. I recognize that love creates barriers to protect relationship.

    Flesh makes a good slave but a horrible master. Hope that clarifies my view point. No I have never heard anyone talk about this the way I do. It is more my own way to relate to Scripture. My belief on tithing sorda makes me not the most welcome guest at NAR related functions.

  417. matt says:

    Craig,

    – As far as John 1:51 “not long from now you will see angels ascend and descend on the Son of Man” I believe this references Jacob’s latter Genesis 28:12. Jesus was saying He was Jacob’s latter. I see the sacrafice as the Son of Man, as we needed a perfect man to atone for man. Because of Christ death in bodily(Son of Man) form He made a way through His blood for us to access heaven. Colossians 1:20 “and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” His body then became the access or latter between heaven and earth and bridged the chasm for us. It was the flesh sacrafice and blood of the Son of Man that could only be done because He was the Son of God.
    - John 6:27 “but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you” Again the cross or what Christ did in the flesh as a man born to a woman give us our substance. The cross guarantees us eternal life through faith in the Son of God. Please tell me what you think about these ideas.

  418. Craig says:

    I can’t give my full attention to this, but on first blush I’d agree. But, Son of Man is merely one designation – and it seems to have been Jesus’ favorite self-designation – but keep in mind that “Son of Man” does not equal solely the flesh side of Jesus which is what it seems you are construing.

    But, yes, it all comes back to the Cross and for proper Atonement to be made the requirements were an unblemished man. Since, of course, there were and never will be a sinless man; Jesus came to be the Perfect Sacrifice, once for all.

  419. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,

    Thank you for taking the time to give me a thoughtful reply.

    I think, though, that you are creating a false dichotomy between spirit and flesh.

    It is true that the word “flesh” is often equated in scripture with our fallen sinful nature. However, it in no way is equated with being human. This might sound contradictory, and I’m not sure if I can explain this very well, but I will try.

    To be human doesn’t mean fallen. If it did, then you would be right in saying that the fact that Jesus was human meant that He would have to rely on His fully God part or rely on another member of the Trinity.

    What I’m trying to say is that human nature was created good. Therefore, evil is not part of the definition of what it means to be human.

    However, Adam and Eve did sin, and thus for every human since then (except for Jesus), being human meant that we were sinful. This isn’t really a definition of humanity or being made of flesh, but rather reflects the human condition.

    Jesus was human, but was without sin. He was without original sin. Thus, in His human nature, He was humanity as God intended it to be. To say that He was made of flesh doesn’t mean that He was sinful.

    Does this make any sense?

    It seems that you are still struggling to see that Jesus was born without original sin. He had no sinful nature….He had no tendency towards sin.

    For the rest of us, we are weak towards sin because of our sinful nature…because of original sin.

    You used John 3:6, which is talking about being born again. Jesus didn’t need to be born again because He was sinless.

    It is true that if our sinful nature leads, then we fall into sin. However, this was not a problem for Jesus. Jesus’ human nature was without sin — not because He was relying on the Holy Spirit, but because He didn’t have original sin. Jesus had no carnal mind.

    But Jesus did yield to the Father. If He didn’t, He would have been sinning. So…Jesus did submit to the Father.

    Being hungry does not equate with “the flesh.” Yes, as a human being, Jesus was hungry. I respectfully disagree with you about the purpose of the wilderness experience. Satan came along and temped Him several times — temped Him to disobey God. Satan tried to get Jesus to sin via a very similar method that he had used on Eve. I don’t think the purpose of the wilderness was to conquer His flesh (seeing how I don’t believe that Jesus had original sin), but rather to be tempted by Satan and to resist him. This might sound like the same thing to you, but there is a little difference.

    Since I don’t believe that Jesus’ human nature was sinful, I don’t believe that the issue was His human nature trying to say that it was the boss. It wasn’t the Holy Spirit vs. the human nature of Jesus that was battling. Rather, it was Satan vs. Jesus — the whole person of Jesus (100% man and 100% God, both natures in one person).

    You have to be careful because you’re dangerously close to the gnostic view about flesh vs. spirit.

  420. matt says:

    Arwen4CJ,
    The problem I find with all heresy is that it has degrees of truth. The problem is it pushes things to extremes. You see this in extreme Grace(I hate that term as all grace is extreme) but you see what I’m saying. Then you go to legalism. All truth will have tension. I think the problem is something getting pulled to one extreme or another.

    Take for instance my statement love creates boundaries to protect relationship. Some could construe that as re-establishing law. However it is where the law comes from that dictates legalism vs. spirit led living. Legalism is establishing law in an attempt to produce righteousness. The other is the Spirit of Love(God) leading to establish boundaries as a mean to protect relationship. You can really find what would appear to be Grace and Law in my statement the trick is Grace always comes from relationship. Grace that is turned into law is no grace at all. Grace is relationship with the Almighty through the Cross.

    -What is your definition of 100% man if it didn’t mean He experienced all the same pulls of the human nature as we do?
    -What did it mean Jesus overcame the world? In what way? Was it not overcoming the temptations we are all tempted with? In his hunger He refused to eat. In His fear in the flesh He refused to compromise. He drank the cup the Father gave Him. In that He gave us the perfect example and now we can be reassured that the same Spirit that dwelt in Christ lives in us. That through Him we can overcome. We simply need to submit to God as Christ did and the Devil will flee from you. (James 4:7)

    I believe Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He did not take away from His divinity He added to it. Great is the mystery of His incarnation.

  421. Craig says:

    Be careful here. Jesus was/is part of the Triune Godhead. When He submitted to the Father He did so in subordinate relationship as part of the Trinitarian ‘family.’ As the unique God-man (I’m using a convention here with “God-man”) Jesus Christ defeated Satan by not succumbing to the Devil’s temptations to circumvent the Cross.

    We submit to God, the Trinitarian God, and the Devil will flee from us.

  422. Craig says:

    matt,

    You wrote, “I believe Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He did not take away from His divinity He added to it. Great is the mystery of His incarnation.

    A hearty AMEN to that! Now, given your statement, would you be willing to concede that this is not what Bill Johnson is teaching?

  423. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,
    You wrote:
    “The problem I find with all heresy is that it has degrees of truth. The problem is it pushes things to extremes. You see this in extreme Grace(I hate that term as all grace is extreme) but you see what I’m saying. Then you go to legalism. All truth will have tension. I think the problem is something getting pulled to one extreme or another.”

    My response:
    That’s exactly the point. I’ve heard it said that heresy is 90% truth and 10% error. It’s the 10% error that is the problem. There is truth in all false teaching, including heresy. Why? Because if it had no truth to it, no one would fall for it.

    It is true that discussions about theology can push things to extremes in the conversation, but sometimes that has to be done in order to uncover the falsehood.

    I care about theology. Why? Because if we’re told to hold to sound doctrine, and also…if we don’t hold to sound theology more and more error eventually creeps in. Beliefs about Jesus are central to the Christian faith. If people have the wrong view of Jesus, then that error shows up again in beliefs about the atonement, and thus can lead to a false gospel.

    There are some matters of faith that are not essential issues, and differences don’t matter as much. However, when it comes to Jesus and His work on the cross, we really need to really watch our doctrine so that we are not believing in a false Jesus or a false gospel.

    Yes, there is tension between two extremes, and yes…we need to be careful we don’t go one way or the other.

    You wrote:
    “-What is your definition of 100% man if it didn’t mean He experienced all the same pulls of the human nature as we do?”

    My response:
    Jesus was human — He became one of our species. He wasn’t just half human or 75% human or whatever. He was fully human. He was just like Adam was before Adam fell — didn’t have a tendency towards sin. This does NOT mean that He didn’t experience temptation. He did. He had to face temptation. I don’t know what that exactly looked like or felt like, as I have original sin. But He was tempted by Satan in the garden, and would have been at other times.

    You wrote:
    “-What did it mean Jesus overcame the world? In what way? Was it not overcoming the temptations we are all tempted with? In his hunger He refused to eat. In His fear in the flesh He refused to compromise. He drank the cup the Father gave Him. In that He gave us the perfect example and now we can be reassured that the same Spirit that dwelt in Christ lives in us. That through Him we can overcome. We simply need to submit to God as Christ did and the Devil will flee from you. (James 4:7)”

    My response:
    Jesus did overcome sin — He lived His life perfectly on Earth, without any sin whatsoever. But He did more than just this — He became the perfect sacrifice and took the punishment that we deserved upon Himself and died n our place. Humanity’s main problem is sin — our rebellion against God. Jesus offers us complete forgiveness for our sin. He bought us with His blood. He is the ultimate conqueror. He also defeated Satan and conquered death. Jesus wasn’t just an example for us, but He is our Savior and Lord and King. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is the one whom all glory and devotion is due.

    The problem is that we can’t just submit to God as Christ did. Jesus didn’t get rid of our sinful nature on the cross, but rather paid for us. Our sinful nature is still a part of us, we can rely on the Holy Spirit…but we’re still going to sin.

    (I’m guessing by saying “That through Him we can overcome. We simply need to submit to God as Christ did and the Devil will flee from you,” you meant that we can live a sin free life, given what you said about Jesus overcoming the world. Please correct me if I’m wrong about what you think).

    Jesus’ death was all about our redemption and His grace.

    Thank you for taking the time to engage with me in discussion. Sometimes when we discuss things with other Christians it helps clarify our own views, and can sometimes help us understand each other. It can show where there is disagreement, but also clear up misunderstandings.

  424. Craig says:

    I would like to add that the theological term for Jesus’ humanity is that while He was fully human, He was not ‘merely’ human. That is, His humanity could not have been as a sort of ‘chasis’ for another human soul to fill. He was made unique and without the inherent sin nature we all have.

    The problem is that we can’t just submit to God as Christ did. Jesus didn’t get rid of our sinful nature on the cross, but rather paid for us. Our sinful nature is still a part of us, we can rely on the Holy Spirit…but we’re still going to sin.

    This is very important and contrary to Bill Johnson:

    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 [WHIE p 110]

    This is referenced in the “Sinless at the Other Side of the Cross” section of Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, part II

    This is part of the “resurrection life” Johnson speaks of – the other side of the Cross.

  425. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ Craig,

    you wrote:
    “Be careful here. Jesus was/is part of the Triune Godhead. When He submitted to the Father He did so in subordinate relationship as part of the Trinitarian ‘family.’ As the unique God-man (I’m using a convention here with “God-man”) Jesus Christ defeated Satan by not succumbing to the Devil’s temptations to circumvent the Cross.

    We submit to God, the Trinitarian God, and the Devil will flee from us.”

    My response:
    Oh…wow…you did a much better job of answering that then I did. “Jesus Christ defeated Satan by not succumbing to the Devil’s temptations to circumvent the Cross.” Yes!!!

    And the first part of what you said — Amen to that as well.

  426. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,

    It’s foundational that we understand that Jesus was 100% man and 100% God in the incarnation. According to what you said above, you affirm that to be the case.

    It’s also foundational to understand that Jesus had no original sin, but we do. Why? Because that makes Jesus sinless, and it shows our need for God to save us. Jesus didn’t need to be saved because He was without sin.

    It’s also important to understand that, at the incarnation, Jesus didn’t lay down any of His powers as God.

    Then, we need to understand the centrality of the cross and what it all means. It wasn’t an event that took place so that we could perform miracles and be a mini-Jesus, taking the world back for God. (Johnson seems to teach that this was the purpose of the cross).

    Johnson clearly teaches that Jesus did not have any God powers while He lived on this Earth. He then seems to teach that we can walk in signs and wonders and be just like Jesus — in every way. The reason he gets away with doing that in his theology is because he rendered Jesus powerless while on Earth, saying that He relied completely on the Holy Spirit and the Father. It follows, then, in his teachings, that we can be just like Jesus and be exactly like Him. This leads right into the Manifest Sons of God teaching.

    However, if Jesus didn’t strip Himself of His powers as deity during the incarnation, all the rest of Bill Johnson’s theology unravels.

  427. Craig says:

    Peacebringer,

    I know the Luke 22:44 passage was not a central part of your discussion; but, since we’ve discussed and I promised to get back with you, here’s what I’ve found.

    The sources I used were John Nolland [Word Biblical Commentary 35C, 1993, Nelson Reference & Electronic], Darrell Bock [Exegetical Commentary on the NT: 9:51-24:53, 1996, Baker], Craig A. Evans [New International Biblical Commentary, 1990, Hendrickson] and NIV Study Bible [1995, Zondervan].

    All note that some early manuscripts do not have vv 43-44. The NIV, in reference to “drops of blood” states, Probably perspiration in large drops like blood, or possibly hematidrosis, the actual mingling of blood and sweat as in cases of extreme anguish, strain or sensitivity.

    While Nolland [p 1084] has commentary on vv 43-44, he puts it all in brackets and does not elaborate much. He states there are good arguments for and against inclusion in the canon. Noting that Luke essentially keeps the emotionalism out of the account in the Garden of Gethsemane, Nolland states he “excluded them primarily on the emotional tone of the verses…” [1080-81]. Bock [1754-55] presents a more mediating view and keeps the verses within the commentary proper but pronounces the ‘sweat as blood’ as metaphorical rather than actual [1761]. Evans [323] states, “Some manuscripts insert vv 43-44 here, which surely reflects an early Christian scribe’s desire to show an immediate and dramatic answer to Jesus’ prayer.”

  428. matt says:

    When quoting submit to God and the devil will flee I’m simply quoting James 4:7. (Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.) Not saying we are perfect or sinless after faith. Overcoming sometimes is a process of learning not to trust myself and to trust God in my weaknesses. This is not stating perfection. More Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again. More an attitude, a belief, a hope against hope that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Not a confession of perfection. A confession that my imperfections no longer have the ability to seperate me from the Father’s love because sin has been dealt with. I can fall and get back up and not come under curses. I got room to grow up and not have it all together. Perfect love cast out fear because fear has to do with punishment. I get rest. I get family the family of God.

  429. Craig says:

    matt,

    It wasn’t that you quoted James 4:17 it’s that you equated how we submit to God with Jesus’ submission to the Father. I contend that it’s not the same thing.

  430. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,

    You wrote:
    “Not saying we are perfect or sinless after faith. Overcoming sometimes is a process of learning not to trust myself and to trust God in my weaknesses. This is not stating perfection. More Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again. More an attitude, a belief, a hope against hope that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Not a confession of perfection. A confession that my imperfections no longer have the ability to seperate me from the Father’s love because sin has been dealt with. I can fall and get back up and not come under curses. I got room to grow up and not have it all together. Perfect love cast out fear because fear has to do with punishment. I get rest. I get family the family of God.”

    Awesome.

    Then, are you aware that Bill Johnson goes against what you just wrote? See what Craig wrote above [at 7:17], in quoting Johnson…

  431. matt says:

    Arwen4CJ,
    Interesting I didn’t know Johnson stated that. I’ll have to prayerfully research it. I already know however that Johnson has plenty of beliefs that are vastly different from my own. He could be right in some I could be wrong on others and vice versa. I don’t expect everybody to have it all together. My interest is someone’s intentions, and where their fatih for their salvation rest. Does it rest in their efforts or with God’s effort. I’ve still not reached a conclusion. It doesn’t matter to his salvation what conclusion I make though. It is up to God and only God can truly see his heart. For now I consider him a brother in the Lord.

    May be off here for a few days. I’ll holla at you all in a little bit. Thanks for hearing me out, means a lot.

  432. Craig says:

    Martin and matt,

    I have recommended Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology previously; and, while I still highly recommend it, there’s a shorter version which I’ve just been made aware:

    http://www.christianbook.com/bible-doctrine-wayne-grudem/9780310222330/pd/22338/1262928160?item_code=WW&netp_id=118054&event=ESRCG&view=details

    At 450 pages it is much shorter than the 1200 page systematic. Of course, it’s a bit less expensive as well. While I don’t have a copy, it does get good ratings in both Christian Book.

  433. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,
    Yes, prayerfully researching this would be very important. I’ve read a few testimonies from people who were associated with Bethel, most of them attending his school. Several of them stated that one of the most prominent things they are taught is that they can no longer sin (or no longer have the ability to — something along those lines), now that they are Christian. For this reason, I’m assuming that it is a major doctrinal point of Bethel and of Bill Johnson. He does mention it in his book, as Craig quoted above.

    While, yes, there are some good things that Johnson says — I do believe that spiritual gifts are for today, too…and I do think that people should take risks for Christ, and it does seem that Johnson has a deep passion…but Johnson’s teachings are very skewed by the false stuff. Some people say that we should chew the meat and spit out the bones. I strongly disagree.

    I would much rather eat boneless meat. There are hundreds of Christian authors out there. There are probably biblically sound authors that make the same good points that Johnson makes, without having to weed out all the false doctrine.

    If you want to read a book that inspires passion in following Christ, read John Piper’s book “Don’t Waste Your Life.”

    If you want a book that integrates beliefs in the spiritual gifts with Christianity, read Rich Nathan’s book “Empowered Evangelicals.” J.I. Packer wrote the forward to that book (at least the first edition, which is the one I have.)

    If you want to read a book about Knowing God, read J.I. Packer’s “Knowing God” book.

    Jerry Bridges is also good.

    For personal growth, read Robert McGee’s “Search For Significance.”

    If you need help on a certain issue, read things by Paul David Tripp, Ed Welch, David Powlison, etc.

    If you want to read about marriage and relationships, read anything by Gary Chapman or H. Norman Wright.

    If you want to read about spiritual warfare, read Chip Ingram’s “The Invisible War.”

    If you were a woman, I’d recommend Elizabeth George and Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

    Which reminds me, Nancy Leigh DeMoss is good on the topic of Forgiveness.

    There are other solid Christian authors out there, too…but what I’ve listed here is a start. In general, I think it’s better to be more widely read — to read books by several Christian authors, rather than to focus on just one or people who only associate with each other. That’s just my take — it gives you a wider range of Christian writings, and if one of your authors is a heretic, hopefully you will see that when you read the writings of other people.

    Oh…and of interest, Wayne Grudem was in the Vineyard for a while. I don’t know if he still is. But, like Rich Nathan, he would believe that spiritual gifts are for today. If you read theology books by him, he would be supportive of spiritual gifts — but he wouldn’t overemphasize them. I haven’t read his theology books, but I’m pretty sure that the spiritual gifts would just be a minor point, and that the major points would center on Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, and His resurrection. He should be solid. :)

  434. Craig says:

    I agree that it’s good to read books from orthodox Christians of differing persuasions. On this site I quote from various sources whether Dispensational, Reformed, etc. John MacArthur has some good things to say, but since he’s a cessationist and an adherent to a pre-trib Rapture I disagree with him on those points.

    Even though I recommend Grudem, I don’t necessarily agree with everything he writes. However, his systematic is one of the easier to understand. Having said this, a caveat: Grudem endorsed the Mike Bickle/Sam Storms’ Grace Training Center as evidenced in the back of a few of Bickle’s books. He may well have done so on the strength of Storms without knowing much about Bickle’s history/theology.

    Also, Arwen4CJ, I know you promote the Vineyard; but, I have some reservations there as it was Wimber who brought the “apostolic/prophetic” into the Vineyard via Paul Cain and Mike Bickle. The two most recent articles on CrossWise here go into that. This is not to say all Vineyards are bad, of course.

  435. peacebringer says:

    Hey Craig,
    SOrry didn’t back to you sooner. I had actually writter response, hadn’t signed in and so lost my response and had trouble getting motivated to write it again.

    The information referenced comes off to me as an “academic” approach. Doing a bit more examination there is questions r/t text as some scribes included, some didn’t, some asteriked it doubting the authenticity. Perhaps because of it talking about an angel minestering and who would have witnessed that and sweat looking like blood seemed unusal. Facts, there is a medical condition of extreme stress. Hebrews passage reference resistance to the point of shedding blood. So I tend to believe God puts forth that which he wants us to understand. Now whether it got to point of sweat mixed with blood or just extreme sweat, the point is that it is the apex of stress. Jesus was as stressed as possible, obdience was difficulty, even for him as it involved such extreme endurance. In my battles with temptation, my self can buckle well before that point. As the rest of us.

    So while it is interesting the textual criticisms and examinations and helpful to understanding accurately what is to be rendered, the essential point is the same unless you believe the text was not authentic, but writter of Hebrews certainly did.

  436. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ Craig,

    you wrote:
    “Also, Arwen4CJ, I know you promote the Vineyard; but, I have some reservations there as it was Wimber who brought the “apostolic/prophetic” into the Vineyard via Paul Cain and Mike Bickle. The two most recent articles on CrossWise here go into that. This is not to say all Vineyards are bad, of course.”

    My response: Although I support Vineyard, I do not support all of them. John Wimber died before I got involved, so I don’t really have much to say about him….although I don’t like it that he brought the false stuff into Vineyard. I think he definitely made some mistakes. I”m not a Wimber fan.

    I like the stuff that Vineyard is supposed to uphold — the Bible, reaching out to the community, growing in faith, small groups, worship, etc. I like some Vineyard leaders, such as Rich Nathan and the old pastor from River Valley Vineyard. I support any Vineyard that teaches sound theology, and I oppose any Vineyard that has NAR stuff.

    I don’t know…maybe some day I will find a denomination that has mostly churches in it that I agree with.

    That’s been the hardest thing — to find a church that actually preaches the gospel and has orthodox theology, where people value the Bible take it seriously, encourage people to grow in their faith, that really values worship (like I said, contemporary worship style is where I feel I can truly worship God), and one that seeks to reach out to the community that it is involved in. I like small groups or a setting in which I can talk to people about faith. I want all of this in a church, but I don’t want any of the NAR garbage.

    So far, Vineyard is the closest that I’ve found — but there are also a lot of NAR Vineyard churches as well :(

  437. Arwen4CJ says:

    I want authentic Christianity — that is what I’m after. I don’t care what denomination or church it is in. I just happen to have found it at a couple of Vineyards — but then that authentic faith is lacking in other Vineyards…some of it is creeping into the church at home. :(

    Why is it so hard to find a good church these days?

    If the United Methodist Church would get back to its roots, I probably would be all right in that denomination, but so many of the UMC churches are like the one that I grew up in.

    I want to go somewhere where people are on fire for Jesus, but in the right way — not chasing after manifestations, signs, wonders, etc.

  438. Craig says:

    You’re not alone. There are others out there who are now without a church. If you find that you are without a church, you could try (assuming you have one or more) a local Christian publication in which you could place an ad expressing your desires and perhaps find small group.

  439. matt says:

    Looking into this subject has definitely been an interesting journey. Just found this verse and realized this is where the whole debate originated (Philippians 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.) I didn’t realize the Greek word for empty was Kenoo or something simiar.

    Could someone explain to me the difference between ontological kenosis and functional kenosis or point me to some good internet based info. Thanks!

  440. Craig says:

    matt,

    Well, you could start by reading the information right here on CrossWise:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-i/

    “Kenosis comes from the Greek verb transliterated kenoo rendered “to make empty” [Phil 2:7]; “destroy;” “render void, of no effect” [I Cor 1:17, 9:15; Romans 4:14]; “deprive of (its) justification” [2 Cor 9:3].1 This word is used only five times in the NT. The Kenosis theory is largely derived from a peculiar exposition of Philippians 2:7…”

    Further on in the article:

    “This brings us to a subtler form of kenosis known as functional or functionalist kenosis.49 Adherents claim the Logos retained all divine attributes; however, the ‘omni’ traits (omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence) were not utilized during the Incarnation as these were voluntarily ‘put aside.’ [Other views may claim even more attributes were voluntarily unutilized yet still present.] Jesus Christ still had the ability to use all His divine traits yet consciously chose not to exercise these attributes while incarnate.50

    “There are other variations of functionalist kenosis;51 however, they all suffer from the same inherent problem as Oliver Crisp remarks in Divinity and Humanity:

    “…The functionalist account…still requires too much of the traditional understanding of God and the Incarnation to be given up. Withholding the exercise of certain divine attributes for the duration of the Incarnation implies a real change in the Word from his preincarnate to his incarnate state that is monumental…” 52

    “Crisp goes on to assert that the complete non-exercise of any divine trait amounts to a denial of immutability, traditionally an essential aspect of divinity,53 which would, of course, contradict Hebrews 13:8 [and Heb 1:12; Psa 102:27]. Also, for the second person of the Trinity to cease using His omnipotence would mean the cosmos would no longer be sustained [Col 1:17; Heb 1:3].54

    You can view part of Crisp’s book on google books:

    http://books.google.ms/books?id=sNUFIgrmmAYC&pg=PA152&dq=functionalist+kenosis&hl=en&ei=WznKTrDjIKy_2QXx1439Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=functionalist%20kenosis&f=false

    However, many of the pertinent pages are not shown in the preview.

    The theory in functional(ist) kenosis is that Jesus retained all of His divine attributes, yet He did not use any of the ‘omni’ traits (omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience – and possibly others were not utilized) during His earthly life relying instead on the Holy Spirit to perform all His miracles. Ontological kenosis goes further. With this theory, Jesus actually divested Himself of all His ‘omni’ attributes (and impeccability – sinlessness or inability to sin, and possibly others) leaving Him without the capability to do any miracles even if He wanted.

    The first chapter of Crisp’s book was initially published in a Tyndale Bulletin and is available in full here:

    http://tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/library/TynBull_2005_56_1_07_Crisp_PerichoersisProblems.pdf

    I caution you that this one is a bit deep. However, Crisp makes a very important point with respect to how Jesus performed His miracles which is also quoted in the above CrossWise article:

    “It could be argued that it is the Holy Spirit that enables the human nature of Christ to perform miracles, rather than Christ’s divine nature, if, say, the divine nature of Christ is not thought to act in and through the human nature of Christ in this way [via nature-perichoresis] during the Incarnation. But this is not a conventional view of the means by which Christ was able to perform miracles. A conventional view would claim that Christ was able to perform miracles in virtue of the action of his divine nature in and through his human nature in the hypostatic union.” 48

    For more on kenosis, read this link (also referenced in the above CrossWise article):

    http://kenosis.info/index.shtml#Introduction

  441. Mike Ward says:

    Bill’s statement of Jesus laying aside his deity is not unique to him. Jack Hayford made a similar remark some years ago in a televised sermon. I find both statements to be accurate and encouraging to true believers. Jesus performed his miracles as a man filled with the Spirit of God rather than using his deity to accomplish what He did. Jesus said, “These things and greater will you do…” If it was Christ’s deity that provides healing and miracles, we will never measure up. If we do them because of the power of His Spirit within us, we should open ourselves up to receive as the early church did and see lives changed by the power He has afforded us.

    I have not listed any associated scripture because they’re all there for the youngest believer to discover with little coaching.

  442. Craig says:

    Mike,

    Your timing is good as I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my newest post Greater Works Shall You Do. It has quite a bit of Scripture references and reputable commentaries to refute Bill Johnson’s “greater works” claim: that Jesus’ miracles, signs and wonders are to be eclipsed.

    I’m not surprised that Hayford would make a similar remark re: Jesus ‘laid his deity aside’ as he’s part and parcel to the Latter Rain movement. He was the one who suggested we take the Gamaliel approach [Acts 6:33-39] to Bentley/Lakeland, i.e., “if it’s of God it will not be stopped; if it’s of man it will fail.” Using that approach, it seems that the LDS church and Jehovah’s Witnesses are from God. Obviously, that’s a very poor approach to take. Much better if we measure things by the plumbline of Scripture.

  443. Mike Ward says:

    To compare the idea that “greater works” would align Bill Johnson or Jack Hayford with LDS or JW’s is a stretch. What’s to say that greater means numerically? Jesus was limited by His humanity in time and space. He could only be in one place at a time. He shared the same limitations of the rest of mankind. Yet, He put His Spirit within us and multiplied Himself for the sake of the lost. We are not God, but He lives in us and wants us to bring His Kingdom wherever we go. This isn’t rocket science and certainly not heresy.

  444. Craig says:

    Mike,

    You miss the point. I was comparing Hayford’s ‘Gamaliel’ approach to JDS and JWs.

    I presume you’ve not read the “Greater Works Shall We Do” post I referenced above which shows that Jesus did, in fact, do the miraculous as God and not a Spirit-filled man and that greater does not mean numerically greater. Yes, the greater in the context of John 14:12 (and 5:20 and 1:50) is greater in quality; however, Jesus is not speaking of signs and wonders.

    Yes, Jesus in His physical body was limited in physical location obviously, yet the Logos, His deity, was not constrained within the physical confines of Jesus’ earthly body and remained omnipresent. This is how He was able to sustain the cosmos while incarnate:

    1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. [Hebrews 1:1-3, NIV 1984]

    Jesus was “the exact representation” of the Father, i.e., He was fully divine. And, here we see that He is “the image of the invisible God” and “all [God's] fullness” dwelt in Him”:

    15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. [Colossians 1:15-20, NIV 1984]

    Again, all things hold together in him. The verb tense indicates a continuing sustaining of “all things” which illustrates He did this during His earthly ministry as well.

    You wrote, “…He put His Spirit within us and multiplied Himself for the sake of the lost.” Yes, I’ll certainly agree with that. I do think you’d benefit by reading the article I referenced above.

  445. Mike Ward says:

    Neither my remarks nor Bill Johnson’s are in conflict with the above mentioned passages. We don’t eclipse the works of Jesus; we build upon them. It’s the idea that the ceiling of the apostles and prophets (foundation) becomes our floor. Are we to settle on the miracles that Jesus performed and say “That’s all there is”? Or are we to (as shown in Mark 16:15-18) perform the works of the Christ that we “believe” in?

  446. Craig says:

    Claiming Jesus “laid His deity aside” does, in fact, contradict the above mentioned verses. How can non-deity sustain the cosmos? Johnson specifically states that Jesus had “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” [p29 WHIE] meaning quite clearly that, according to Johnson, Jesus lacked all the ‘omni’ traits: omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.

    Again, Jesus is not speaking of greater signs and wonders in John 14:12.

    The Christian life is not about performing great signs and wonders; it’s about winning souls to Christ by preaching the true Gospel:

    The greatest miracle of all is the changed hearts of individuals as they transition from eternal death to eternal life by the acceptance of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ: by believing and confessing that Christ died on the Cross in propitiation for the collective sins of mankind, was raised from the dead, and by acknowledging individual inherent sinfulness and subsequently repenting, one is spared God’s eternal wrath passing from death to everlasting life.

    These are the “greater works” of which Christ refers. Whether or not there are any attendant signs and wonders is not the point.

    We must keep in mind Jesus words in the Sermon on the Mount:

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ [Matthew 7:21-23 NASB]

    See post here: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/look-at-the-fruit/

  447. Mike Ward says:

    I cannot nor do I want to convince you of this. I would prefer that scripture might but maybe not.

    If God were to do a miracle in your life like raise a family member or friend from the dead, would you reject it and call it a work of satan? That is a very fearful place to be.

  448. Craig says:

    Mike,

    Again, you misunderstand. God can and does do miracles. I’ve not once denied this; and, I’m not a cessationist (call me a very cautious continuationist, I suppose). What I’m denying is Johnson’s claim that Jesus did all His works by the power of the Spirit (contrary to Scripture) and that we can do even greater signs and wonders than Jesus by the power of the Spirit using John 14:12 as proof-text (again contrary to Scripture when put in its proper context).

    But, yet Satan has done [Exodus 7:10-12; Job 1-2] and will continue to do signs and wonders to deceive the elect, if possible (Matt 24:24):

    9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. [2 Thess 2:9-12 NIV 1984]

    Does Johnson love the truth? It seems he de-divinizes Jesus turning Him into “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4) and turns the Gospel into a signs and wonders gospel (“another gospel” – 2 Cor 11:4). Johnson also claims that God heals everyone which truly defies logic. First of all, Johnson himself has had some physical ailments and currently wears glasses while his son Eric remains deaf. The logical conclusion to belief in perpetual healing is that those (with enough faith, presumably) who adhere to this doctrine should never die for even death should be “healed”. How did that work for E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth E. Hagin and Hobart Freeman? With all the claimed healings at Bethel why hasn’t Bill Johnson (or Bentley, etc.) offered to heal Doris Wagner who has been sick for quite a while and C. Peter Wagner who is also sick? There have been a number of individuals in the hyper-charismatic realm who have passed away. Why hasn’t someone raised any of these from the dead?

    Every single claim of dead raising has not been verified – including those Bethel claimed in Brazil. Could God raise the dead? Absolutely! Do I believe any of these dead raising claims from individuals who have de-divinized Jesus? Absolutely not.

    So, going back to the subject of this article: do you still believe that Jesus “laid His divinity aside” in contradiction to Scripture?

  449. Mike Ward says:

    Thanks for your comments. Bill’s father died of cancer but he did not readjust his theology because his dad wasn’t healed. Not everyone gets healed. People do in fact die of disease or in accidents. We don’t quit believing in the fact that God does what His Word says. Not everyone has a “more abundant” life but it’s available if we accept it.

    The apostles didn’t have deity to depend on just the Holy Spirit of God working His works within them. Jesus was and is good with that in my opinion.

    I don’t think that God is uncomfortable with Bill’s remarks in WHIE. The reason being; he always gives glory to God for the miracles that occur. People who are doing the “stuff” seem to always become targets for the ones who aren’t. How unfortunate that supposed “christians” won’t rally around the goodness of God and give Him praise when healings and miracles take place. It saddens me greatly.

  450. Craig says:

    Mike,

    You make my point. Johnson emphatically states that GOD always wants to heal which also runs contrary to Hebrews 12:4-11 and other Scripture. And, again the logical conclusion on a doctrine of perpetual healing is escape from death.

    You wrote, “We don’t quit believing in the fact that God does what His Word says. Not everyone has a “more abundant” life but it’s available if we accept it.”

    And, what Scripture are referring to in the first sentence? As for “abundant life”: what of all the first century apostles (save for John) who were martyred? What of all the Christians throughout the centuries who were tortured and martyred? And, what about the Apostle Paul’s eye problems as evidenced throughout Galatians? Did he not have enough faith to effect a cure? And, what of that “thorn in the flesh”? Whether it was sickness or not, we have to recognize that God did not alleviate it. Would you say that negates an “abundant life” for Paul?

    You wrote, “The apostles didn’t have deity to depend on just the Holy Spirit of God working His works within them.” Yes, and so do we. The purpose is to bring forth salvation. Signs and wonders are secondary, if present at all.

    You wrote, “I don’t think that God is uncomfortable with Bill’s remarks in WHIE. The reason being; he always gives glory to God for the miracles that occur.” Jesus was God Incarnate with ALL His divine traits intact. To deny this is to deny Jesus Christ. With a de-divinized Jesus, i.e. a different Jesus [2 Cor 11:4] and a different gospel [2 Cor 11:4], how does this make Johnson any different than Mormons or JWs when they give glory to their god? Even Santeria and Eastern religions, etc. claim healings. While there are some bonafide miraculous healings (I myself have been healed of knee degeneration), we don’t look to the healings as evidence of orthodoxy, we look to orthodoxy first. God will not be mocked. But, He will send a “strong delusion” to those who “refuse to love the truth” [2 Thess 2:9-12].

    You wrote, “People who are doing the “stuff” seem to always become targets for the ones who aren’t. How unfortunate that supposed “christians” won’t rally around the goodness of God and give Him praise when healings and miracles take place.” Again, miracles signs and wonders can be imitated by the enemy – that is, if these “healings” are legitimate and not “exaggerated.” I can tell you, I praised God when my miracle occurred (and I know of others who have been healed). But, I remain highly skeptical of any “healings” coming out of Bethel, just like I did with Lakeland.

  451. Mike Ward says:

    You misinterpret my remarks. God does want us to be healed. He also wants us to be saved. “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” However not all get saved nor do they get healed. Why do we think that because some don’t get healed, God doesn’t want all to be healed. This goes into the man’s will vs. God’s will argument.

  452. Craig says:

    So, then 1) Why wasn’t Paul healed of his eye troubles and the “thorn in the flesh”; 2) why did Paul die?

  453. Mike Ward says:

    If I could answer that, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I don’t know, but God still heals and He still wants us to be healed. You tell me.

  454. Craig says:

    My point is to illustrate that God does not heal all people all the time. In fact, as far as physical healing VERY FEW have been fully healed as there have been scant few who were translated/raptured and hence not physically dying with death being the ultimate in not being healed.

    What Scripture(s) can you cite that state(s) God wants us always to be healed?

  455. matt says:

    Craig,
    Do you think God created sickness?

  456. Craig says:

    matt,

    No. Nor did God create evil. However, He allows both.

    67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I obey your word.
    [Psalm 119:67; NIV 1984]

    71 It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.
    [Psalm 119:71]

    75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,
    and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
    [Psalm 119:75]

    God has a purpose in sickness.

    7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. [2 Corinthians 12:7, NIV 1984]

    Whether Paul’s thorn is sickness or not, it is clear that God is using the thorn to keep Paul from “becoming conceited”.

  457. peacebringer says:

    Surprised at the question and Craig’s response.
    Short answer did God create sickness. The answer is yes. As God created all. Now does this mean God is horrible and awful for allowing suffering. By no means. Suffering comes initially from being apart from God’s will. Suffering=the Curse. suffering=entropy. Suffering comes from the initial out of alignment with God’s created intent.

    This is difficult to understand and grasp but simple. The simple is God inidcated if departe from me there are consequences. All that is death.

    Let me ask each of you, do you think Satan created suffering? Such a few comes with same mindset that demons/satan rule hell and inflict torment. This is bad theology.

    Suffering comes as result of fall. Not got time to go further, but do feel free to show how this is not so.

  458. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    Did God create evil or does God allow evil? See here:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/did-God-create-evil.html

    At first it might seem that if God created all things, then evil must have been created by God. However, evil is not a “thing” like a rock or electricity. You cannot have a jar of evil. Evil has no existence of its own; it is really the absence of good. For example, holes are real but they only exist in something else. We call the absence of dirt a hole, but it cannot be separated from the dirt. So when God created, it is true that all He created was good. One of the good things God made was creatures who had the freedom to choose good. In order to have a real choice, God had to allow there to be something besides good to choose. So, God allowed these free angels and humans to choose good or reject good (evil). When a bad relationship exists between two good things we call that evil, but it does not become a “thing” that required God to create it.

    Did God create/manufacture The Fall? Or did God allow Adam and Eve the choice to obey Him or to sin?

  459. Craig says:

    Also:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/sickness-will-God.html

    The biblical doctrine of the sovereignty of God states that God is almighty over all. He is in complete control of all things—past, present and future—and nothing happens that is out of His jurisdiction. Either He directly causes—or He passively allows—everything that happens. But allowing something to happen and causing something to happen are two different things. For example, God caused the creation of the perfect, sinless Adam and Eve; then He allowed them to rebel against Him. He did not cause them to sin, and He certainly could have stopped them, but He chose not to for His own purposes and to bring about His perfect plan. That rebellion brought about all manner of evil, evil that was not caused by God but which was allowed by Him to exist.

    Sickness is one manifestation of the two broad types of evil—moral and natural. Moral evil is man’s inhumanity to man. Natural evil is composed of things like natural disasters and physical sickness. Evil itself is a perversion or corruption of something that was originally good, but is now missing something. In the case of sickness, illness is a state where good health is missing. The Greek word for evil, ponerous, actually implies a malignancy, something that is corrupting a good and healthy state of being.

  460. iwanthetruth says:

    Gen 2: 8-9

    8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (NIV)

    Let’s not forget that there is a tree that had fruit that was of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Isn’t it interesting that Satan lied and deceived man with the fruit of this tree rather than the Tree of Life. I also find it interesting that the highest Cheribum of heaven also had the ability to let pride (evil?) take root in him so that he rebelled against God (Ezek). Is this the real freedom of choice? Not that we choose God but rather after true regeneration, what has been transfered to each of us after the original sin of disobedience (possibly the knowledge of good or evil?) is brought to life thru our rebirth of our spirit and the knowledge of good or what is right is activated and we will then want to do what is good and right as we learn the things that God teaches us through His word?

    Listen I know that this is a stretch because there is nothing that I know of in the scriptures that teaches this, it is silent. But let’s face it, we know in part and we see in part and this is a great mystery that frankly I don’t think anyone can truely answer to it’s fullest. It may very well be one of the “secrets” of God that are for Him alone (“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29) and we will never know till we are face to face with Him in heaven.

    So what are these trees? Allegorically are they:

    1) Tree of Life being God/Jesus?
    2) Three of knowledge of good and evil (deception/death/Satan)?

    or are they literal trees that ere planted in the Garden of Eden?

  461. Mike Ward says:

    This is a general response to the comments over that last two days. By the way, have any of you thought of asking Bill your questions, personally?

    I’ve read these ongoing posts and have become very weary of it all. It’s time to think about who God is, what He does and what He doesn’t do.
    Bear with me for a bit on this.

    First of all, God is all-powerful (omnipotent, He is all-knowing (omniscient) and He is always and everywhere with us (omnipresent). God did not create evil (sin). Evil comes from the source of evil satan. The idea that God would create evil (sin) goes against His very nature. So let’s get over that right now. Is there evil? Yes, but He didn’t make it happen; we did and do (in Adam and following). Did He create disease? No, evil and its companions come as a result of the fall again stemming from satan’s deception of Adam and Eve.

    God’s awareness of man’s condition is by no means evidence that He put all of the pain on us. We have selected it personally beginning right there when we chose to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil versus the tree of life which was permitted. This mindless bantering on the sovereignty of God accomplishes nothing when it comes to seeing people drawn into the kingdom of God. What lost person wants to serve a God that says, “I’m going to show you how much I love you by giving you a brain tumor.” Where is the logic in that? If you want to see who God is let me send you a list of passages that do nothing but describe the attributes of God in His Word. I’ll gladly send it to you.

    In the meantime, move on to something more constructive than attacking Bill Johnson for honoring the call of God on his life and doing what he has been called to do. By the way, those that throw out the “few” times when people are healed discount what that healing meant to the one at was afflicted and now is free. Get a doctrinal statement from them. It may sound like this, “All I know is I was blind and now see.”

  462. Craig says:

    Mike,

    You wrote, “By the way, those that throw out the “few” times when people are healed discount what that healing meant to the one at was afflicted and now is free.”

    I do believe you’ve not understood my point in my comment about the “few” who were fully healed (12/17/2011 @ 9:01pm). My point was that only Enoch and Elijah were translated, i.e., never having died a physical death. Besides these two all others who’ve been healed (I’m assuming Lazarus as well) have gone on to die physically. Of course, there will be those who are “Raptured” thereby escaping physical death (no matter if you are pre-, mid- of post-trib).

    You wrote, “God is all-powerful (omnipotent, He is all-knowing (omniscient) and He is always and everywhere with us (omnipresent).”

    I’m assuming that you believe Jesus is God, and, if so, you must concede that He also possessed the “omni” attributes. Given that, don’t you see the inherent problem in believing Jesus “laid His divinity aside”? These three articles all provr Biblically that Jesus DID have and utilize all the omni attributes:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-i/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

    You wrote, “have any of you thought of asking Bill your questions, personally?”

    How do you know I have not? The truth is: no, I have not personally but I know others who have and Johnson generally skirts the questions. He’s not ever answered the one in this challenge to my knowledge.

    You wrote, “This mindless bantering on the sovereignty of God accomplishes nothing when it comes to seeing people drawn into the kingdom of God.”

    Which kingdom? If you read some of the other posts on this blog you’ll see that New Agers believe in a “kingdom of God”.

    You wrote, “In the meantime, move on to something more constructive than attacking Bill Johnson for honoring the call of God on his life and doing what he has been called to do.”

    There are numerous articles on this site which seriously question the doctrines espoused by Bill Johnson. This isn’t just nit picking. This is very serious. The NT is replete with Scripture warning about false teachers/prophets. With aberrant Christology and other aspects of his theology is it possible Johnson is one of the ones spoken of in these passages?

    You’ve chosen not to address some of the harder questions I’ve posed (or you couldn’t provide an answer as in the question of Paul’s eye problems, thorn in the flesh, etc). And, you have not provided any Scripture which shows that God wants to physically heal all people all of the time.

    Does the “abundant life” mean that those who are enjoying this will remain in perfect health? Scripture sure shows otherwise as witness the martyrdom of the Eleven plus Paul (excepting John). Are you saying these did not enjoy an “abundant life”?

    And, what if this is the call of my life – to expose false teachings? There are a LOT of other things I could be doing, yet God has laid this on my heart.

    And, since we’ve been discussing healing, what do you make of this healing account in which Johnson’s ‘god’ (or Johnson himself) inflicts pain on a man in the process of healing?:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/by-whose-power-does-bill-johnson-perform-healings/

    Please make any comment pertaining to the above articles on those threads.

  463. Mike Ward says:

    You will not budge an inch. I leave you with yourself and the hope that you will identify that your calling isn’t listed anywhere in scripture in terms of ministry gifts. My heart is sad.

  464. Craig says:

    Mike,

    It’s sad that you continue to defend Bill Johnson contrary to the many Scriptures he violates. It’s also disappointing that you cannot/will not defend your position regarding healing OR concede that you and Bill Johnson are incorrect.

    3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. [Jude 3]

    1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
    6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
    [1 Tim 4:1-2, 6]

    3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. [1 Tim 6:3-5]

    19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. [James 5:19-20]

    22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. [Jude 22-23]

    4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
    9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
    [Matthew 24:4, 9-13]

  465. iwanthetruth says:

    @Mike Ward

    False Teachers Among You

    by Paul Van Noy
    Pastor of Candlelight Christian Fellowship, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

    But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you… And many will follow their destructive ways…They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you… they speak great swelling words of emptiness…. (2 Pt 2:1-2, 13,18)

    To the world it might appear that all is well in the Christian realm. Much-beloved speakers hold forth from the pulpits of some of the largest churches in the world. Believers and nonbelievers alike buy their books, avail themselves of their programs, and utilize their methodologies. One might come to the conclusion that Peter must not have been referring to the church in our day regarding false teachers. Tolerance is the word of the day. We hear admonitions on a regular basis to “just get along” with those of opposing faiths. “Love” reigns supreme.

    But what is this “love” of which they speak? What about those who identify a false gospel or a false teacher among some of the popular speakers these days? Does this “love” still apply to those who expose the ones who are actually deceivers among the flock? We find that those who point out error and apostasy in the church are, in fact, considered divisive and judgmental. Some are told that their criticism will bring harm to the Christian church. They are perceived as arrogant and “negative.” It is clear that the trend among evangelicals to embrace the “politically correct” thinking of the day will have egregious effects on the Body of Christ.

    This “state of the church” forces me to ask a few simple questions. If Peter said that there would be false teachers in the church, where are they? How can we identify them? Who will warn others? It stands to reason that if the Word of God warns us that false teachers will be present in the church, doesn’t it follow that we are expected to expose them? How will we recognize them, and what are we to do about them?

    The Apostle Paul wrote, “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30). So we see that these false teachers will bring in things that are corrupt, contrary–opposed to biblical doctrine (teaching). Their purpose is to gather disciples to their own folds, separating them from the true Body of Christ. Paul’s concern was not only that this would occur–but that the church would tolerate it: “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted–you may well put up with it!” (2 Cor 11:4).

    The very thing that Paul warned about has come to pass! Most Christians not only tolerate those who speak “perverse things,” but they ostracize believers who won’t accept them. Do we think that we are wiser than Paul? Are we more mature than Jude? Are we really called to leave the evils of error alone and allow the church to be polluted by the lies? Not according to the Scriptures!

    Some may say, “But there are good men and women out there whose ministries have been damaged when others pointed out errors in their teachings.” Couldn’t the same have been said about Paul when he called Peter to account for his error and “withstood him to his face” (Gal 2:11-14)? Paul didn’t intend to bring condemnation upon Peter but rather to move him to repent of his actions. Paul saw the need to keep the message of the gospel pure so that both Peter and those who heard him teach would know the truth–the truth that makes men free!

    In the early church, it was the elders of the church who were responsible to give correction and instruction through the Word of God. Today we are fortunate to have greater individual access to the Scriptures, which are every believer’s authority. We know that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tm 3:16-17).

    Every epistle in the New Testament was written to correct error in the church. Did Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude not understand that to correct those who were in error was in truth a failure to love them? Did they believe that it was none of their business to bring correction to the false teaching? Do we consider them divisive for confronting error and holding fast to the truth? No! They boldly addressed the error and at times even named the offenders.

    Paul instructed Titus (an elder) regarding the standards by which other elders should be appointed–and function. He said, “For a bishop must…[hold] fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not….Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth… and [are] disqualified for every good work” (Ti 1:7-16). It is those in leadership who are called to the task of identifying error. Sadly, these are primarily the very ones who are promoting the error from the pulpits and publishing houses.

    Jude wrote, “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Paul told the Romans, “Note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Rom 16:17). This is what the Bible says, but the trend today is to “avoid those” who are pointing out the ones who are spreading error!

    Every God-called pastor is told, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). Peter said, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers…” (1 Pt 5:2a). Along with the calling of God comes gifting and passion. One of the gifts given to every godly pastor is love for the church. If we truly love people, we don’t want to see them fall into error. Error causes harm, and “love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).

    Peter declared, “There were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you…” (2 Pt 2:1-2). Paul said, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly…” (1 Thes 5:14a). We must by all means “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3). However, we must always remember that, as servants to the Lord and to the Body of Christ, we are called to “comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thes 5:14b). And always keep in mind that: “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tm 2:24-25).

    “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal 6:1).

  466. matt says:

    Craig,
    Do you believe it is God’s will to deliver drug addicts?

  467. Craig says:

    matt,

    While I allowed lee-way on your most recent comment, let’s stick to the subject of the post.

  468. Craig says:

    I was reading a bit of NT scholar/historicist Craig Blomberg’s blog and found this article:

    http://www.denverseminary.edu/craig-blombergs-blog-new-testament-musings/i-suffer-therefore-i–/

    …the Asian representatives agreed that one of the biggest theological differences between Asian and American Christianity was that Asians assumed suffering was a normal part of life, especially if you were a believer, whereas Americans were always trying to avoid it or end it. One Chinese theologian explained, “The typical Chinese Christian, when suffering, asks, “How may I acquit myself in a God-pleasing way as I suffer?” The typical American Christian asks, “How may I get rid of the suffering?”

    A graduate of Denver Seminary of only a few years ago had some prolonged conversations this summer with me from out of town. A “failed” church plant and the suicide of a family member left him barely believing if there was a God any longer and it certainly sounds as if he’s abandoned Christianity. Without denying the immense pain of his experience, I confess seeing an utter theological disconnect here. Imagine Paul saying after his horrific catalogs of sufferings in 2 Corinthians 4, 6 and 11, “So I gave it all up.” Instead he describes Christ’s direct word of comfort on how God’s power is made perfect in weakness and his grace is sufficient for him (2 Cor. 12:9)

    The so-called prosperity gospel (a.k.a. “health-wealth,” “name it and claim it,” etc.) only makes matters worse with its truncated, one-sided message that leaves countless people around the world believing that if a person just has enough faith God will heal them of whatever hurts they currently suffer. Yet, the death rate is still 100%. Sooner or later, there is something every one of us doesn’t recover from and it has nothing to do with the amount of our faith or obedience!

  469. Craig says:

    Here’s a new post which consolidates all the Bill Johnson articles on the CrossWise blog:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/anthology-of-bill-johnson-articles-so-far/

  470. james says:

    OK, so I have never read a Bill J’s book and stumbled accross this doing some research on another topic. I have put my comments in brackets just after the portion of the text being discussed.

    “Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations ( This means to me when I read it that He lived in our world with things like time and hunger to deal with). He laid his [sic](Bill capitalized with all other references, may just be a typo, i missed it until you pointed it out…) divinity aside (He could have used His divine power to avoid temptation, hunger etc. but chose to lay this power, divinity aside and live life as a man,fully man, though still God)as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and then die in the place of mankind for sin. This would be essential in His plan to redeem mankind. The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless) (Powerless to prevent His death as he is bound by his assignment from the Father. Not to say that he could not physically get down, but that being who He is, could not sin, could not and would not stop what was in motion, what had been foretold in the scriptures), and had to be spotless, (without sin)” [When Heaven Invades Earth, Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2003, p. 79].

    Now, I am not a huge fan of Bill, i have never heard him or read him. I have heard of him and some people I respect and who I know as having a good, strong and growing relationship with God really like him, some question him as well. That said, i do think that this appears to be a fairly flimsy arguement against someones writing and having read only a couple of these posts, I look forward to reading this book to form my own oppinion on the matter.

    When ever i read a book other than the bible or listen to a message from another human, i always pray that God will use that person (author or speaker) to convey a message from Him to me. I ask that anything not from Him to fall away and the message for me to be recieved. i always read and listen with my bible and verify context and accuracy of quotes. if s quote is make with out a reference i write it down and search it out later.
    There would be a lot more good accomplished if less judging went on in the body and more truth was taught. the truth is that if we are Christians then the Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us determine truth. When you hear the truth it resonates with you, it speaks to you, and you recieve a revelation of that truth. the scriptures become alive and your understanding deepens. i believe that the Holy Spirit will reveal a false prophet….Not someone i don’t know over a webpage.

    And one last thing – Please do not, ever, use a man written creed to trump the bible! Though those creeds are highly accurate, they are NOT scripture. they were written with a groups input. There was much study done, by more than one person, and i am sure much prayer and consideration was given, but they should never be used as the bible or gospel.

  471. Craig says:

    james,

    Thanks for taking the challenge.

    You wrote, “…I look forward to reading this book to form my own oppinion on the matter…i always read and listen with my bible and verify context and accuracy of quotes…“. I’m glad to see you’ll be reading Johnson’s book and comparing Scripture references to proper Biblical contexts. I’m hopeful you’ll report back here your findings. When Heaven Invades Earth has quite a bit of Scripture references as footnotes many of which are taken out of context. You can start on the first page of chapter 2 in which Johnson proof-texts a portion of John 5:19. When you do so, would call that “judging” or “discerning”?

    You wrote, “There would be a lot more good accomplished if less judging went on in the body and more truth was taught…” I find it interesting that you are “judging” me for “judging” Bill Johnson. Perhaps a better word could be “discerning” or “defending for the faith/truth” [cf Acts 17:11; Jude 3, etc.] perhaps? However, I do agree with you that more truth should be taught. That’s exactly what this site is about: illustrating truth while exposing the false. The false is a mixture of mostly truth with a bit of false mixed in – that’s the nature of false teaching.

    You wrote, “…He could have used His divine power to avoid temptation, hunger etc. but chose to lay this power, divinity aside and live life as a man,fully man, though still God…” OK, so, you’re belief is what is known as functional kenosis, i.e., Jesus could have used his divinity yet consciously chose not to during the Incarnation. So, then what would you make of Bill Johnson’s statement on page 29 of WHIE [link deleted] “He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” Would you agree that this explicitly states that Jesus no longer had divine attributes from which to choose?

    You wrote, “…i believe that the Holy Spirit will reveal a false prophet….Not someone i don’t know over a webpage.” Do you not think it possible that the Holy Spirit can speak through someone else – even on a webpage?

    Can you show me where I’ve used any of the creeds to “trump the Bible”? I will agree that the creeds are only truthful to the extent they agree with Scripture. That being said, I challenge you to find where the creeds cited in this article are at odds with Scripture. I’m pretty confident you won’t find this to be the case; however, I suppose you could be the first one in the last 1500 or so years.

  472. iwanthetruth says:

    I will say this again. Just because someone is questioning someones else teaching does not mean that that person is judging the teacher…

    so…
    1) Calling attention to what someone is teaching is not persecuting them.

    2) pointing out what one believes to be the logical conclusion of another’s teachings and practices is not persecuting them.

    3) Taking strong objection, even to the point of demonstrating emotion and using forceful language and occasional rhetoric devices, to another’s teachings is not persecuting them.

    4) Warning others that they may be better off avoiding the teachings of certain ministers is not persecuting these ministers

  473. james says:

    Craig,

    Thanks for your response! I hate it when I leave a reply on a blog that goes weeks without reply. Not the case here!

    I have to say, I was getting skeptical that you even read the book as your page reference was off. But a search of the PDF using your quote soon turned it up on page 24. [ED: link now deleted]
    That said…… I find myself at a bit of a corss roads here. Though I do and have always believed that Jesus is and was fully God, an equal 3rd of the trinity, that quote in context of the paragraph has me thinking a bit. It presents a challenge to what I have held fast and I need to process it a bit further.
    Before I continue I want to remind you that the 4 pages I just read searching for the quote is the first I have ever read from Bill.
    With that in mind I would like your thoughts on the following.
    What do you make of Jesus statement; “the Son can do nothing …..” Do you think that Jesus can do nothing on His own, or do you believe none of the Trinity does anthing outside of the Father as they are , together one.
    If you believe Jesus was God while on earth, do you believe he was then, not man at all but just took the image of man? (which I struggle with as we are already made in His image)

    And this is the tipping question for me: Do you believe that we (born agin Christians) can today perform miracles equal to those performed and recorded in scripture?

    From your reading of Bill, does he believe that he can also personally forgive sins of others not commited against him? IF so can you attach a book and page.

    Lastly- Is this an issue of faith for you? Meaning If I believe that Jesus was powerless as God while on earth, drawing all his supernaturl powers only through the power of the Holy Spirit I can not be a Christian. (Without going to the extent of believing that I can, as He did, forgive sins)

    Thanks again, must say that i was kind of laughing this off a bit at first but now am looking forward to your response.

    My apologies if this is in the blog already, I have not read the entire thing.

    James

  474. Craig says:

    james,

    I must admit I was beginning to wonder if you were yet another ‘drive-by’ commentator. Thanks for coming back.

    I’m short on time at present, but I will respond to a few things and provide you with enough reading to last a while ;-).

    You wrote, “What do you make of Jesus statement; ‘the Son can do nothing …..’ Do you think that Jesus can do nothing on His own, or do you believe none of the Trinity does anthing outside of the Father as they are , together one.
    If you believe Jesus was God while on earth, do you believe he was then, not man at all but just took the image of man? (which I struggle with as we are already made in His image)

    Jesus was fully God and fully man while walking the earth. Jesus ate, got tired, slept, increased in wisdom and stature illustrating He was fully man as God does not eat, grow weary, sleep, and is omniscient (all knowing). He had “life in Himself” [John 5:26] and therefore He gives life to whom He chooses [John 5:21]; yet, He only did what He saw the Father do [John 5:19 - the rest of the verse Johnson omits]. In other words, He was fully God as part of the Trinity [John 10:30; cf 8:58]. A careful reading of John 5:19-30 shows that Johnson’s proof-texting ‘proves’ the exact opposite of what Scripture reveals.

    Keep in mind that the Father is God; Jesus is God; and the Holy Spirit is God. None are less than God and all are of the some homoousious [Greek transliterated] meaning substance.

    For more explanation both of this passage [John 5:19] and also the extent of Johnson’s kenosis (doctrine of ‘self-emptying’) of Jesus, see here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

    Part I of the above provides a very detailed technical background on kenosis: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-i/

    You wrote, “And this is the tipping question for me: Do you believe that we (born agin Christians) can today perform miracles equal to those performed and recorded in scripture?” That exact issue is addressed here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/

    I’ve compiled all the posts regarding Bill Johnson here: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/anthology-of-bill-johnson-articles-so-far/

    To continue discussing the issues you’ve raised that are addressed in the various posts referenced above I ask that you pose additional questions to the applicable article.

    I’ve read quite a few of Johnson’s books with some sections being re-read dozens of times to be sure I’m not misunderstanding.

    For convenience, before posting your next comment, if you’ll click the box next to “Notify me of new posts via email” under the comments box you will receive an email notification of any posts in the given thread.

  475. Craig says:

    james,

    OK, now with a bit more time I’ll respond to your questions a bit more. You wrote, “…But a search of the PDF using your quote soon turned it up on page 24…” You had me scratching my head for a bit as I was SURE I had the correct page #, but, now I see the discrepancy. I was referring to the page number at the bottom of the page of the book (28) rather than the page referenced at the top next to the up and down arrows (24). This correlates to page 29 of the first edition paperback copy I have.

    You wrote, “From your reading of Bill, does he believe that he can also personally forgive sins of others not commited against him?…” No, Johnson does not state this; however, he does intimate that we can reach a point of sinlessness in our earthly life at the bottom of page 28 to the top of 29 [24 and 25 at the arrows or 29-30 of the book proper]. I speak more on this in the following article under the Sinless at the Other Side of the Cross section:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-ii/

    You wrote, “…Is this an issue of faith for you? If I believe that Jesus was powerless as God while on earth, drawing all his supernaturl powers only through the power of the Holy Spirit I can not be a Christian…

    No one is saved by perfect theology, that is, having perfect theology is not a prerequisite for salvation. Each one grows in knowledge (hopefully!) during our Christian walk as this is part of “making disciples of all nations” [see my Statement of Faith tab]. However, orthodoxy regarding Atonement requires Jesus to be a willing sacrifice, i.e., He must have had the ability to disobey and not go through with the Cross. Moreover, to be a perfect sacrifice He had to be God as God is the only one who is by nature sinless. Further, while there are differing interpretations of Jesus regarding the role of the Holy Spirit in His life in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), the Gospel of John clearly portrays Jesus as performing the miraculous on His own most specifically in ‘giving life to whom He chooses’ [5:21] in the then present [5:24-25].

    Having stated the above paragraph, it is absolutely a disgrace for a purported Christian minister to so distort the Incarnational Christ (Christ while He was on earth). Presenting a Jesus Christ who is different from the one in Scripture in the manner Johnson does amounts to a Christ who cannot effect Atonement which means no eternal life for anyone- a very serious problem! This is inexcusable for anyone behind a pulpit much less one of such influence as Bill Johnson. This is discussed in detail in the “Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II” article referenced above.

    Again, please make any further comments on the relevant thread(s).

  476. Craig says:

    james,

    It’s now been nearly two weeks since my response to you. Are you still reading here? Are you still “thinking a bit” and therefore still formulating a response to my response to your comment?

  477. David Hess says:

    The Presence & the Power by the late Wheaton College Professor, Gerald H. Hawthorne, will answer this challenge definitively by one of the leading Evangelical Greek scholars. Your misrepresenting Bill Johnson’s position amounts to bearing false witness and slander. Picking and choosing selective quotes can always make a person appear to be saying something or implying something they are not. Members of cults and non-Christian religions who deny the Deity of Christ do this by quoting selectively from the New Testament verses and passages that would “appear” to deny Christ’s deity while neglecting the countless passages that affirm His full divinity.

    The one who issued the challenge needs to repent of sin for doing exactly the same thing with Bill Johnson’s writings. Disagree with a person’s theology. Don’t misrepresent their actual position. Shame on you.

  478. Craig says:

    David Hess,

    It’s apparent you did not read the challenge. It’s a series of questions to see how the reader understands Bill Johnson’s selected quote.

    Explain to me how the authors have misreprented Bill Johnson.

    BTW, the correct word given your context would be “libel” rather than “slander”.

  479. Craig says:

    Oh, and by the way, the following series has many more quotes by Bill Johnson to support a kenotic Christology:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ/

  480. Loyalbooks says:

    Grace said, “Why don’t you try to love him instead. That’s what Jesus would do”

    Does God disregard “theology” for the sake of love? Theology is simply the study of God. Jesus did not hesitate to point out wrong theology; theology being what was said, understood, and taught about God the Father and His plan for salvation.

    It is imperative that we understand God on His terms. He has chosen to reveal Himself as recorded in the Scriptures and that must be our guideline. Yes, the scriptures say “God is Love” but they says so, so very much more.

    We dare not make the mistake of understanding the love of God on human terms that equate love with niceness, compromise, apathy, conflict avoidance, smoothing-things-over, etc.

    In our world we may look at books, blogs, podcasts and video to see what someone is teaching. To examine those things and compare them to scripture is the duty of every believer.

    What WOULD Jesus do if He heard someone preaching a way of godliness that was not the gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s plan for salvation, a correct understanding of God Himself (including the Godhead and Divinity of Jesus)- in other words, wrong theology?

    He would do what he DID.

    Like in Matthew 23 when he pronounces several “woes” on to the ‘teachers’ who do not teach of the true gospel, but a man-made idea of how to be right in the eyes of God:

    He said they neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in (to the kingdom of heaven).

    He calls them blind guides

    He says they teach all these minor side-issue insights, but completely miss the point of God’s
    gospel- which, in relation to this post, is the Divinity of Jesus and that He alone saves.

    He says they are full of greed and self ambition

    He says they look righteous, but actually they are full of hypocrisy and every unclean thing

    He calls them snakes and vipers

    My point, Grace, is that Jesus Himself had no room to compromise the truth, and sometimes He was very “unloving” in His reaction to false teaching because He knows only the Truth sets us free and any man made additions to the truth or deviations from the truth, is a trap that keeps us from entering the Kingdom.

    To ask someone to explain themselves, when they teach publicly and claim to be a preacher of the Gospel of Christ, is not being unloving. In this case the blogger is asking those who defend certain statements claiming to be the gospel of Christ to explain their support.

    We should all be able to explain why we support what we support, and why we believe what we believe.

  481. Craig says:

    Given the amount of ‘hit and run’ comments, I will no longer allow any deviations from this “challenge” itself. This means: 1) the comment must follow the directions as put forth in this “open challenge”; and, 2) the comment must not continue to go beyond by making accusations, (pre)judgments against the authors of the challenge. Any comment deviating from these instructions will be summarily deleted. Before posting ANY comment on this site on any thread, one should read the “Before You Comment” tab at the top of this site. It would also be helpful to read the “Why CrossWise” tab as well.

  482. zablon says:

    If I had to respond to Bill Johnson’s claims in a few words, it would be to point out that his doctrine directly implies that human beings, without the need for Jesus, can be saved by avoiding sin just as he did. He downplays the need for being born again and receiving the power to overcome sin. He ignores the fact that the ability to overcome sin was in Jesus right from his birth and it is what we receive when we are born again.

  483. Craig says:

    zablon,

    If I understand you correctly, you are stating, to rephrase a bit, that Johnson’s statement is implying that Jesus’ life of sinlessness is the model we are to follow for self-atonement. Is that correct?

    Interestingly, Johnson was asked to clarify his stance on Christology to which he answered on Facebook two years ago (March 21, 2011):

    Jesus was (and is) God. Eternally God. That never changed. But he chose to live with self imposed restriction while living on earth in the flesh – as a man. In doing so He defeated sin, temptation, the powers of darkness as a man. We inherit His victory – it was for us. He never sinned!

    This would support your claim that it’s Jesus’ sinlessness as a man which is the “victory” here. This is a point I had made in this article

    Some have taken this overall statement to mean that Johnson has affirmed that Jesus possessed all His divine attributes while incarnate yet chose not to use them. I beg to differ. If one sees that it’s Jesus’ sinlessness as a man which provided our “victory”, the question becomes when did Jesus make the choice to live as a man. Did the Word make this choice pre-incarnation? If so, was this a choice to totally divest Himself of divine attributes (explicit heresy because this means He was not God during the incarnation) or was this a choice to not use the divine attributes He would continue to possess (a position which is unbiblical and on that ground I’ve argued heretical [cf. John 2:11, John 2:19/John 10:18-19, John 5:21,24-25, Col 2:9, Col 1:17, Heb 1:3])? The way this statement is worded, either option could apply.

    The “was (and is) God. Eternally God” could be taken that no cessation of the Word’s divinity had occurred. This would imply that Jesus possessed divine attributes yet willingly chose not to use them. On the other hand, this could be construed that Jesus “was” God pre-incarnation, that Jesus “is” God post-incarnation, yet during the Incarnation He really wasn’t God; this is because He is “eternally God” only, i.e., in the eternal realm He is God, yet in the temporal realm He is not. The latter explanation hinges on how Johnson conceives the relationship between the temporal and eternal realms. If Johnson believes they do not intersect, then his statement would be congruent with this belief.

    One could think I’m really grasping at straws with this; however, I submit the following as evidence that Johnson explicitly denies Jesus’ divinity/deity while Incarnate:

    Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7). While He is eternally God, He chose to live within the restrictions of a man who had no sin and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In doing this, He provided a compelling model for us to follow

    I don’t see how the bolded portion could be any clearer: Jesus did not have divine attributes to use even if He wanted to while Incarnate. Yet, we have the same “eternally God” statement following. Either the entire statement is self-contradictory, or the explanation I’ve provided above is the answer. The same with the following:

    While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). It’s vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God.

    If He did them as God I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow.

    [Both quotes also from above hyper-link.]

  484. Peter says:

    There are lots of problems with the word of faith movement ie the Lord definatively wants a defined outcome. What has struck me is if we know the will of the Lord and ask according to it, it will be done. Few seem to find His will, which is not the same as faith.

    Ofcourse if someone was perfect they would be acceptable to the Lord, but the point is because we are not born in communion with the Lord we sin, our hearts of love get callosed over and we lash out in pain.

    What concerns me more about the word of faith is the idea prophesy is talking out anything in the name of Lord, believing it is true even when it is obviously false.
    In the old testement this is called false prophecy and usually meant the prophet should be stoned. I am all for the gifts but not wishfull thinking.

    Wishfull thinking is believing Todd Bentley will lead millions to the Lord.
    How would you classify a man who claims to have raised 30+ people from the dead but cannot produce one testifiable example. The best words I could use are liar, charlatan, false teacher, but then maybe I am just being kind.

    Who is the God who we follow? Is he not also the Lord of judgement among his own people but it appears some have forgotton who their Lord is and how he warns through scripture.

  485. Craig says:

    Peter,

    From a Word of Faith viewpoint, what do you make of Johnson’s depiction of Jesus in this new “challenge”?:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/open-challenge-to-fans-and-critics-of-bill-johnsonbethel-church/

  486. wikazi says:

    Here’s a link, http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/BTP/Dr_MR_DeHaan/Chemistry/04.htm. Hope you guys learn something about the blood of Jesus, and why it was special. He got a human body when He was born, thus making Him human. If the Holy Spirit did not come upon Him as after His baptism, He would not have been able to do the works of the Holy Spirit, thus He laid down His divine nature to experience fully what we all experience. From being born again up to when we will be made like Him. You have to understand it as a child and then it makes sense.

    If He returns, and believe me He will and its closer than you all think, will He come on a rescue mission, or to establish His Kingdom reign?

  487. Craig says:

    wikazi,

    No one is denying Jesus’ humanity; the point is that Jesus was (and is) both God and man. You start out fine in your line of argumentation with your first three sentences; however, it does not necessarily follow that “If the Holy Spirit did not come upon Him as after His baptism, He would not have been able to do the works of the Holy Spirit, thus He laid down His divine nature to experience fully what we all experience.”

    1) How do you reconcile the bold portion with John 2:11?

    11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

    It was Jesus’ glory, not the Holy Spirit’s glory. Yes, Jesus performed this miracle after His baptism in the Jordan by John and after the Holy Spirit came upon Him “as a dove”; but, this does not mean that this or any of Jesus’ miracles were done by the power of the Holy Spirit rather than the omnipotence He possessed from eternity and continued to possess during His earthly ministry.

    And, how do you reconcile that with John 5:21-25?

    21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

    24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and

      has now come

    when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

    Wouldn’t Jesus’ ‘giving life to whom He chooses’ be indicative of His own divine working? One cannot argue that He ‘gave life’ during His earthly ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit, for if that’s true then all Holy Spirit indwelt Christians could do the same – obviously untrue. Moreover, Jesus is given the authority to judge – not just at the eschaton, but during His earthly ministry. This is made clear in verses 24 & 25 above.

    You said, “If He returns, and believe me He will and its closer than you all think, will He come on a rescue mission, or to establish His Kingdom reign?” I’m not sure what this has to do with this particular post; nonetheless, of course, Jesus is returning to consummate “all things”.

  488. wikazi says:

    Ok 1st of all, I am not a follower of a man or a man’s teachings or understanding of the bible. Be it who ever. The Word of GOD is the final authority there is in my life, and if it be, then I will stand for the truth as well.

    Did you open the link and learn why the blood of Jesus made Him sinless? Because of that very aspect of the absence of sin in Jesus, that made Him to have life in Himself from the Father, because He had no sin. And in order to fully represent man, he had to be empowered from above with the Holy Spirit to do miracles. Just read in Acts what He told the disciples, *they will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon them,*my words. How do you understand the letter to the Ephesians? You say that the Holy Spirit does not give us power to do what Jesus did? Then actually you denying that Jesus said it Himself in Mark 16. Look, to make it simple, because this can turn into a veeeery lengthy debate, Jesus reconciled us to the Father by His sacrifice. In order to live the life (be a disciple of Jesus) we need the Holy Spirit. We can do NOTHING to please GOD, but have belief in what Jesus has done. Even the very faith is from GOD so that man can’t boast at all. What Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savoir did during His earthly ministry was leaving us an exact copy to follow, not by our own strenght, but by the Holy Spirit, so that GOD can get the glory above all things, in all.

    GOD in His nature is unchanging, He won’t let Jesus do things that we that believe in Him won’t be able to do, so please read Ephesians, the whole letter and maybe you will see something. Bill Johnson has never denied who Jesus is, He made it very clear in all his podcasts and literature.

  489. Craig says:

    wikazi,

    Yes, I did read the link you provided. Given the thesis of DeHaan, why would you conclude that Jesus was somehow less than God if He had the Father’s ‘genes’?

    You wrote, “I am not a follower of a man or a man’s teachings or understanding of the bible. Be it who ever. The Word of GOD is the final authority there is in my life, and if it be, then I will stand for the truth as well.

    The Word of God, Scripture, IS the final authority. That’s precisely why I quoted Scripture in my initial comment to you. This doesn’t have to be “a veeeery lengthy debate”; all you have to do is ponder the Scripture I quoted earlier and illustrate how those passages can be construed in any other manner except that Jesus Christ possessed divine attributes; and, therefore, He used His own omnipotence in the miracle at Cana (turning water into wine) and He used His own divine powers to effect eternal life during His earthly ministry. Who else but God could grant eternal life to the thief on the Cross?

    You say you’re “not a follower of a man or a man’s teachings”, yet you are here defending Bill Johnson as an apparent follower:

    Bill Johnson has never denied who Jesus is, He made it very clear in all his podcasts and literature.

    Bill Johnson has effectively denied the full deity of Christ (as have you here) on multiple occasions.

    I’d really like you to explain how John 2:11 and John 5:25 do not show that Jesus did the things in those passages by His own inherent divine powers. Unless and until you do so, I will not release any more of your comments, as, at present, you are dodging the questions.

  490. IWTT says:

    The other problem is that man keeps interpreting that the decending of the spirit as a dove was an infilling of the Holy Spirit to give him some kind of power. I disagree. He was already full of the Spirit of God. The Dove decending was merely a visual to those around the incident to see that God accepted him or “claimed Him”, if you will to be “His Son”. Since he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, He was already filled with the Holy Spirit and since He was and is God as well, He already had the “dunamas” power to perform miracles as a “bond-servant”.

  491. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    And right you are. This was a sign to John the Baptist:

    32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” [John 1:32-34, NIV]

  492. wikazi says:

    Ok, so here now because I know for a fact you will again differ. John 2:11 u have to read under the light of John 20:30-31, which explains why John wrote his gospel. That was the first miracle John saw and noted as the first miracle of Jesus, AFTER His baptism with the Holy Spirit. Within context, because no one of His disciples would have believed in Him if they didn’t witness either the baptism or the 1st miracle, so that was done for them to believe

    John 5:25 in context: Jesus was talking about His resurrection and pointing to that. Remember, He came for what reason? To fullfill the law and pay the penalty of the law, which is death, not for His sin, as He was sinless, but for the sin of the whole world. And by being resurrected He became the firstfruits of many who believed, believe and will believe.

    You accuse me of denying the deity of Christ, yet you do not know me from a block of chocolate brother! And by saying I am an adamant follower of Bill Johnson? I don’t believe so, I defend him because I love him as my brother in Christ, I am not you.

    Jesus commanded we love each other as He loved us, therefore those who name and shame stand directly oppose to what He commanded and are directly disobedient to the Son of GOD,

    Jesus isn’t returning for a weakling Church as most of you believe, I most surely don’t know how you all interpret the scriptures as to who Jesus is, as I understand the Word, He is.

    Its fine, you can live under the law if you wish, I will live under grace

    I forgive you for what you are doing and for what you are still going to do by crucifying the sons of GOD. I speak as a prophet and ambassador of Christ

  493. Craig says:

    I don’t see how John 20:30-31 proves your point. Jesus had already stated

    36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” [John 10:36-38, NIV]

    Not one of us are “His very own”; we were bought with a price – Christ’s sacrifice – and, as a result are adopted as sons/daughters. None of us have a mother who had been ‘come upon’ by the Holy Spirit for our conception. Jesus is the one unique God-man – fully God, including all divine attributes (how could He be fully God without all divine attributes?), and fully man.

    John 5:25 very clearly states that the time now is that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live”, i.e. have “eternal life” (v 24). Again, who else could grant the thief on the cross eternal life but God; and, how would Jesus Christ, as God, be able to grant this eternal life by any means other than divine authority?

    This granting of eternal life (and passing judgment – see John 9:39-42 also) that Jesus Christ did during His earthly ministry is what is called inaugurated eschatology. The Kingdom of God had already begun, yet it’s consummation will not be until Christ returns. This is known as the “already, but not yet”.

    You wrote, “You accuse me of denying the deity of Christ, yet you do not know me from a block of chocolate brother!” Here are your words from earlier:

    …He laid down His divine nature…

    Ponder this: could you “lay down” your human nature, and yet still be human? That’s rhetorical, not needing a response.

    Its fine, you can live under the law if you wish, I will live under grace

    Properly exegeting Scripture is not ‘living under the law’.

    Jesus isn’t returning for a weakling Church as most of you believe

    This goes to show that you are listening to man, as Scripture does not support this view in any fashion. In any case, this is WAY off the subject of this post.

    I forgive you for what you are doing and for what you are still going to do by crucifying the sons of GOD.

    So, I’m crucifying both Bill Johnson and you, eh? You’ve no idea what persecution is. Tell that to the Christians living in Muslim countries.

    Anyway, let’s stay on point here. I’ll edit out any other superfluous parts of any further comments.

    Yet, again I ask you how can John 2:11, in its immediate context, mean that it wasn’t Jesus own glory on display rather than the Holy Spirit’s?

  494. Craig says:

    wikazi,

    BTW, no one is arguing against the fact that Jesus only performed miracles after His baptism. His baptism by John was not an empowering; it was a commissioning. And it was a visual ‘sign’ for John the Baptist.

  495. wikazi says:

    Truly GOD did hid these things from the so called wise, referring to you not knowing John 20, and I wonder if you expect a prize from GOD for what you are doing Craig? I can think of 1 thing you are doing and that’s being disobedient to the Lord, cancel my posts as you wish, as long as you read them and know you stand accountable then :)

    Bitterness has sprung up in your heart, and you unclothe the very annointing GOD placed on your own life for a self righteous outfit of a modern day hypocrite. Loveless indeed

  496. Craig says:

    So, the ad hominem begins. I can always just block you; then, I’d not even have to see them come onto the site at all.

    Here’s another quote of Johnson, FYI:

    Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7). While He is eternally God, He chose to live within the restrictions of a man who had no sin and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In doing this, He provided a compelling model for us to follow.

    I don’t think that post can be any more clear: Jesus was no longer God (except in the eternal realm – NOT in the temporal realm), according to Bill Johnson. That’s rank heresy!

  497. Arwen4CJ says:

    wikazi,

    It’s always a good idea to figure out what the actual position is of those you are arguing against — otherwise you’re going to be arguing against a misunderstood opponent.

    No one here denies that Jesus is going to return someday. No one here denies that there are signs that suggest that things are closer and closer to the end. No one knows the day or the hour, but we can see the signs. Jesus compared it to spring. It’s spring now…yet a few weeks ago things looked different. There were signs that spring was here, but now we really know it’s spring. First we had the flower buds on trees opening up, and now we have leaf buds beginning to open. We’ve had various spring flowers bloom, and die, and others bloom, etc. So how close are we to Jesus’ return? Only God knows.

    As Craig has said, no one here is denying the authority of Scripture, or that the Holy Spirit empowers followers of Jesus to live out our calling in Christ. Just what that calling is is what this debate is about. So you need to ask us what we believe about the Holy Spirit and His purpose in our lives…if you do that, you will see what we believe and what we don’t believe. There is going to be some variation here, but the regular posters are in agreement that Bill Johnson’s theology about the Holy Spirit is off.

    You should ask us how we exegete Scripture, and try to understand where we are coming from…rather than telling us that we don’t interpret it properly, or that we are spiritually blind, or that we are not reading it with the eyes of children, etc.

    No one here is denying that Jesus is/was without sin. No one here is denying the blood atonement.

    You need to understand what it is that we are disagree with Bill Johnson on.

    You wrote:
    “Jesus isn’t returning for a weakling Church as most of you believe, I most surely don’t know how you all interpret the scriptures as to who Jesus is, as I understand the Word, He is.”

    My response:
    Exactly. So ask us what we believe before accusing us of being spiritually blinded, which is in effect what you did.

    You wrote:
    “Its fine, you can live under the law if you wish, I will live under grace”

    My response:
    Where did this comment even come from? No one here is advocating a gospel message of following the law. No one here denies grace. :( Please don’t make assumptions about us without basing it on some evidence.

  498. Arwen4CJ says:

    I’m wondering — does this blog only allow for 500 comments on a given topic? I posted a comment here, and it hasn’t shown up — not even how it usually does — telling me that it’s waiting to be approved.

    I noticed that this topic has 500 replies…so I was wondering if it hit a ceiling?

  499. Craig says:

    For some strange reason your comment was lost in cyber space, yet it just showed (within the past 20-30 minutes or so) in my spam filter.

    In any case, I blocked wikazi from futher comments as I was hit with more ad hominem. Life’s too short – as my ‘Before You Comment’ tab states.

  500. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hmmm…well then hopefully wikazi takes the time to read your articles and the comments on this blog, and find out your position as well as the positions of others who post here.

    Perhaps he would be interested in reading your most recent article on Biblical Literalism, and learn a bit about proper exegesis of Scripture. That would be a good start. :)

  501. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    You know…I’ve just been thinking….I am wondering if wikazi meant a different Bill Johnson than the one we’re talking about. When I’ve done Internet searches before, I have come across links to at least one other Bill Johnson who is a pastor….

    So I’m thinking he may not have taken the time to read much of the website to understand that your articles and our comments are referring to Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding California, rather than to another Bill Johnson.

    The reason that I suggest this as a possibility is because wikazi posted a link to an article on Jesus-is-Savior.com, which is an EXTREMELY fundamentalist website/extremely conservative website that many even many conservatives see issues with. Many Christians do not see it as a legitimate source of information.

    I did some looking around on the site (it had been awhile since I looked it over), and look at what it lists as false teachings:
    http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/false_doctrines.htm

    Look what it says about charismatic teachings.

    Either wikazi didn’t read the rest of the Jesus-is-Savior website, and he is ignorant of the content on this page, or he was trying to defend the teachings of another Bill Johnson.

    So all that arguing with you could have been for nothing, as he didn’t really understand what you were writing about, having misunderstood and thought you were writing against someone else’s teachings.

  502. Craig says:

    I suppose anything’s possible. But, this particular post specifies the book When Heaven Invades Earth; and, if one knows the book, one should know who the author is, i.e., the Bethel Church “pastor”.

  503. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yeah, you would think….but maybe wikazi didn’t actually read much of the article.

    I don’t know — either he didn’t read much of your article, and thought you were talking about another Bill Johnson, or he didn’t read much of the jesus-is-savior.com website, or both (he didn’t read much of either your article or the website).

  504. gary pringle says:

    I just have one Question for the author .Before you aired your cretinism of Bill Johnson on the internet.,did you do the scriptural thing Paul exhorts us to do if one is overtaken in a fault. To pray and get beam out of your own eye ,then go personally to bill Johnson Then if he didn’t hear you take others ‘before you tell whole Church .It appears that you if you haven’t personally confronted bill Johnson ‘you are guilty of the greater sin of causing division.selah

  505. Craig says:

    Gary,

    Yes, attempts were made to contact Johnson – by a number of individuals I know – and these were all never returned. Yet, in any case, you miss the point. False teaching which is made in public can and should be addressed in public.

    You are a bit confused, though. It’s Jesus, as recorded by Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount, who speaks of the ‘beam in your eye’. And, it’s also Jesus, as recorded by Matthew, who explains the steps for SIN against another, not false teaching, in Matthew 18, to include taking it before the Church as a 3rd step. Moreover, Paul confronted Peter in front of them all [NIV]:

    But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” [Galatians 2:14, NKJV]

    However, in the case here, the whole point of this particular post is to get the reader to participate by answering the questions posed. How does the reader understand Johnson’s statement in this particular post? If you’d like to answer any of the questions as per the directions of this post, feel free. If you just wish to ignore the beam in your eye, but expose the speck in mine, don’t bother. To be clear: if you post any more comments that do not specifically answer the questions of the post, they will be summarily deleted.

    One final word: you may wish to brush up on your NT reading before speaking on matters of Scripture. It may be helpful to actually quote or reference chapter and verse.

  506. Craig says:

    ALL READERS:

    I will no longer release ANY comment on this thread which does not attempt to answer the questions in this post. And, don’t think to try to answer a question and then add a bunch of other off-topic commentary along with it and expect me to release your comment. Anyone wishing to comment should read my ‘Before You Comment’ tab at the top of the blog.

  507. John says:

    Did Jesus not empty Himself as it says in Phil 2? Did Jesus do the miracles He did as God or did He do them as man? If He did them as God, then John 14: 12 seems unrealistic. However, if Jesus did the miracles He did as a man fully dependent upon God and filled with the Holy Spirit, then we can learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit along the lines of John 14:12.

    On earth, Jesus clearly chose to live according to human limitations. I believe this is Bill’s point. Yet, even though Jesus humbled Himself as a man, He stilled lived a perfect sinless life.

    I’m not sure how to explain God or what it means to be fully God and fully man. However, although Jesus was God, Ephesians 2 does seem to back up what Bill says.

    It’s only a few sentences. Bill’s statements are not claiming to be infallible scripture. Let’s judge the tree by its fruit. I see an amazingly large amount of exceptionally good fruit coming from the ministry of Bill Johnson and Bethel Church. I am one of tens and thousands and probably hundreds of thousands who have been powerfully impacted and changed by Jesus as He worked through Bill and Bethel.

  508. Craig says:

    As to your faulty assumption on John 14:12, see this post here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/

    Just think about it for a moment: What is really a greater miracle that raising someone from physical death, such as Jesus did with Lazarus? Even if a Christian, through the power of the Spirit, had raised someone from the dead this merely equals Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus. It would not exceed this miracle; it would merely equal it.

    As to your thoughts on Phil 2, and your question, “Did Jesus do the miracles He did as God or did He do them as man?”, let’s take a look at some Scripture. After turning water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-10), the narrator of the Gospel of John is recorded as stating:

    11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

    Manifested whose glory? The Holy Spirit’s or Jesus’?

    If you read the above “greater works” article, you’ll find some more Scripture indicating Jesus performed His own miracles, such as John 5:24-25:

    24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

    Clearly this indicates that Jesus gave eternal life during His time on earth – not by the power of the Spirit, but by His own power. Look at an earlier verse (verse 21):

    21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

    The Son gives life to whom HE WILL – not by the Holy Spirit. In fact, if one assumes Jesus did this by the Holy Spirit, then it should follow that all Holy Spirit indwelt Christians should be able to give life to whom they want – obviously that is not correct!

  509. Mike says:

    Anyone who has had experience of deception will recognize what is going on here. Where there is light, genuine misunderstandings are identified and valid differences of opinion agreed upon. In the operation of deception this never happens, because the deceiver is always shifting ground. One of the weaknesses of this site is that you have nobly confined yourself to addressing just a few obvious issues. In the operation of deception a multiplicity of techniques is at work, which when identified all point in the same direction. You also graciously steer away from surmizing why Bill Johnson would want to expresses himself in a heretical way,when it is perfectly possible to teach the total humanity and deity of Jesus, without the need to overstep clear theological boudaries to truth. This graciousness also works against a solution to the problem.
    May I run the risk of being labelled ungracious, bring in one or two other facts and consequences, and offer my personal impression.
    Bill Johnson is a poser, admittedly one amongst many) He poses as a prophet uttering wise sayings and the deep hidden things of God. When examined, most of his clever aphorisms are statements of the obvious delivered as revelations or on occasions outright untruths- think about them and find out. He will do and say whatever is needful to create this impression. Going off piste, as it were, theologically, is part of the image, the consequences being immaterial.
    He needs to be a poser in order to attract young people who have been reared in a culture of idolising posers. He needs to provide spills and thrills for an entertainment addicted generation, that craves new experiences.

    The consquences of all this is that he, in harness with the other self styled prophets and apostles who all belong to the same group, some of whom also teach dominionism, are inadvertantly prepapring the way for the acceptance of the Anti-christ. When he appears as a mere man, none of Bill’s disciples will be surprised at his notable absence of glory, just so long as he can make people fall over or shake or laugh or howl like a wolf. The dominionists (whom Bill endorses), have beavered away at exhorting us all to climb our mountains of culture, (NOT the word originally given to the true men of God who received it), will welcome him with open arms and scramble for a place in his government.

    Friends, this is dangerous stuff.

    Bill Johnson, along with the others, are either deceived or deceivers. (I suspect that someone who is deceived necessarily becomes a deceiver without realizing it). They all share in the same deception. A lying spirit lies to you and then you speak out the lie. Bill does this in his teaching. For example in his teaching on Power and Authority, which you can hear on-line, in order to convince us that without the Holy Spirit anointing at His Baptism, Jesus was wholly incapable of doing any miracles, Bill lies about the meanings of Greek words. He tells us that the word in Greek for ‘open’ as in John the Baptist seeing the heavens open, really means a powerful rending. This is totally untrue. The Greek word means only, ‘open’. It can be seen on shop doors in Greece. He tells us that it is the same word as used when the veil of the temple was rent. This is a lie. The word in Greek is totally different. It means ‘slit’ Our word schism comes from this word. Anyone can check this out with a concordance.
    Does Bill knowingly teach misinformation, or is he simply passing on to us what he is hearing in the spirit? I assume it is the latter, in which case he is operating under other spirits in addition to the Holy Spirit. That means that what is going on in Bethel is like it was in the days of Ezekiel when there were idols and demons in the temple of God.

    We all long to operate in a greater measure of spiritual gifting for the sake of the Kingdom, but heresy and false teaching cannot be the way to acheive it.

  510. Craig says:

    Mike,

    While I’m glad you understand that Johnson’s teachings are problematic, I’m puzzled by your claim that “one of the weaknesses of this site is that you have nobly confined yourself to addressing just a few obvious issues”. I don’t think Christological problems are necessarily obvious, and others have interpreted Johnson’s Christology in different ways. Moreover, I don’t see that anyone else has compared Johnson’s Christology to that of the occult and New Age (see here). And, I’ve not seen anyone else refute Johnson’s claim (which is endemic to hyper-charismaticism) that the “greater works” in John 14:12 refers to greater signs and wonders (see here). Also, I note more than once how Johnson effectively employs cognitive dissonance as a way to confuse (see here for one example), and I’ve noted what looks to be an outright fabrication in the form of a “prophecy” (you wrote, “In the operation of deception a multiplicity of techniques is at work, which when identified all point in the same direction”).

    Et cetera.

    Also, you are not exactly correct in your particular assertion that Johnson has misused Greek words in the teaching you mention. That’s not to say that Johnson doesn’t take a sort of ‘creative license’ in his interpretations (I’ve not heard the teaching in question, so I can’t comment specifically). But, here’s the lowdown on the Greek: In Matthew 3:12 and Luke 3:21 the Greek word used is ἀνοίγω (anoigō); however, Mark (1:10) uses σχίζω (schizō). [John does not record the heavens being opened in the context of Jesus’ baptism.] The latter (schizō) is the same word used in Matthew 27:51 / Mark 15:38 / Luke 23:44 for the veil being torn.

    Perhaps you should start your own blog and expose those things ‘less obvious’. But, I suggest you get all your facts straight before doing so.

  511. Mike says:

    Craig, Thank you so much for printing my comments despite the inaccuracies, which anyone can check for themselves, and find that you are right – it’s a demonstration that we can all make mistakes through lack of care. The important thing is to be grateful when those mistakes are pointed out, which I am. I could have repeated them!

    My comments were in no way intended to denigrate your site or efforts, for which I am also very grateful. The cost to you in entering into this debate must be high. Bless you. Bless you for being diligent in checking things out.

    I can’t comment on the last two points of the first paragraph, but I am grateful for the links you included. What you received as a prophecy was actually a statement born of experience in dealing with deception.

    The fact that schizo is used in Mark does make a huge difference to the impression that I had when I compared the baptismal accounts in only Matthew and Luke, failing to notice Mark, with the accounts of the veil being torn. It means that Bill was not deliberately lying, but if you listen to the teaching in question, you will understand why I came away with that impression. Even the word schizo does not have the inherent meaning that Bill suggests in his teaching in order to justify the significance of the event to him.

    Mike

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