By Whose Power Does Bill Johnson Perform Healings?

“What have I done? This guy thinks he hobbled in here…wait until he tries to walk out!”1

- Bill Johnson, 2009

Let me state from the outset that I’m not a cessationist.  God still does perform the miraculous in this day and age.  Frankly, I don’t see how anyone can take an honest look at 1st Corinthians 12-14 and deduce that somehow these gifts of the Spirit are not for today.  However, having stated this, I must admit in having difficulty with continuationism given all the excesses I’ve seen/read about.  I am in a sort of mediated position believing it’s the Spirit who gives to each one “just as He determines” [12:11; NIV 1984] on an individual and case by case basis.

God can heal through elders of a local church praying over and anointing with oil the afflicted individual [James 5:14-15].  He can heal through the fervent prayers of the saints.  He can heal through praise.  He can heal through the hand of the skilled (and, even the not-so-skilled) physician or surgeon.

But, does the enemy heal?  There are purported accounts of healing in the Eastern religions.  There are also claimed healings in Santeria and other religious traditions.  There have long been accounts of healing in Christian Science, New Thought and Unity.2

Bill Johnson on Healing: The Long and the Short of It

Bill Johnson, of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, in his 2009 book Release the Power of Jesus recounts a few instances of healing regarding legs that were purportedly either too long or too short compared to the other.  The first account involves a contractor who had broken his left leg 25 years prior resulting in the injured leg ‘healing’ and somehow remaining 1.5 inches longer than the other.  The gentleman asked Johnson if he’d ever seen a leg shrink.3

Recalling a purported prior healing of a pastor who was injured in a snowmobile accident in which the clergyman had a similar problem, Johnson responded to the contractor in the affirmative (it’s not specified whether it was the formerly broken or the presumably uninjured leg of the pastor that was shrunk).4 

Johnson explains his resultant thought process at the time just prior to the attempted healing of the contractor:

…Then I paused for a moment and a thought occurred to me, “Should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg?  Most people wouldn’t mind being a little bit taller.”  I caught him (and myself) completely off guard when I said, “Right leg, grow in Jesus’ name.”

The right leg began to grow out slowly.  Then all of a sudden it shot out past the other leg three or four inches and the guy screamed in pain!  It was as though years of growing pains were hitting him all at once.  On the outside I’m sure I looked very calm, but on the inside I was wondering, “What have I done!  This guy thinks he hobbled in here…wait until he tries to walk out!” 5

Recall that the ‘now-healed’, but formerly injured leg was already 1.5” too long (not sure how this could be understood as “healed”).  This means that Johnson’s initial attempt at healing resulted in a normal-sized leg increased to 4.5” to 5.5” beyond its normal length.

Notice all the “I” phrases: “Should I shrink the long leg,” “when I said,” “What have I done!”  Is Bill Johnson claiming this botched healing for himself?  Perhaps Johnson really meant it was he himself being used as a vehicle through which God worked?  Of course, Johnson did say “in Jesus’ name” – if that’s any indication.

There are a number of options I can think of regarding this ‘healing’:

1)      It truly was the Holy Spirit working through Johnson
2)      It was Johnson himself
3)      It was the enemy working through Johnson
4)      It was Johnson’s imagination
5)      Johnson was stretching the truth, as it were

Personally, I have a hard time with #1 as I find it very difficult to believe that God would inflict pain, especially to the point an individual would scream out as such, in the process of divine healing.  As to numbers 2 through 5, I’ll let the reader decide.

Continuing this account:

I began to search my heart to figure how to pray when I remembered studying the word shalom.  It means “peace.”…soundness of mind, health, prosperity…I thought, “This situation has to be covered in that word.”  So I prayed, “And now Lord, just let the shalom of Heaven, your peace, rest upon this man.”  His right leg then shrank back to perfectly match the other one…6

So, after the contractor screams in pain because of the previously non-broken right leg’s sudden burst in length in response to Johnson’s initial attempt at healing, the leg subsequently responds to Johnson’s “shalom” prayer and shrinks back to match the man’s left leg.  This would indicate that the normal-sized leg was now 1.5″ longer, resulting in the man now 1.5″ taller.  Was this second healing a true divine healing while the first attempt was not?  But, note this ‘healing’ didn’t involve doing anything to the ‘now-healed’ but formerly injured 1.5″ too long leg.  Also, the man purportedly specifically asked if Johnson had ever shrunk a leg. 

Bill Johnson recounts another leg length disparity healing which purportedly occurred six months after the contractor’s.  In this case, a 27 year old woman with back problems told of how she had a metal rod put in the place of a cancerous bone which was removed when she was 15.  The account does not specify whether it was the femur or the tibia/fibula.  The rod was made such that the leg would be one inch longer than the other one on the assumption that the unaffected leg would grow to the size of the one with the metal rod.  Unfortunately, the woman did not grow any taller.7  Johnson relates his methodology on this particular healing:

Because of my recent experience, for which God covered me, I took her leg and commanded the one with the metal rod to shrink.  It yielded to the command…8

Note his words, “for which God covered me.”  Is Johnson admitting that the initial botched healing of the contractor was done by himself rather than God?  It would appear that way.  Given that it apparently was not God involved in the initial attempt at healing the contractor, which of the remaining options – numbers 2 through 5 above – do you think applies?  Or, is there yet another option I’ve just not considered?

[Note: some verbiage has been added for clarity on 07/13/13.]

1 Johnson, Bill. Release the Power of Jesus. 2009, Destiny Image “Speaking the Purposes of God for this Generation and the Generations to Come,” Shippensburg, PA; p 107.  Ellipse in original, emphasis added.
2 McConnell, D. R. A Different Gospel. 1988 (4th printing, 1991), Hendrickson, Peabody, MA; pp 30, 44-48
3 Johnson, pp 106-07
4 Johnson, pp 106-07
5 Johnson, p 107.  Ellipse in original; bolding added.
6 Johnson, p 107.  Bolding from italicized original.
7 Johnson, p 108
8 Johnson, p 108.  Bolding from italicized original. 

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384 Responses to By Whose Power Does Bill Johnson Perform Healings?

  1. Pingback: By Whose Power Are Healings Performed? | KevStar.us

  2. Bill Fawcett says:

    “I find it very difficult to believe that God would inflict pain, especially to the point an individual would scream out as such, in the process of divine healing.”

    I’d leave that up to God, who has a history of inflicting pain (ask Jesus). But I find the rest of the story rather odd – why would Johnson have to ponder ““Should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg?” That reveals involvement / power beyond the power of God, as if it were up to Johnson. A simple “be healed in Jesus’ name” might have been more appropriate.

  3. Marc Metz says:

    The “I” in Bill Johnson’s comments is alarming to say the least. This feeds the unbelieveable disturbing “man worship” found amongst the innocent youth flocking to Bethel Church from around the world like the “Pied pipers of modern day New Age Revelation”.Even older folks are caught up in the “guru worship” nature of the leadership of Bethel Church. In 2007 a doctor of Chiropractic told me personally here in Redding that he could hardly wait until Bill Johnson was given “special revelation knowledge” on how to live in divine health consistently so this doctor could not suffer from the long list of health issues he was having at that time. My first reaction was this man is showing signs of “cultic” man worship. Never corrected from the pulpit at Bethel Church but only incouraged through other teachings. But Bill himself and his teachings have claimed for the past several years that at some time in the future God was going to give him the “Kingdom Keys’ of how to walk in divine health and that he would break this new revelation to his church so this sets up his worshippers like this Dr. Chiropractor to follow him always anticipating some new specfial revelation only given to Bill.This is the essence of cultism worship.

    It is no surprise if you visit first hand to see the euphoric nature of the youth and how they go to extremes in worshipping with extreme clapping, jumping up and down and screaming or yelling when these men appear to speak at their church or BSSM school in Redding, California.Out in the Redding city culture they mingle often speaking or gesturing the “cultic worship” they follow these leaders at Bethel. The sad state of affairs there at Bethel Church is the spiritual support to “guruism” found in the teaching of ” a culture of honor” which actually paves the way for a person’s consciousness to be set free to worship and stay strong in following these leaders under the false twisted teaching of “giving honor” to them for their so called exploits and unique special Kingdom revelation teachings and their claim to be God’s endtime Apostles and Prophets being part of the “New Aportolic Reformation movement”. In fact if you don’t come under their authority in this area as such they believe no church can be blessed in the supernatural here in Redding.The spiritual “money making marketing” of selling “special revelation” to the innocent who come to Bethel Church will go down in church history as one of the greatest ever witnessed in these perilous deceiving last days.The private high expensive personal retreats to a select few found at Bethel is also further proof that their special revelation and prophetic gifting is “for sale”. Can anyone say “New Age!”

  4. Craig says:

    Bill,

    Thanks for your input. I dunno; I see Jesus Christ’s substitutionary Atonement as different from a divine healing as such. While it may not be beyond the realm of possiblity that God would inflict physical pain in the process of divine physical healing, I can’t recall offhand any Biblical accounts of this.

    Yes, Johnson’s account is very odd. In D. R. McConnell’s book A Different Gospel, the author’s thesis regarding E. W. Kenyon, the REAL father of Word of Faith, “is that in his attempt to help the church respond to the ‘challenge’ of the cults [Christian Science, New Thought, etc.], Kenyon ‘absorbed’ metaphysical concepts in order to restore healing ministry to the church” [p 30]. McConnell essentially asserts that Kenyon took a pragmatic approach to healing in order to grow the Church since members were leaving for Christian Science, New Thought and Unity churches in part because of healings, signs and wonders. I wonder if there’s a connection here.

  5. I recall in the early 70’s when the leg lengthening fad began. I think my former pastor sincerely believed, and he would have people sit in a chair to check their legs. But if you try it, it is very easy to shift your hips to move your legs in or out. I think it is done unconsciously, while the person is thinking about the leg lengthening. And even getting your heels even when you first sit down takes effort, when both legs are the same length. I believe in healing, but never saw a change in someone who noticeably limped prior to prayer. It’s usually wishful thinking on everyone’s part. But that pastor, and a large part of his congregation are now into the whole Bethel, IHOP stuff, and sending their kids to BSSM instead of college. Fortunately, my current Pastor, who is a Spirit filled, non cessationist, seminary trained, Biblical scholar, and once participated in the leg lengthening fad, began to analyze it, and all the other manifestations, and found most invalid. He believes in healing, prays for it frequently, sees it occasionally, but has rejected the charismania, and all its’ word-faith and other ways to attempt to manipulate the sovereignty of God. Bible based sermons on the topic can be found on gracevalley.org.

  6. Bob Scruggs says:

    We had a leg lenghting sevice in our church in the Washington DC are in the 1970s people lined up for this so called special God thing myself included I thought my right leg grew about 2 inches but maybe my shoe was moved which is a trick these guys use.
    Of course we had many sick people that God did not heal that day ,matter of fact one of the assistant pastors that had been in the missonary field in the jungles of South America for 2 years died of cancer several months later that attended the service He was just 30 years old and left behind his wife and 2 children I guess God was too busy with the leg pulling to notice those who realy needed healing.
    years later after an accident my Doctor told me that my right leg was longer than my left which is normal for most people.Gee, Just think how the so called deceptive preachers fool us in so many ways.
    Let them roast in Hell!

  7. Craig says:

    Virginia,

    Thanks for your comment. I agree with most, if not all, of what you wrote.

    Given that Bill Johnson makes the claim these people really did have leg length disparities which were alleviated upon Johnson’s healing, what do you make of the first botched healing in which the man’s previously uninjured leg “shot out past the other leg three or four inches and the guy screamed in pain!”? It is literally unbelievable to me. I don’t believe anyone can shift their hips enough to facilitate a 3 to 4 inch leg ‘growth.’ And, what of the purported “shalom” prayer ‘fix’ in which this leg which shot out past the other subsequently retracts to the size of the other which was initially 1.5 longer than the non-previously broken leg?

  8. Craig says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for your input. You wrote, I guess God was too busy with the leg pulling to notice those who realy needed healing. Do you think those making the leg length claims are actually telling fibulas; i.e, do you mean they’re stretching the truth? Is that the long and short of it?

  9. Bob Scruggs says:

    Either that or God doesn’t know His right from His Left!

  10. Craig, In BJ’s case, I think he is a lying showman, along with his buddies. I don’t know how much is self deceived narcissism for the sake of greed and adulation. And the angel feathers, etc. are planted, fraudulent gimmicks. It grieves me how they exploit the gullible saints. I recommend the DVD, Marjoe, available from Netflix, an Accademy Award winning documentary. It explains “slain in the spirit” and various other so-called manifestations.

  11. Bill Vollrath says:

    Bill Johnson does not operate under any supernatural power. It is hypnosis, mass hysteria and pure human gullibility that makes people believe he has some kind of power or annointing.

  12. cheryl u says:

    I find that whole leg healing story unbelievable myself. When God healed someone in the Bible it seemed it was usually instantaneous. In a few cases it was a process–like the blind man that “saw men like trees walking”. But we certainly never see a case where a person was made considerably worse first and had great pain inflicted on them in the process!

    And another thing is this whole “process” people go through to produce a healing, even going to school at Bethel or other places to learn how to heal. I find Johnson’s thought processes very troubling, figuring out how he should go about healing the man instead of praying in Jesus name or laying hands on the man and bringing God’s healing like the Bible speaks of.

  13. Could it be the power of Satan that heals? I haven’t seriously studied this Biblically, so these are my ideas, which are subject to change if Scripture shows otherwise. I don’t think Satan is capable of creating, for example body parts, or portions of parts. Col 1:16. But he can remove that which he put on someone, such as a disease. So there are some instances where Satan “heals.” That is probably common in false religions around the world, to persuade its adherents. In Christian churches, Christ might get the credit, and what gain is that to Satan? Rather, it might better serve the devil to cause people to lose their faith when their claimed healing returns, and he would also be served by the ridicule of unbelievers to those testimonies. So false healing, through self deception or outright fraud, better serves Satan. And he gets great glee from the scandals that inevitably occur in the “healers” ministries, because it gives unbelievers more excuses to resist the gospel, and to rightly ridicule believers for their gullibility.

  14. Craig says:

    cheryl u,

    Yes, unbelievable as regards the 3 to 4 inch leg lengthening accompanied by screams of pain.

    I agree with your thoughts on the methodology Johnson employed as well as BSSM and similar schools.

  15. Craig says:

    Virginia,

    I just watched again the Marjoe documentary about a month ago with a friend who was fascinated seeing it for the first time. I’ve also recently watched some of Derren Brown’s stuff in which he shows some of the ‘tricks of the trade.’ I’m not 100% sure on Brown as to the source of his powers, though.

    I do agree it’s possible that Satan may be able to remove afflictions he’s put upon people. Thinking of Job, for example, given that Satan asked and received permission to afflict Job, could he also seek permission to heal and be granted this request? Is this what 2 Thess 2:9-12 is about, in part?

    I think if Christ were to get the credit for Satan’s healings (assuming this is possible) this would work quite well for Satan if this “Christ” is “another Spirit,” another “Jesus,” and a different gospel [2 Cor 11:4]. The individuals following this then would be unsaved, headed for the lake of fire with Satan — assuming they were not saved before.

    Is there such a thing as esoteric healing? I dunno for sure; but, I’m reminded of this quote which was used in the “Christ” in the New Age article. Note the last sentence:

    “The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished…The church must show a wide tolerance, and teach no revolutionary doctrines or cling to any reactionary ideas. The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.” – Alice A. Bailey, 1919 [The Externalisation of the Hierarchy]

    Bailey was a Theosophist/New Ager and her teachings provide much of the thrust for current New Age / New Spirituality teachings.

  16. Craig says:

    I just came across the following which I found of interest and appropriate to the current discussion: When Bethel Invades Your Church.

    My adult daughter recently became involved in New Age and native spirituality. After we had a few discussions and arguments over Christian beliefs and the practices of the New Age movement, she agreed to attend a local non-denominational church with me…

    To my surprise the Sunday sermons were less about Scripture and more about
    the “revival” happening in the town of Redding, California, where the message of Bill Johnson, senior pastor of Bethel Church, was being preached. I heard about the students of Pastor Johnson’s School of the Supernatural and how they are being trained to bring God’s power and healing to us. I heard sermons laced with invitations to try “soaking prayer” and experience “fire tunnels.” I saw a speaker in church “downloading and processing messages from God.” There were invitations to receive God’s power and impartations of healing and prophetic words…

    …One night a woman give a talk about some kind of inner healing ministry she did with people. When she was finished speaking my daughter said, “Mom, this is what I am learning at the [New Age] Healing Arts School; she is talking about what is in my book“.

    …Where does that leave me? After researching and experiencing it from a parishioner’s point of view, I find it full of man-made events and mystical occurrences. It troubles me enough to write this article and hope people will educate themselves on this subject. Many of the practices are taken from Shamanism and directly from pagan ceremonies. The ancient rituals hold some power and impart mesmerizing delusions

  17. Craig says:

    I’ve just made a slight substantive change to the article which adds a bit of clarity, I believe. It’s illustrated by the strikethrough and the word following.

  18. Virginia Nelson says:

    Bailey’s quote shows a method of going from orthodoxy to apostasy to heresy, and is what happened in most main line denominations who gradually left orthodoxy, present day seeker friendly, watered down evangelical churches who are starting to embrace the Rob Bell type heresies, and the Pentecostal churches, which have welcomed anyone who says “Praise the Lord,” without any discernment or even questioning. Start with what the people expect, keep the outer appearances, and lightly sprinkle in the false with the truth. Right now we have wishy-washy evangelicals, swishy main-liners, mystic Catholics, manic Charismatics, daffy date-setters and occult cults, from New Age to Mormonism, all calling themselves “Christian.”

    I think the key words in 2 Thes. 2 are counterfeit and delusion. Those healings are not true miracles of GOD. The Pharaoh’s prophets seemed to do the miraculous through Satan. But they didn’t pretend to be from the God of Moses. In churches, they are still attributed to Christ, although the minister seems to take most of the credit, unless pressed. I can easily see how the prophesies, dreams, signs and wonders play into Satan’s hand as the congregations buy into the false teachings along with the staged and counterfeit manifestations, which give the teachers credibility, however they are accomplished. And the emotion based, Biblically illiterate, blind and itchy-eared sheep follow to the slaughter. And I would follow right along, but for the grace of God.

  19. Craig says:

    Interestingly, Bailey claimed to have been orthodox at one point but then changed to Theosophical teachings of Helena P. Blavatsky (whose teachings came out around the time as New Thought in 1875 or so). By the time of Bailey’s admittedly channelled writings, she was definitely into the occult/esoteric and had denounced Christianity. The point is, the goal was to infiltrate the Christian church with teachings having a Christian veneer but which are actually occult. And, I do believe these forces of darkness have succeeded in this endeavor.

    I do believe you are correct re: counterfeit miracles; i.e, this does not mean they are not acual miracles, but that they are not of GOD.

    And I would follow right along, but for the grace of God. AMEN to that!

  20. Virginia Nelson says:

    Because of the gullibility of the laymen, and even their pastors, who are caught up in this whole signs and wonders stuff, I’ve found it useless to question the strange manifestations, or even the methods. Once they have bought in they are loyal to a fault. But some of the ones I know personally seem to still truly love the Lord, and the Word. So I continue to risk being de-friended. The only thing that causes them to even pause are quotations from their guru’s alongside Scripture which contradicts the quote. And then they say the quote was taken out of context. Please highlight those contradictions in your site, giving lengthy quotes and verses, so I can keep trying. I depend on the research of you, and others like you, to help me. Thanks!

  21. Craig says:

    Keep in mind that this is all very powerful spiritually. I closed the “Christ” in the New Age article with the following:

    ____________________________________________________________
    In my opinion, by distorting the Christian faith, specifically the person of Jesus Christ, the New Age/occult is not only trying to “transcend” Christianity (its primary goal with respect to Christianity), it wants to deny seekers the true salvation through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and/or to render Christians ineffective by the resulting confusion.

    20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen [Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV 1984]

    The following is how it is really going to end:

    20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. [Romans 16:20, NIV 1984]

    12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” [Revelation 22:12-13, NIV 1984]
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Speaking the Truth is always the best method; but, it’s the Spirit who convicts.

    On a positive note, there are some who comment on here, and other sites listed on the CrossWise blogroll, who were formerly caught up hypercharismaticism. There IS hope! Your efforts are not in vain. If you’ve not read Kevin Reeves’ book The Other Side of the River, I highly recommend it for perspective on what it’s like to lose friends caught up in the “movement.” It’s primarily for those coming out of the movement.

  22. cheryl u says:

    That book by Kevin Reeves is great. I add my recommendation to Craig’s.

  23. Marc Metz says:

    Todays 7/24/11 Redding Record Searchlight Main Headline reads
    Bethel Likely To Run Auditorium Subtitled City Urged To Strike deal with Church

    Mt 7:21
    ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
    heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    Mt 7:22
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name,
    and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?
    Mt 7:23
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that
    work iniquity[lawlessness]

    In this verse Jesus does not say that these gifts of the prophetic, deliverence [discerning of spirits] and wonders[ supernatural signs and wonders] were from the devil. He allowed the connection to His Name. He did not refute that.What he was rejecting was the lawlessness of doing the supernatural at the persons will and not the Spirit’s will. It appears to me Johnson by the “I’ does this on his own by faith and will in Jesus Name.Most in the divine healing movement of the past century ended up dieing of sickness or severe tradegy or passed with addictions and/or bankruptcy with ministries in trouble. The extreme low percentage of successful endings to these leaders who seek to be known as divine healers is absolutely not on their side. One has to ask the question where was the Father’s divine unmerited unearned undeserved favor at the ending of these healers? Knowing the Word of God is key in helping the elect stay with the Lord and not going astray due to signs and wonders no matter what or who is behind them.

    1Co 12:7
    But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal.
    1Co 12:8
    For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the
    word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit:
    1Co 12:9
    to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the
    one Spirit;
    1Co 12:10
    and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to
    another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to
    another the interpretation of tongues:
    1Co 12:11
    but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one
    severally even as he will.

    AS HE WILL!

    I fully believe that these events,miracles signs and wonders of the supernatural are mixture of both in the Name of Jesus and the enemy at work at times and very hard to separate or spiritually discern to such an extent that even those with Word based discernment could be led astray. By this newest headline one can see the huge amount of money now flowing into this Charismania[extremely bad doctrines] here in Redding!
    Mt 24:20
    And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath:
    Mt 24:21
    for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of
    the world until now, no, nor ever shall be.
    Mt 24:22
    And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved:
    but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
    Mt 24:23
    Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here; believe it
    not.
    Mt 24:24
    For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great
    signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
    Mt 24:25
    Behold, I have told you beforehand.
    Mt 24:26
    If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not
    forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not.
    Mt 24:27
    For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the
    west; so shall be the coming of the Son of man.

    so if they say the ANOINTING is at Bethel Church because there is some kind of open heavens for healing and the supernatural and the manifested presence of God dont believe it says the Lord

  24. Craig says:

    Marc,

    “Coincidentally” this morning before I left for a few errands I was reading a bit of Gordon Fee’s excellent commentary The First Epistle to the Corinthians [NICNT] and specifically 12:3 which adds weight to some of what you wrote specifically the Matthew 7:21-23 verses. The following helped clear up some of my own confusion:

    Paul’s insistence that “no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” has…troubled later readers, since it would seem possible for anyone to say these words at will. But that misses the radical nature of this confession for the earliest Christians. The use of “Lord” in such a context meant absolute allegiance to Jesus as one’s deity and set believers apart from both Jews, for whom such a confession was blasphemy, and pagans especially those in the cults, whose deities were called “lords.” Thus this became the earliest Christian confession, tied in particular to Jesus’ having been raised from the dead and therefore having become the exalted One. Paul’s point, of course, is that just as formerly they had been “led about and carried away” to mute idols [ed: v 2], so now one who is possessed by the Spirit of the living God is led to the ultimate Christian confession: “Jesus (the crucified one) is (by his resurrection) Lord (of all the universe).” As in [First Corinthians] 2:10-13, only one who has the Spirit can truly make such a confession because only the Spirit can reveal its reality.

    Because of its less than clear relationship to the rest of chaps. 12–14, especially for those whose chief interest in this section is in learning about spiritual gifts, this paragraph [vv 1-3] is generally passed over quickly. But if our interpretation is correct, then it continues to stand as a particularly important word for the church, in which many of these spiritual phenomena are recurring. The presence of the Spirit in power and gifts makes it easy for God’s people to think of the power and gifts as the real evidence of the Spirit’s presence. Not so for Paul. The ultimate critenion of the Spirit’s activity is the exaltation of Jesus as Lord. Whatever takes away from that, even if they be legitimate expressions of the Spirit, begins to move away from Christ to a more pagan fascination with spiritual activity as an end in itself. [1987, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 581-82. Emphasis added]

    This seems to correlate to Matthew 7:21-23.

  25. Craig says:

    Marc,

    Going back to your comment of July 22, 9:43am, I wish to comment on this statement:

    In 2007 a doctor of Chiropractic told me personally here in Redding that he could hardly wait until Bill Johnson was given “special revelation knowledge” on how to live in divine health consistently so this doctor could not suffer from the long list of health issues he was having at that time.

    Why would this chiropracgtor have to wait for Johnson’s ‘”special revelation knowledge” on how to live in divine health’ when he could just have Johnson himself or a graduate from BSSM provide his healing?

  26. Peter says:

    I’ve just come across this thread, and I’m quite willing to put money on Johnson either being an outright liar or just deluded (liars often end up believing their lies). As others have mentioned, leg-lengthening is a favorite party trick for faith healers, and there are probably a dozen different ways of doing it (not just the one Derren Brown exposed on his recent UK TV show). I too have watched Marjoe and would recommend it to anyone who has had contact with charismatic or pentecostal churches. It shows the way hypnosis and psychology can make people attribute their experiences to God or the Holy Spirit, when in reality what’s happening is just mind trickery. Incidentally, Derren Brown has no “power” whatsoever and will readily admit that – he’s just a master of mental manipulation.

    Have you noticed how all the healings testified to in a church are invariably “internal” things that can’t be seen, but the real miracles, with some claimed physical effect, always lack details and often happen in a far-off countries. Notice how BJ doesn’t give any names – you would have thought that someone who had been healed like would be quite happy to give a few words of testimony. I certainly would! There is such a track record of fraud when it comes to healing that I think a suspicious approach is needed to avoid being deceived.

    The popularity and influence of BJ really worries me, to be honest.

    I have similar views to Craig when it comes to miracles. I would agree that a cessationist interpretation of the Bible is hard to justify, but equal, genuine miracles and miraculous gifts are absent from church history. Likewise, I have yet to come across anyone in the pentecostal and charismatic movements who has claimed to have gifts but hasn’t been either a conman or genuinely deceived. In fact, I am becoming increasing convinced that the foundations of these movements – baptism/filling of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues – are just man-made emotional experiences. And if you take away the foundations, the whole building collapses. This is why no-one in the pentecostal movement is willing to speak out against the obvious conmen like Benny Hinn – because what he does is basically the same as what happens in thousands of local churches throughout the world.

  27. Marc Metz says:

    Hi Craig,

    To anwser that is simple as this Dr. had many various health issues. He was putting his faith on a man and that man’s revelations and gifting not on Jesus Christ. He may have or may not have experienced some healing results by the laying on of hands from BSSM students. He did not mention or discuss any healing he might have experienced in the past he was just all caught up in 2007 with his present aliments and condition.Most of the so called healings that I witnessed at Bethel up to 2007 came through words of knowledge spoken out during meetings from the pulpit through Bill johnson then people standing by were asked to pray over those who raised their hands in response to the specific aliment spoken to from the pulpit. If a manifestation occured that individual was asked sometimnes to testify of their healing right then and thetre to the cngregation.Huge emotions of the crowd always resulted. I remember only that the Dr.’s physical appearance was to me that he truly was a very sick looking individual.The greek is “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ [ASV Romans 10:17]” not by ones faith in man and their gift of healing and the revelation of man. Look that verse up in the greek. This Dr. partook of many supplements and sold various supplements to his patients.He was trying at that time to get help by any means possible but was snookered into following Johnson’s future revelations as promised by Johnson himself to the congregationTo teach this way is to me a form of manipulating a following by promising future revelation which is cultic in nature for control over people looking to that person for help.

    What I hear on the street now is that many at Bethel go to either this Chiropracter for help or some other Chiropracter for the tune of a fee of $3,500 for 8 weeks of treatments as a personal friend of ours who attends Bethel went to a Redding Chiropracter because he told us many at Bethel referred this doctor to him and pay that huge fee.I would assume but could be wrong to assume that to afford that kind of fee some would be leaders at Bethel who now can afford this kind of money because of the huge amounts of money flowing into Bethel at this time.There are people who move here from around the world and get their healing at Bethel and stay here. There are people who move here and don’t get their healing at Bethel and die. There are people who visit here and get their healing here and return home and their aliment returns and they die or are sick again with the same thing.All the Bethel leaders go to doctors of some kind and Johnson was in the hospital for something a few years ago. Healing is not a guarantee just because one moves here to attend Bethel or go to BSSM school or go to their healing rooms. Keeping one’s healing is keeping their eye’s upon Jesus Christ not a divine healer who promotes himeself with the “I”

    Now back to Matt 7:21-23 and the topic of “I” and who does the healing?

    Jesus put all these kind or type of power gifted leaders or miracle workers into a catagory of “many” and “we” but you and I know we all stand before the Lord individually not as a group of “many” so one can accurately replace the “we” with did not “I” prophecy or did not “I” cast out devils or did not “I” do mighty wonders in your name. Yes I understand the Lord Lord as you mention that aspect but again Jesus did not refute the results “in Jesus Name”. I contest that these indivduals DO NOT have the revelation of the gift of righteousness as if they did they would NEVER say “I” when seeking to perform miracles of any kind.This is the result “you are in lawlessness [NKJ]” and commanded to depart from Him how awful is that? Lawlessness is interpreted as iniquity in the KJ.When one is in lawlessness of self righteousness thinking that somehow it is by your own hand these miracles happen in any subtle deceiving form the Lord’s grace has fallen off that person Gal 5:4 but the gifts are given without repentance [Romans 11:29] and results still happen.Gal 3:1-5 speaks of in context of working miracles among the Saints is through hearing of faith [again Romans 10:17] through the Spirit not the “flesh”. Thus we see so many of these divine healers ending up corrupted in their ending in one form or another over the past 100 years of this divine healing history not revelaing a manifestation of God’s grace on in or over their lives and ministries.Grace is a person not a doctrine and grace and truth in the greek is singular and cannot be separated. The strange doctrines these divine healers hold to and some even concerning the Deity of Christ reveal they don’t know the fulness of the Cross! This is a very serious issue the “I” or flesh [Gal 3:5] with so called divine healers in Jesus name today.The gift is something one has to give Acts 3:6 not something termed “I”. The Spirit does and is the healer always Gal3:1-5] we are just the delivery person it is always totally His righteousness not ours. He gets all the glory for His Cross.

  28. There was a real fad for leg-lengthening years ago. Almost every meeting somebody would perform this “trick”. I’m not saying God couldn’t make somebody’s leg the right length but it gets a bit too much when almost all those who ask for healing have to be checked for uneven legs. I remember being told that healers often do it because it’s so easy to manipulate a person’s hips to make it look as if something has happened.

    As to this Bill Johnson account, it stands out as all Bill and all pride and – well – as nonsense. The giveaway was this “Then I paused for a moment and a thought occurred to me, “Should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg?” First, the minister isn’t doing anything at ALL, it’s God – and second, God doesn’t make mistakes. Can you imagine Jesus scratching his head and wondering what to do, and which leg to heal? And then doing the wrong one! It’s ludicrous.

    However, put on a good show and you are bound to attract a big following.

  29. peacebringer says:

    The whole nature of healing, spent some time looking into at the time of Todd Bentley and the whole question of whether or not it is Biblical to heal. Lost the website/blogs found examining some things, primarily the pool of Bethesda and whether there could be healing brought by “angels/demons” and came to conclusion yes. Note that witches/witch doctors, shamanism and so on all offer “healing” and even is within yoga.

    Do some research on kundalini and will find that it has some healing properties. Some of it is physical properties of reversing nerve flow, the rest is demonic. There are very real things that go on with Reiki as well. I even came a cross a website from a satanist described satanic healing. So the conclusion was a sound yes.

    Now as to bethel, I believe there are some seducing spirits at work.
    Leg lengthening I will usually think of as a con and have heard others having used such techniques in healing services (cough agnus b. cough)

    So here is the deal. There are danger spiritual things that occur, there is genuine things where God moves for his will, and there is manipulation/illusion/deception.

  30. Marc Metz says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zDV1UpwWGU recommended Joseph Prince on the subject here at hand here

  31. Peter says:

    To Tricia, you said,

    “I remember being told that healers often do it because it’s so easy to manipulate a person’s hips to make it look as if something has happened.”

    I agree completely. The only “miracles” you see are those that can be easily faked. This is why I have massive doubts regarding pentecostalism (and the charismatic movement). The “proof” of their theology is the gift of tongues, and that is also something that can be faked. Making faking isn’t the right word, as in most cases it happens subconsciously, but the end result is still fake. And if tongues are fake, then the whole movement is fake. Think of the implications of that!

  32. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    I have in my library a Lucis Trust/Alice A. Bailey book titled Esoteric Healing [1953 (1977 3rd paperback)] with over 700 pages of info including “magnetic healing” such as reiki. Under the section “The Psychological Causes of Disease” is a subsection “Diseases Due to the Life of Discipleship” (discipleship of demons) and under that The Diseases of the Mystics and here’s a selection:

    The first cause which I listed earlier in the treatise was summed up in the statement that disease is the result of the blocking of the free life and the inpouring energy of the soul. This blockage is brought about by the mystic when he succumbs to his own thoughtforms, created constantly in response to his mounting aspiration. These become barriers between him and the free life of the soul and block his contact and the consequent resulting inflow of soul energy.

    The disciple reverses the entire situation and falls a victim (prior to the third initiation) to the terrific inflow of soul energy [ed: from "higher" sources]… [p 115]

    The third initiation is the one in which the aspirant has his third eye opened and receives the “terrific voltage” of Kundalini energy. See “Christ” in the New Age under “Jesus of Nazareth/Master Jesus” section, item 3 titled “Transfiguration on Mount Carmel.”

    So, the ‘solution’ is the “MORE,” the extra anointings, or initiations — not that each anointing is tantamount to the next initiation necessarily. However, the further up the chain of initiations, according to this esoteric teaching, the less susceptible one is to succumbing to disease. In fact, you can actually be more susceptible to certain sicknesses unless you receive the higher initiations as Bailey makes it clear above.

  33. IWTT says:

    I remember back in the late 70’s early 80’s when I first came into contact with the teachings of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (from Dennis Bennetts books, I was Episcopalian then) and it seemed like there was a whole lot of this leg lengthening. (whole different story how I got into a healing ministry)

    I myself prayed for a few folks and saw what seemed to be true leg lengthening miracles. It seemed to be the common prayer for people who had lower back issue (pain). I guess it was more of trying to be a “chiropractor” without manual adjusting/manipulation physically.

    Course, now, I look back and think was any of that real. I was pretty naive about these things then so I certainly thought they were real. BUT, they were also temporary. Usually the person was back for prayer for the same issue.

    But this article is about BJ and who is really doing the healing. Seems to me that if he is using the “I” in his statements then maybe he might as well call himself the messiah. Any personal claims to anything that could possibly be from God is wrong and puts the miracle ability on ones self….

  34. Peter, I can understand your skepticism and indeed a LOT of what is seen in public is fakery or even demonic in origin, but your litmus test is open to question. What if the gift of tongues in some cases is genuine and really does happen among born-again believers? Your argument would then have to be “if tongues is real, then the charismatic movement as a whole might have some validity” or at the very least, the biblical gifts of the Spirit have not come to an end.

    In any case, it’s only in classic denominational Pentecostalism that tongues is “the sign” of baptism in the Spirit. In the Charismatic Movement it can be any gift of the Spirit or even none, but a changed life is the evidence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the abuses, but just pointing out the possibilities for a genuine experience.

  35. IWTT says:

    … but just pointing out the possibilities for a genuine experience.

    And this has been the point of contention for me since I became more reformed theologically and learned some of the theological mess that is in the church today. Was my experiences real that have occured in my walk with the Lord or not. If I were to tell you my original experience of tongues I would have to say yes, but after that, possibly only gibberish. I find that it is not necessary to my everyday life and if the Spirit of the Lord deems it neccesary then hopefully in a context of real need for a “foriegn language” to preach the gospel.

    Healing and all of the other gifts can be and I believe does occur as the need arises, but this whole idea of 1) training in a gift, such as healing as if it is the one special gift into ministry that you are called to, I don’t accept that. Same as with being trained to prophecy or any other gifting. The scriptures are quite clear that it is as the Spirit wills not as we will.

    So my conclusion i sthat looking back at what I have experienced for the past 40+ years I have indeed seen God do marvelous things, but yes, there have been abuses and even on my part (leading to repentence) operating in the flesh.

  36. Peter says:

    Tricia / IWTT,

    I said I have massive doubts, but I am still open to the gifts of the spirit.

    I’ve been in pentecostal and charismatic circles (but God has graciously kept me away from the extremes) for 25 years. And in the last few years, I have become a bit of a sceptic. The things that have brought this on include – the fact that all the leaders are either deluded or crooked, the absence of genuine miracles, the complete lack of discernment (surely this gift would be something that the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit would bring about, but I see non-charismatics having far more of it!), the unbiblical teaching, the constant need for innovation, and, yes, the realisation that tongues is gibberish. I read a study by a linguist who had investigated speaking in tongues and found that pentecostal tongues are the same as tongues in non-christian religions!

    The foundation of everything is music. It effectively hypnotises people, or at the least induces an altered state of consciousness. And when people are in a trance, they can be manipulated to do or believe almost anything, and for them it is real. I see this everywhere, from historical accounts from 100+ years ago right through to today. It’s all based on emotional experiences that are nothing to do with God.

    The final turning point for me was the Lakeland revival of 2008. This was so obviously fake but it was endorsed by every charismatic and pentecostal leader, even when it fell apart. I realised that there was something deeply wrong.

    I simply can’t find any evidence to support the “continuationist” approach. Yes, there are some genuine and godly people around, but when I look at them objectively, I have to say that they are living in a fantasy world when it comes to spiritual gifts. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone, but it does seem to me that pentecostalism (and the charismatic movement) has been a complete deception from the start.

    I’d be very happy to be proven wrong if anyone can help me. I want to believe!

  37. Martin says:

    I’m reading some of this stuff with real interest. I’ve had personal experience of not being healed by God. I remember being in such excruciating pain that i was literally going in to hot and cold sweats. I cried out to God “please heal me” but guess what? No healing.

    So what conclusions have i drawn from this experience? God only heals on random occasions – when he’s perhaps in a good mood – or maybe when in his eternal wisdom he knows by doing so it will increase his glory on the earth. Or maybe he’s thinking well little one, you’ll get over it…after all it’s only a temporary situation. Or you could be like me and feel that God, who could heal me, in one moment, who came in the person of Jesus and healed many people – would maybe withhold the sweetness of his touch and watch me writhe in agony instead. If your a father and you have ever watched your children suffering, it isnt nice. Would i withhold the relief?

    So my sick body and the lack of healing in it can mean only the following.

    God is trying to teach me something through the torture and affliction.
    God is waiting for the right time to heal me.
    God isn’t interested in healing me, thats only for special occasions.
    God wants to heal my body fully but requires faith from me first.
    God wants to heal my body but needs to spin the wheel of healing luck first.

    To be honest i’ve been desperate. I’ve seen such a lack of conviction regarding healing from christians and from myself. And there was me thinking that in Jesus we have all we need for life and Godliness. The bottom line. Does God care what happens in my body or not [edit: the following is added by request of the comment author] or at least basing his work on some other factor we are unaware of?

    So if your theories are true. Demons at work in Bethel church are alleviating peoples illnesses but God is withholding healing or at least ?

    Or is it that the challenge is to seek God with all our hearts, and know that when we truly do that, we will be in such a place that God would entrust us with anything?

    I’m fed up with powerless christianity. When i have the promise that “whatsoever you pray for believe that you have recieved it and it will be yours”.

  38. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I really wish you were healed, and, given that you haven’t been, I wish I were able to provide you words of comfort at least. I’ve no idea why God chooses to heal some and not others. What do we make of individuals like Corrie Ten Boom who suffered extreme physical and emotional abuse? How about Joni Eareckson Tada? The Apostle Paul certainly suffered at the hands of his adversaries many different times. And, Paul was shipwrecked, left for dead and God allowed the “thorn in the flesh” as His “grace was sufficient.” I really don’t know why.

    God is sovereign and does/allows things that are beyond our comprehension. This much I do know: when we receive our glorified bodies, there will be no more sickness. You raise some good points/questions.

    Regarding Johnson in particular, I do believe the account in this particular post is categorically false: it’s either a fabrication or it’s a false “healing” of some sort. As regards Bethel, I do not have solid empirical evidence; but, I do know Scripture states we are to worship in Spirit AND Truth [John 4:24, 8:31-32, etc.]. Does God work in mixture? My opinion is that He may, i.e., He may, in His mercy, heal those who are not aware of the false teachings of Bethel. However, my opionion is that if one is taking a pragmatic approach, for whatever ends, as D. R. McConnell speaks of regarding E. W. Kenyon on healing, then I believe He will NOT heal as God will not be mocked. This, of course, does not necessarily mean a healing not of God could not take place.

  39. Martin says:

    edit – or at least basing his work on some other factor we are unaware of.

  40. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’m not sure what you are referring to here. Can you explain?

  41. Martin says:

    Sorry let me clarify –

    So if your theories are true. Demons at work in Bethel church are alleviating peoples illnesses but God is withholding healing or at least ?

    edit – or at least basing his work on some other factor we are unaware of.

  42. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’ve not seen a single healing substantiated by solid evidence. I’ve heard accounts which may well be true. However, healings have been claimed ad nauseum (think Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley and the like); and, to my knowledge, not a single one has been proven. I remain skeptical.

  43. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’ve updated your original comment with an editorial note to explain.

  44. Peter says:

    Craig, your comments on the absence of healings from Hinn and Bentley is exactly what I’ve observed. The same is true for everyone else who has claimed to have a healing ministry. So I asked myself why. As I said in my previous email, it’s all down to hypnotism. Hypnotism has a pain-relieving effect, so people believe that they’ve been healed. The effect wears off in a few hours, maybe a day or two at most. That’s all. No God, no demons, just the brain playing tricks on you.

    I’d love to believe that God is out there healing people. But the claims of the faith healers have been repeatedly proven to be false. It’s with regret that I have to say that they are all liars who exploit the vulnerable for their own financial gain.

    Martin, I’m sorry about your situation. The evidence is that supernatural healing is a very rare event. I pray that the Lord will comfort you in your distress.

  45. Craig says:

    Peter,

    I’ve mentioned briefly once or twice in comments on other articles here that I myself have been healed. It wasn’t by anyone else praying for me (not that I’m aware), not by the laying on of hands, etc. My best explanation is that it was by praise. Let me explain briefly.

    I used to be an avid runner and beginning in my late 20’s (I’m now 50) I began experiencing pain in both knees. I could not bend down without a bit of knee pain. It got worse to the point that my knees would “creak” when I would get back up from bending down on one or both knees and going up and down stairs was a bit painful. Sometimes one of my knees would “give out.” Since I really enjoyed running, I’d try at various times to get back into it; but, each time the pain would prevent me from continuing. I could even tell when there was going to be a change in the weather. I gave up for a time assuming I would potentially need knee surgery eventually.

    A little over four years ago, after reading a bit of Dr. Don Colbert’s Seven Pillars of Health, I decided to try again. I increased my intake of water as the book recommends (intaking 1/2 my body weight in ounces per day) and I cut out all sodas and desserts (and red meat) for one month while I began running — not much at all at first since I was out of shape (although only about 8 -10 pounds over my ideal weight as I’ve never been overweight).

    I increased the distance slowly and did not develop the usual additional knee pain. On the eve of Good Friday in 2007, I recall having my best run since my new regimen being able to go a bit further pain-free and feeling great! I began praising God (still running) and the words “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” came to my mind. I recognized it as Scripture; but, at the time, I did not know which book/chapter/verse. It was afterward that I realized that my knees no longer creaked as they used to. I can bend down on one or both knees, climb stairs, and do all the things I used to be able to do. I really cannot say at which point my knees had stopped the creaking. Was it before the eve of Good Friday, 2007? I really do not know.

    The next morning I “found” the Joel verse in my Scripture reading.

    And, this healing has continued even though I’ve gone through phases of eating junk food and drinking much less water than I should; so, I can’t attribute it to the additional water intake solely, if at all. Divine healing is the only answer. Praise God!

  46. peacebringer says:

    A the problem of why doesn’t God heal. This is really the cruxt of the issue. Martin your story is the same of many who look to God to answer a need of suffering and pain and do not get answer. We life in a world filled with pain and suffering as a consequence of the fall. Can God heal all, certainly. So why does God withhold? See the likes of foliks like Johnson and Agnus Buchanan, Hinn, Popoff, and others is the trade on the need for immediate relief. God offers something else, something different. Sure, he can and does heal. Sometimes that healing comes in death. Sometimes it comes in a change of mind and focus. My step-mom died to cancer. She had some healing for a time, but when cancer hit she was never the same. She did get healing, but yet God was faithful and she never waivered. See, here is the problem, when suffering and how we hurt becomes the focus, it is us we are focusing on. Then if God does not give me what I ask for, God must not be good because he allows for pain. There are folks who once having been in the fold adn following Jesus, leave because God doesn’t do what they want. Unlike Job, they choose to curse God and die as the option of God doesn’t allievate there current suffering. Note, that ultimately all the pain and suffering in the world is result of the fall. It is the consequences. It just is, until the whole of creation is redeemed and restored it will be the case. So, Martin, you are in a grand trial. One of great pain. I know people in my life who endure great pain every day. My mother beign a prime example. She suffered intense abuse, her body attacks her via immune system and see is now losing her sight. So in that situation did God ever stop being good or loving her even though have not removed her varying levels of pain. No rather, she works and grows and works each day to over come and transcend in submitting to God. Martin, I can only imagine your pain, but guess what, there is a time coming when it can and will be no more. Martin and others, please read an article I wrote: http://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/seven-spiritual-principles-for-transcending-suffering/ and may give you a different perspective. Drop me a note at any time and willing to discuss any of this with you. See and this gets to the cruxt. I describe what we live under as the tryanny of suffering, the world of pain. Note this, God put “suffering” into play. Yes, that is write. He is also the one that heals, but perhaps when God doesn’t heal from how we would expect there are other things at work. The question I would always have is what am I looking at, and am I willing to reject God because of distorted view of pain and elevated view of self, do I hook into claims of being able to alleviate that which is temporary and try and bring it to the now, or do I surrender to the Lord of Lord and King of Kings and embrace “yet though he slay me still I will follow.” I know my answer, how about the rest of you?

  47. Peter says:

    Craig, I would never deny that God can heal – he’s God after all. This may have happened in your case, or things do spontaneously resolve. The restorative powers of the human body (which God created) should never be underestimated. My argument is with the charismatics and pentecostals who claim to have the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. As I said before, is there is no evidence that a specific gift of healing exists today. Everyone who has claimed to have it has been a fraud. They say that speaking in tongues is proves that these gifts are available, but once you start looking into tongues, you conclude that it’s a product of the mind. So the foundation of their viewpoint has been removed, and it seems to me that the arguments for the cessationist position are overwhelming. Cessationism does not deny miracles, it says that sign gifts of the Holy Spirit (tongues, prophecy, healing, word of knowledge) have ceased. I would much rather take the opposite position, but there’s no evidence for it and a lot of evidence against it. With all this talk of evidence, I think I must have watched too much CSI!

  48. Craig says:

    Peter,

    I do not see Biblical evidence that the sign gifts have ceased. The question is, what is the “perfect” of 1st Cor 13:10? I don’t agree that the canon is the “perfect.”

    I do agree that it appears there are not individuals who have the gift of healing, etc. God is the healer and not the individual in any case, of course. And, I don’t totally discount tongues as potentially being genuine in very limited cases. I know of a guy — if he can be believed — who claims he spoke perfect Mandarin Chinese while on a mission trip to China (or another Chinese speaking country, I don’t recall which) even though he’s never learned the language. He told me that as a result of the “sermon” he preached over 100 came forward. If true, that would be an example of legitimate tongues. However, note that the Apostle Paul makes it clear that tongues is an inferior gift to prophecy (and others). And, my take is that prophecy is the forthtelling rather than the foretelling (forecasting the future) variety.

  49. Peter says:

    Craig, I agree with your reading of 1 Cor 13:10. That’s why I want to believe! But if the sign gifts haven’t ceased, why don’t we see them today? If the facts on the ground don’t support our theology, then there is a strong chance that our theology is wrong. I’m afraid that I take your story about someone speaking Mandarin with a big pinch of salt. It’s no different, in my view, to BJ’s story of the leg lengthening – almost certainly a fabrication. I’m sorry to be so sceptical, but my experience is that fraud is widespread and a cautious approach is necessary to avoid being deceived. The Bible tells us to be discerning. Remember Lakeland and the stories Todd told, including of resurrections – everyone got excited, but they were all lies.

  50. Craig says:

    Bentley was/is such an obvious fraud that I would not let his example sway me. I’m certain God does not work through someone whose theology is so aberrant, so all the claims I figured were either categorical fabrications or the work of the enemy.

    I agree about discerning; however, I also (want to) believe the whole counsel of Scripture. Therefore, I continue to believe in the gifts being for today. However, I do not interpret 1st Cor 12 as it’s individuals who have certain gifts for the duration of their ministry. For example, while I definitely do not consider myself as having the gift of healing, I do not discount the possibility that one day God would use me as a vehicle through which healing could occur. I see this as true for any of the other gifts.

  51. Peter says:

    I’d also add that the 100+ people responding makes me highly suspicious. I must have seen hundreds of newsletters from pentecostal evangelists telling me of all the salvations and miracles at their last crusade, and your story reads like it’s straight out of one of these. The loaded language post mentions the resurrections in Brazil that Bethel reported – this type of story-telling is commonplace. Don’t believe a word of it unless you have absolute proof.

  52. Craig says:

    I don’t see the 100+ respondents as being suspicious. As he told the account it was obvious to the audience that he could not speak Chinese as there was an interpreter for the group. His claim is that he himself was surprised by the responders as he was very nervous and thought he was speaking English and making a mess of his intended message. It was when the interpreter came up to him with this surprised look on his face and told him he spoke Mandarin Chinese that he found out.

    It’s OK to be discerning and skeptical; but, don’t let that have you turn a deaf ear to a possible legitimate demonstration of the gifts.

  53. Bob Scruggs says:

    I asked a pentecostal preacher about tongues…. do you really talk in tongues like Hebrew, German, French etc or do you just make strange noise hum…. he did not answer! However I do believe in a prayer language and use to use it alot but now I don’t due to the Tv preachers acting insane with tongues!

  54. Martin says:

    Very appreciative of all the responses and input. Not entirely convinced about the pain being a test from God theology. To me it conflicts with lots of the old testament and lots of the new.

    To me a summary of how God thinks is found in the blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience – i believe it is found in Deuteronomy Ch28.

    A portion of the curses section reads – The Lord will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron.

    So to me disease is a curse, not a blessing to make us more holy!

    Many many people quote Pauls ‘thorn in the flesh’ as being the proof that God uses illness to refine us. However, it is not clear that Pauls thorn is a physical illness. How do we know it wasn’t a temptation Paul was particularly vulnerable to?

    Another scripture that has often interested me is Psalm 103: Praise the LORD, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
    3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases.

  55. Craig says:

    There’s also Hebrews 12:1-13. I’m not saying it applies in your case necessarily, I’m just pointing out that God disciplines us. It is certainly possible that God uses physical affiction as one of the means of discipline.

  56. Martin says:

    So, if King David – who’s heart was after God, who lived before Jesus came and brought the new order of things. Was able to say who forgives all my sins, and heals all my diseases, why can we not say that today? Has God changed? Has God moved the Goal posts.

    There are many examples that i could give. These are a few.

    I’m not saying that God does not send suffering to people, but that is sometimes for disobedience e.g the Jezebel thing in Revelation.

    A question i often think of is when Jesus came – why did he have the intense desire to heal the sick. Why? I believe it is because that was the kingdom of God. In essense – a superior reality to the one that we are in.

    Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you. So, it really is a question of how we bring it out of ourselves.

    I feel from my own experiences, that healing is a massive battle within the mind. We are told to be transformed by the renewing of our mind – although the fullness of this i find difficult to understand.

    If you live a life completely yielded to the spirit why would God withhold your request? Isnt the promise of God to believe in what is humanly impossible and move mountains of impossibility?

  57. Martin says:

    It is possible, but again it is not very clear. What is clear is that the prayer said in faith will make a sick man well.

  58. Craig says:

    King David’s sin with Bathsheba had mulitple consequences including death of their child.

    I also want to point out that the Cross saved not just those who lived post-Cross as Hebrews 11 attests.

  59. Martin says:

    But how can we be cursed if we have been released from the curse?

  60. Craig says:

    It’s not being cursed. It’s a result of sin — a result of the fallen state of the world after The Fall.

  61. Craig says:

    The “curse” is the curse of the Mosaic Law of which Jesus set us free.

  62. Martin says:

    the curse of sin is death.

  63. Martin says:

    Anyway the point is that Jesus has set us free from both the Mosaic law and the curse(which is death) of the fall.

  64. Craig says:

    Yes, but the “death” is referring to eternity. Unfortunately, we will still have the results of The Fall until the full consummation of the Kingdom.

  65. cheryl u says:

    Martin,

    I only have a minute here literally as I am expecting company for dinner and have to get ready. Because of that I don’t have time to look up the NT references that come to mind.

    But Paul did tell Timothy to take a little wine because he was often not well. And Paul also speaks of leaving someone else sick when he went on to another place. Why weren’t these people healed? Particularly Timothy that obviously had some chronic health issues?

  66. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I am on an email list of daily devotionals from Walk Thru the Bible, and this came today:
    ____________________________________________
    Psalm 37

    The righteous will receive eternal life, while the wicked ultimately will be destroyed.

    INSIGHT
    Serving the Lord does not always pay temporal dividends. The righteous still experience misfortune, financial reversals, physical illnesses, natural disasters, and persecution. At the same time, the unrighteous often prosper, enjoying wealth, fame, honor, and health. David realizes God´s justice wins in the end. So do not be discouraged in doing right, even when the unrighteous prosper. Do not be tempted to copy them. “Depart from evil and do good” (v. 27). “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way” (v. 34). “Mark the blameless man” (v. 37). “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord” (v. 39).

    PRAYER
    Praise the Lord that while serving Him might cost us in “time,” it will reward us in “eternity:”
    Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.
    Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
    As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
    So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    Until He has mercy on us (Psalm 123:1-2).
    __________________________________________

    I hope this provides you some comfort and perspective.

  67. peacebringer says:

    Hey Martin,
    I hope you didn’t take any of my comments as pain being a “test for God.” I used “tryanny of suffering” for a reason and the condition of the world. The article I even posted a link for talks about “transcending suffering” not a test for growth. The whole of creation moans and is under a curse, we are under the consequences of sin, period.

    Now the question you pose is how can we be under “curse” is we are free from curse. Well Jesus has yet to restore all things. Bill Johnson makes it part of “our job” to bring “heaven to earth.” Jesus is the one that restores. And it is not that we are freed from righteousness but that we have a relationship with God. We don’t self-determine what is right or alievate consequences of when we are wrong or become free of the wrongness of others. No, we are part of this dark world, one twisted by the curse of sin. Isreal initially was to listen to God’s voice but were afraid and settled for a negotiated minimum standard. We have what is righteous, God’s ways written on mind and hearts and have the Holy SPirit to direct, when we submit. We are set free by being brought back to right relationship, a relationship with creator, with the one who loves us beyond our grasp.

    Now God has laid out things for us to do when under trials and difficulties, when we face suffering in all the vagaries. Starting point is recognition of who God is and that is often the falling point of many, for if things to go according to what brings “me” temporary relief in this twisted world than God must not love because he doesn’t care about my pain. Truth is he cares, he did something about it, and he knows it intimately. Every bit of pain you have, God knows, intimately.

  68. Craig says:

    Here’s a series of comments (put together into one) placed on another blog by Kim over at DiscernIt:

    Don’t remember if i have already shared this. but years ago my uncle went to a Oral Roberts revival where he was healed? by Roberts. HIs leg actually grew 2″ which evened his two legs, but thereafter he could levitate tables. My aunt would slap his arm and say, “Stop that Clifford.” This demonstrated the spiritual source and the danger of not testing the spirits as scripture instructs. He has suffered mentally since his false healing and still follows the Copelands, not attending any church or interested in scripture.

    My sister was at that revival meeting in the late 60′s. She told me that suddenly one of the tents started to flap wildly and then the tent flew off into the air. Chairs began to be tossed crazily and thrown into the air. She and my cousin ran for their lives for they knew there was evil there. I knew that my uncle was never healed by Roberts. I thought for awhile that his faith healed him, but now I know that it was an occult healing.

    I was not there ,that day at the Oral Roberts revival. I was about 12. My sister and cousin were there and they are 10 years older than me, so they were about 22. My mother died in February so as the family gathered together we shared again some of these experiences and how it has spiritually affected our lives and our relatives. I can vouch that my uncle’s leg grew. He lost a good portion of his foot in a motorcycle accident. Many times he would pull up his pant legs up and show us kids his knees. His thigh had grown longer and one knee was about 2 inches lower than the other. I can verify this as fact. But I have also seen many false attempts like m’kayla described.

    If you have ever read Kurt Koch [Dr. Kurt E. Koch] he describes interesting occult healings that he has seen during his missionary life. If you think shamans cannot heal… you might investigate. But there is usually some kind of oppression that occurs. He has documented many of his case studies.

    Unfortunately, my family has had their share of mystical and occult experiences. I have seen the oppression and damage in their lives.

  69. Martin says:

    To be honest my theology is pretty good right up until i experience excruciating pain. Then my theology regarding the will of God is somewhat confused. I have massive difficulty in equating the kindness and mercy of God in Jesus, who went about destroying the work of the devil – not just physical but also spiritual, with my own circumstances.

    He even said, regarding the lady with the bleeding issue, that she had been bound for many years by satan. It was in fact the work of the devil.

    Jesus stood against the immediate works of the devil that he saw, and also dealt with things from an eternal perspective. When dealing with the feeding of the five thousand, he not only fed their immediate need but also their eternal need. Why would he be any different now?

    So, therefore, i have incredible difficulty in placing illness just in the sovereignty of God and as a consequences of sin. Some of this stuff is the work of Satan. But as christians i feel that we just think it is because we live in a fallen world. When Jesus commisioned the disciples, he said heal the sick. I cannot find anywhere that his kingdom changed at all? Are we are still preaching a kingdom that offers the same.

    I still believe Wigglesworth was a man who demonstrated this principle as have many of God’s people throughout all the ages – google will tell you about God’s people all through the ages.

    The offer still stands – everything is possible for him who believes. The prayer offered in faith will make a sick man well. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. One of the gifts given by the holy spirit is the very gift of healing.

    I cannot, and will not embrace powerless chrisitanity. The power must be must come from The Lord and the glory must go back to him!

  70. Martin says:

    A very encouraging experience i had last year. I was walking very close with the Lord and had really fixed my eyes on him.

    At about 6 o clock in the evening, i felt the familiar physical sensations of some kind of virus entering my body and begin to create the usual symptoms associated with such. My throat began to become sore and that shivery sensation began to come over my body. I knew i was coming down with something. I began to get incredibly angry about this. Not with God, but with the symptoms i was experiencing – so i began to internally rebuke the symptoms and gently started to ask the holy spirit to fill me.

    I really felt quite stongly that i must not accept the symptoms i was experiencing – which to be honest was an incredible struggle mentally. This i feel was a key area. It was a battle in my mind.

    Anyways, i began praying quietly in tongues for approximately 2-2.5 hours – by the end of this time – i felt the peace of God and an assurance that the illness was not allowed to make me sick!

    In the morning, my wife who has an incredible immune system was ill. I think she gets ill once every 5 years or something. Also my two children were ill with the same virus. However, i am normally ill, but i was in total health.

    It took a relentless pursuit of the person of God. In myself i had no power or ability to heal myself or to stop a naturally occuring virus. But through the Lord – it happened as i believed. I feel the important area was the battle that took place in my mind.This for me is the key.

    I want to give glory to God for this event.

  71. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I have (thanks to a reader here :-)) a book by Hobart Freeman on the heretical Jesus Died Spiritually. It is an excellent Biblical refutation of this horrendous doctrine as taught by Hagin, Copeland and host of other Word of Faithers. However, Freeman was a huge proponent of the other Word of Faith teachings such as you are describing. Sadly, he died horribly, a victim of his own theology. I’ll quote from D. R. McConnell’s book A Different Gospel:

    …Freeman was also “deeply influenced by healing evangelists like Kenneth Hagin, John Osteen, Kenneth Copeland and T.L. Osborn, along with the writings of E. W. Kenyon.” Freeman eventually broke with the other Faith teachers because of his increasingly radical views on medicine, which he rejected in toto. True to his own beliefs, Freeman refused medical treatment for an ulcerated leg, which, in the weeks preceeding his death, forced him to preach sitting down. Complications set in and Freeman eventually developed bronchopneumonia, for which he also shunned medical treatment. On December 8, 1984, Freeman died of congestive heart failure, a victim of his own teaching.

  72. Martin says:

    So, what are we to do if we are sick? Ask a demon to heal us because God won’t?

  73. Craig says:

    We are to do just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: pray for healing as they did for protection in the fiery furnace.

    …the God we serve is able to save us from it…But, even if He does not, we want you to know…that we will never serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. [Daniel 3:17-18]

  74. Martin says:

    Excellent scripture.

  75. cheryl u says:

    Martin,

    Remember the question I asked you yesterday about the two people that were sick that Paul didn’t heal? Why do you suppose that was?

    Paul was, after all, the man the God used to raise a young man from the dead that had fallen from an upstairs window after he fell asleep and had fallen to his death. Acts 20:10. And in Acts 19:11, the Bible speaks of what it calls extraordinary miracles of healing done through the apostle Paul.

    Yet Timothy (I Timothy 5:23) had a chronic illness it seems and Trophimus (II Timothy 4:20) Paul left behind when he moved on because he was sick. Why didn’t God work through the Apostle Paul that he had worked through at other times to bring healing to these two men? I don’t know, the Bible doesn’t say. But it does seem to show us that not everyone is miraculously healed by God when they are ill and suffering. And obviously they weren’t healed, at that time anyway, through their own prayers either.

  76. Martin says:

    Most people would use these scriptures as evidence God doesn’t heal people. But let me say in almost 20 years as a christian, experience would tell me God does not heal people very often. My experience would say God isn’t even interested in healing people today.

    Nobody wants to take up the scripture that says the prayer said in faith will make a sick man well.

    I’ve been trying to search for God’s heart on this subject. If we look at scripture it is very confusing – if we look at experience it isn’t all that encouraging either. I would not even have these issues if i didn’t suffer pain the way i do.

    Before i started listening to all of the teaching from Bethel. I was on my own personal journey to find out how God felt about all this stuff. To be honest if God talks about how he feels today about healing then i seem to have missed it.

    When your in the middle of pain – all you ever want is relief. Thats why we go to a doctor. We accept that God can use doctors but can we not accept that God perhaps, might want to do a miracle. i just feel so discouraged at times.

    If someone could provide a definitive answer then it would make it so much easier!

  77. IWTT says:

    Nobody wants to take up the scripture that says the prayer said in faith will make a sick man well.

    Does it really say that? or…

    James 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

    Are we talking about praying for those who are “sick” meaning that they are lost without Jesus and this is actually about confessing sin and getting right with God? I think we need to lok at this passage in context, see what did they really mean in the greek.

    Or even in the context of physical healing it is described as a type of prayer (fervent, effective).

    Truthfully, I find other scriptures that deal with suffering and trials (that includes sickness) seems to be very important as well, such as building perserverence, faith, etc., etc.

    God DOESN”T heal everyone. How about because in the end it is not beneficial for that persons spiritual growth.

  78. jt says:

    Hi Martin –
    My heart breaks for you. I’m sorry to hear not only of your suffering, but also of your frustration at not getting satisfying answers to your important questions.

    My major complaints with Bill Johnson & Bethel (and word faith in general) are that
    1. they focus on “getting your best life now” rather on the glorious promises to come (name one Apostle who experienced comfort in this life – they all looked forward to eternity)
    2. they take historical accounts of Jesus’ miracles and declare them to be prescriptive examples of what every Christian can do (a real setup for disappointment)
    3. they say that God always heals, and if He isn’t healing you, then the problem is not with God but with you (thus the need for healing rooms and ministry schools to learn how to do it “right”, since they say God is not in control, we are)
    4. they pick and choose their scriptures out of context to back their ideas without looking at the entire story of the Bible to get a true view of God

    I’m afraid I do not have the answers you seek. But I will pass along this resource – some teaching sermons by D.A Carson on suffering. If you google him, you will see that he is a trusted bible scholar with a passion for researching and teaching truth through Biblical Theology (treating the bible story as a whole, rather than systemic parts). (check Amazon for all his books)

    “How Can a Good God Allow Suffering?” – audio download –

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/how_can_a_good_god_allow_suffering

    and

    “Making sense of suffering”

    http://faithbyhearing.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/making-sense-of-suffering-don-carson/

  79. Martin says:

    IWTT – i believe you are trying to twist scripture. It says the prayer offered in Faith WILL make a sick man well. You cannot turn this verse into powerlessness because that may well be your own personal experience. It also says IF he has sinned. That may mean he may not have sinned.

    Please don’t patronise me.

  80. Martin says:

    I think some people think they have an exclusive relationship with God and the rest, well there just in error! Well i have news – God loves heretics. Thats right, he loves people who are in error. If you want to scrutinise people to the point they feel excluded from God, please by all means carry on. If you think your own understanding of scripture is perfect, maybe you should ask God to highlight your own imperfect and innacurate thinking in regards to his inspired word.

  81. peacebringer says:

    Martin,
    Not sure what that last reaction was.

    Regarding james 5:15

    First look at the word sick in the passage: κάμνω
    kamnō
    kam’-no
    Apparently a primary verb; properly to toil, that is, (by implication) to tire (figuratively faint, sicken): – faint, sicken, be wearied.

    Then the 2 results of the prayer of faith
    1. save
    sōzō
    sode’-zo
    From a primary word σῶς sōs̄ (contraction for the obsolete σάος saos, “safe”); to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): – heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

    and 2nd raise up
    G1453
    ἐγείρω
    egeirō
    eg-i’-ro
    Probably akin to the base of G58 (through the idea of collecting one’s faculties); to waken (transitively or intransitively), that is, rouse (literally from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or figuratively from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence): – awake, lift (up), raise (again, up), rear up, (a-) rise (again, up), stand, take up.

    We need to attend to what savlation is, to be made whole perfected. Note that wholeness is in esssence peace. Being brought to completion. It is not so much about the “physical” being “corrected” in a effort to make “self” more comfortable but rather a transformation that results in being brought to peace and being aroused and awakened. I think it realy has deeper meaning as IWTT suggests vs twisting scripture. It is really worth taking the examination and going deeper into what it says and means.

    There is something God desires to do in our lives, that is move us beyond the physical. I again wish to point you to the Biblical principles of transcending suffering.

    Your description of your period of God healing physically really points to the kind fo genuine acting of the Holy Spirit and God worked in you at that time. It was a true God touching you moment.

    And martin, none of us can understand what it is like to be you and face your pain. But here is the deal, God does, he knows it.

  82. Martin says:

    JT i wanted to say thank-you for your thoughtful post.

  83. Craig says:

    I wanted to second the recommendation of D. A. Carson in general. He has written a number of well-regarded commentaries, some technical, others expository and he can write in a straight-forward readable style. Solidly Evangelical, he is sympathetic to charismatic issues. I reference some of his works on this site.

  84. IWTT says:

    Martin,

    I apologize that my post offended you. The issue that I have learned in life is that the truth is God does very little miraculous healings. I have and continue to pray for my wife to be completely healed. Some I can’t go into, but after a dble mastectomy, hysterectomy, depression, skin cancer and many other minor surgeries, I have prayed much and continue to but even through my tears God has not healed her physically in the sense that I would like to happen.

    I myself have a heart condition called HypertropicCardiomyaopaty with Mitral Valve prolapse and regurgitation (say that 10 times) and there is no cure outside a miracle of Gods touch. God has not seen fit to heal me yet. Each of us probably have a testamony of some type of the goodness of God and even of a miraculous healing.

    What I was attempting to do was say that there are many people that I know who pray everyday waiting for and even expecting God to heal them but my “scripture twisting” was to make a point. It was that the scriptures are twisted and used to start all kinds of programs under the guise of “new revelation” or “God is doing a new thang” and, IMHO, BJ “programs” are nothing more than that. “Man-made-vain-imagination-flesh-generated programs”! Does God move even in the midst of this, I believe yes He can and probably does. But again my point.

    So, I took your sentence, interpreted it a certain way and responded. If that offended you then I am truely sorry and apologize.

    @ peacebringer: Thank you for that short but to the point biblical study of the word.

    @ TJ: Yes thank you indeed for a softer heart in response to Martin.

  85. IWTT says:

    Let me add here Martin,

    What God has done in the spiritual growth through these advercities and sufferings and trials is amazing in both of our lives. I believe that my wife exemplifies the characture of Christ in more ways than I would have thought possible.

  86. Martin says:

    IWTT – really appreciate you opening up about the personal stuff. I knows it’s not easy. I know there are massive abuses of the name of Jesus going on. I don’t want to follow after that stuff.

    I believe that if we really seek God – and i mean really seek God with all that we are – that we have a hunger after God that is second to no other thing. That we will not eat or sleep or want anything more, than to be in the presence of the King of Kings and to want nothing but to live in complete obedience – then we will see the hand of the Lord in great and marvelous ways.

    I know that i’ve been in that place once or twice in my life, it’s a good place. It’s not an easy place to get into at all. It’s not an exclusive place just for the extra spiritual people, but an invite open to anyone. When your in that place – your gifts become so much easier(mine is faith). I remember praying for things and only telling God – i need this – and he provided specific things the very same day, sometimes within the hour.

    As an example.

    My car was due for MOT – i didnt have the money to pay. God told me on the Friday “book your car in for MOT” – i just did it, knowing that God was speaking. So on the monday – the car was booked in. At 11am that morning, someone came to my house and said i found this at my house, handed me £300(a non christian) and then left(people just dont do that kind of thing). The car had other problems with it that needed sorting. I got the bill – it was £302 – Me, being me, said to God – where is the £2? I know God has a sense of humour.

    I’d love to share my testimony sometime.

  87. peacebringer says:

    Martin,
    Interesting comments and get a sense of something slightly off in what you are saying. It has the grounding of truth but not quite it. Yes, God wants our complete surrender. He wants us given all. However, that is not about simply being “In the presence” of the King of Kings, it is though complete obdience. See, we do have with us the Holy Spirit. We are “always in the presence” of the Most Holy God, as God is with us. There is not “some state” we have to achieve to see God working. It is not some measure of measuring up. I have had God work in times where my focus was fully on him, and times when He has caught me off guard. Now, it does take growing “In God awareness” and having some “self-awareness” which the Holy Spirit shines that light on the ever increasing awareness of self. This leads to the “rising up” the “awakening” knowing the depth of self.

    In terms of gifts, the thing about the gifting is it takes no effort, it takes no being in right place other than attending to God and being willing to act. This is the “hearer of the word” followed by the doing. My gifts, Martin, just happen. No time comes easier or harder just happen. Now there are certainly things of me that get in way. Sometimes I certainly miss what God is trying to point out, but my gifts are my gifts. I cannot turn them on or off at will, it just happens when it is too happen.

    This is part of the faultiness of the view of giftings. If gifts “come easier” or “can be learned” and so on then something is a miss. Also note this, when God gives us gifts, Satan will certainly find ways to test and twist. Ever stop and think Martin that your pain and illnessess is related to your gifting of faith. It gives you opportunities to walk init and flesh it out, so that God may be given glory and testimony through what he does in your life through faith. That even though you bear physical pain, your faith remains for we are made strong in weakness. Please, stop and attend to this brother for I know these words are true, words of knowledge so to speak. For I feel the Holy Spirit as I right. And as much as I want to have it happen when ever I write, it is not the case. Many times it is me, but there are times God makes it clear what to say.

    So my friend, Rest in your giftings and grow into seeking him deeply. Practicing the presence is simply surrendering day to day in the moment, whereever you are, using the gifts God has given when they are occuring. We don’t manufacture any of it.

  88. IWTT says:

    @ peacebringer, Yes and Amen

    What I have found for my own life is that when I stepped away from all of the trying to do and just be “ready in and out of season” there has been a freedom that I have felt in my life that I never really felt or noticed before. I left the church that I was in because of all of this stuff and I have been more in love with the Lord and trusted Him more. AMAZING, get away from all of the “mystic”, “seeking supernatural”, “head-in-the clouds” atmosphere/thinking, and just get real and it is awesome how things workout as I trust the Lord!

    I don’t have to make anything happen, I let the Holy Spirit manifest the ‘gifts” in his timing as He wills which keeps me from letting them happen in the flesh.

    In fact I had breakfast, with a friend who has a nice blog site, recently and we both just looked at each other, and after discussing the stuff that is in the church today, we realized that this “walk”, this “life” we are to lead is really pretty simple. We don’t have to make anything happen and if we but just be calm, focus on Christ, His timing becomes perfect in all areas.

    So what if I have a heart condition. I am in Gods hands and He knows the day I am to come home. I just need to be a good steward, and take care of myself. How will I respond in the midst of the health issues? Will I trust? Or will I look inward and get all anxious and fearful? I will trust and know that “through Christ” I will perserver. God WILL complete the good work He started in me.

  89. peacebringer says:

    IWTT,
    Exactly, we live in fear or we leave in faith. We try to control or we surrender. We make do and get by day by day or we rest in relationship with the great I am.

    I have my own pains and fears, things i am still working on, things that result in my engaging in reluctance and holding back. Yet, God has brought me through much. A friend began to prophecy with words for me back when really dealing with hearts of my own fears r/t women. It was a long process, but God moved and healed in his way with a roller coaster journey. The friend now does not have that gift operate as often.

    1 Corithians 12 points out related to gifts (as I have stated before elsewhere) that there is a variety of gifts for variety of service. When God acts it is for his glory and he does it in our lives at personal levels. There was a question before of “why we don’t see big things” but God moves as he moves. Here we have stories of God moving, of God healing, of God touching, in His way. Is it relief of pain, nope, for any of that is but temporary in this life. Where is are focus in all of this, what to de attend to, the pain, or the creator. To we live in fear of how may get hurt, or do we look to God the Father as our strength and defense. Are we strong and courageous or do we shrink back in fear? Do we fear man? Are we like Israel afraid of God’s voice? Do we set limits? Yes, at times we do all of that, but yet God still works in his time at his pace, and in his way. Note, it says that “His ways are not our ways” and is this not true. I know it is in my own personal walk and experience.

    Bringing this around to this question, and Bill Johnson and healing. Who does he think he is? That is the question that is coming to my mind. What does he think he is tapping into and doing, that he engages in such twisted actions in the name of bringing heaven to earth. Heaven, everything is in surrender to God. It is all about him, period. We do need to be bringing more and more people into surrender, but that is not about a temporary reducation of affilications. For all the “healings” in this life are but a moment. The focus even on such is just gratifying the flesh, the eyes, or pride and any combination therein. Seduction at the core. And that is a sad and grievous matter. But sin and self twists and twists and will be ever more so, and this is just one among many.

  90. cheryl u says:

    Peacebringer,

    “For all the “healings” in this life are but a moment. The focus even on such is just gratifying the flesh, the eyes, or pride and any combination therein. Seduction at the core. And that is a sad and grievous matter. But sin and self twists and twists and will be ever more so, and this is just one among many.”

    I’m thinking your last few sentences there may come across as quite harsh to someone that is experiencing excruciating physical pain in this life. Intense physical pain can be an all consuming thing.

  91. peacebringer says:

    THanks CHeryl, certainly not meant to be harsh. Pain is tough. I use the phrase Tryanny of pain for a reason. It is something we are all under. Each one of us. Each of us has deep pain. Some physical. The comment about “healings” being but a moment was not to trip or tear down. It was to point toward a direction. We can so easily get caught up in the hurt and pain. It is easy to lose focus. I sit here, I have my mother dealing with pain and depression related to vision loss and needing challenge and structure. My mother has dealth with a wide world of pain. My wife has chronic issues. I now live with pain in my back and neck exacerbated with barometric pressure. Yet, it has become clear, that in this life, the periods we live with healing come and go. It is what is head when all will be restored. We end with a momentary afflication and the next comes, but healing serves its role for its time.

    I sit here praying were those words from me and not to be said, and I don’t sense that. I may have couched it wrong and jumped track a little trying to tie back to Bill Johnson without a lot more drawing out the point, but the point is still there. The point is getting at the heart of the matter related to this momentary life and what draws people in. Nobody likes pain. It is tough. It hurts. We all hurt. See, the point is we all look to peace at times as being that which goes well for me, just as abundance being what I want. The whole deal is for us to be in line and submission with him, regardless. I mentioned before about the divine empathy of God. Yes, we live in a fallen world of pain, we all have varied pains, and if don’t they will come. Pain from the disease of fallen world, pain from being harmed by others, pain because of circumstance, pain just because of how God wove together with certain vulnerablities. Generally a combination therein.

    We often look to the moment. I do it. I want it for those around me. One of the most frustrating times was last year with my wife having a battle with hives that was awful and miserable. Eventually they subsided adn we have no answer and no idea. It was misery. Some part of me wants to quarrell with God there but God was never powerless and set forth the consequences for leaving His way in the first place. He made the way. Yet, for too many it is the deep and momentary pain under the tryanny of suffering that draws away. Even the man gifted with faith, Martin, expressed deep questions related to his pain and life. Many argue that this God moving one way here, another way there. Do for some there, others miss out as God being capricious. But, he deals with us where we are at with what we need at time. He does not engage in that which brings us long term harm. The phrase comes to me that Jesus said that he “came not for the well but the sick” now granted the context were those who did not think they need help. But it applies, for often the view is that if some momentary circumstance was more to my liking it will make me all better and can know truly that God loves me and is faithful. Yet, God does not meet us at what we demand. Yes, if we ask, seek, knock he will answer, but God works things out in far different ways than we could ever imagine. Yet, there are folks that prey on those in great pain, give promises that can lead to being hooked. By no means do I say not seek the healing of the moment.

    And in my own pain, I can tell you I have dark moments of going my own way. I have wanted relief and healing for those I care for, and God is not displeased for he created us with love. And when God does touch, in prescious moments and reveals his love and glory with a momentary relief, it is a prescious example of what is to come. One to be treasured, marked and remembered. Often we grab on to the let down. My wife questioned God and went another direction when she though God was healing a member of church who as 16 and had brain cancer and he died. It preciptated some dark times. I have dark times in my own life where things didn’t go way I though should and pride injured including my brother getting married before me. We get twisted and hurt and make choices over all sort of things, but God works through it all, we just need to walk in the surrender. We need to accept the “though he slay me, still I will follow.” God works as he works, he heals. The ultimate healing comes from being brought to peace, the rest the follows serves his purposes in his time, and in this life it is all but a taste of that of what is yet to come. Hopefully this seems less harsh, and the overtone of words gets through then rushed and momentary words not taken in full context.

  92. peacebringer says:

    Feeling led to draw folks attention to Luke 13. I was thinking about the obscure Tower of Shiloh passage that rarely ever is taught but the whole context of Luke 13 applies to this discussion. For it gets down to why the randomness of suffering, what is the nature of the Kingdom of God, and what was Jesus about. Suffering happens, it is what we do in the midst and mean time that matters, God gives as gives so that people can be brought to him before it reaches the point of being too late. For the pain and suffering begets pain and suffering that begets pain and suffering. The pain gets so bad that either strike out or retreat. We engage in the means of slumber and disengage. We get seduced by pied pipers touting wares that are but a moment and then gone, if any reality at all. Where God works to refine and even what he does in the moment touches deeper than the mere physical… if only we fully had the eyes to see and ears to hear and heart fully aligned with the creator and not prone to the twisting away from Him. Then we would not be as bound under the tryanny of suffering and able to engage in that which God gives us to transcend and be transformed and brought into His peace and raised up from our slumber.

  93. Martin says:

    Doesn’t the devil cause physical suffering too? I find it interesting that no one seems to mention it here. It isn’t even considered. Although Jesus clearly referenced it. Why is physical just because of the fall?

    God is trying to teach you something – hence he allowed this illness to come upon you(just look at the apostle Paul and his thorn in the flesh!!). That is the biggest unbiblical nonesense ever. It’s just not biblical. I can’t find it anywhere in Jesus’s ministry! With Job, it was Satan, who caused the physical torment.

    Don’t you think we are giving too much credence to the Fall and not enough credit to the work of the enemy. Interesting. Very interesting.

  94. Martin says:

    Now the point i was making above is this – Yes you have spiritual gifts and they are continual. Yes, we are always in the presence of God. Yes i agree with all those things. However, what we must always remember is this – we have an enemy in our sinful nature, which can drag us away from that awareness of living in the presence of God. We are urged to approach the throne of grace with confidence, meaning, we can still lack confidence.

    So as far as i am concerned – i am a child of God – i am all of the things that God tells me i am; as a result of what Jesus has done. However – we are not always aware of the presence of God and therefore we must be, filled with the spirit, sing and make music in our hearts to God – In other words we must be pro-active. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins comes to mind.

    The reason i was talking about some of my experiences, is that i wanted to share that i have seen God at work, so i have heard what God has said to me and obeyed it. As far as i am concerned – if i ever get cancer or any other terminal illness – i would not eat or drink or maybe even speak until i came face to face with the living God and i know that he would heal me. I would refuse to accept no for an answer. Sometimes faith is refusing to take no for an answer and being persistent until you wear out God’s ears. Not that it’s possible.

  95. peacebringer says:

    Marttin,
    Yes, the devil causes suffering. He will seek to do many things. But Satan is always on a leash. Again, it is not about God trying to teach anything, this tryanny we are under. It is the overall consequences of being apart from God. It brings a result that impacted all of creation. With Job, satan caused pain but always had a limit and God initiated the whole thing. Now we could give credance all to the enemy. For he gave eve the temptation, but it is not all “the enemy.” And note, apart from him active there will be a time coming when there will be rebellion without that influence.

    Now I find it telling that you make a statement that if you were terminal you would essentially engage in bringing pain to self to try and make God do what you want. See, that misses the point. We are to be surrendered to him. Going on a fast to try and make God do what we want is not faith. Yes, there is need for persistence, but it is in drawing ever closer to God. And yes, awareness of God’s presence varied. Yes, there are periods of filling and empowerment. They happen. The key here is to “hear God” and “obey” It is not trying to get God to do what is in accorandance with my will but lining up with what His will is.

  96. Martin says:

    If it’s God’s will for you to bear up under physical pain – why do people go to a doctor? Isn’t that disobedience? And if people are happy to accept God can work through a surgeon – e.g he wants to them better – it could be his will for them to be well. It’s just when people talk about miracles – usually they are suspicious straight away.

    Now about the reference above – i’m going to show you irrifutable proof that what i said to you above is entirely biblical and actually encouraged by Jesus himself.

    He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

    Nothing will be impossible for you – if you have a little faith. Have the rules changed for us? Or has the nature of Faith changed? Or should we just accept everything as a trial from God?

  97. IWTT says:

    Doesn’t the devil cause physical suffering too? I find it interesting that no one seems to mention it here. It isn’t even considered. Although Jesus clearly referenced it. Why is physical just because of the fall?

    @Martin,

    Interesting question! Here is my take on this matter. I have heard all of this stuff before while being involved “head-over-heels” in the deliverence ministry. Everything was attributed to the devil. Sickness, mental illness, etc., etc. (and looking back at the topic @Bethel, I bet this is the case there as well). I began to notice something, the same people were coming back for deliverence or healing. It seems far and few between were actually healed and truthfully those who were had discovered something. They discovered that much of the responsibility of “illness” was/is our own.

    Ecclesiastes 9:3
    English Standard Version (ESV)

    3This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

    Mark 7:20-23
    English Standard Version (ESV)

    20And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

    My point here is that while I also believe that yes the evil one can cause physical suffering, I believe 1) not without the permission of God but 2) the devil didn’t make me do! I believe that the norm in this world we live in is that healing doesn’t happen very much (let me state, the way that the post above is addressing) but rather we go through the sufferings as the scripture states;

    Romans 5
    Peace with God Through Faith

    1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
    6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

    So after all of this I must admit, I have witnessed miraculous healings and prayed and seen a miracle healing happen, but again, ….

    I need to put a pause here because I must leave to go to work. I will complete my thoughts later today…

    blessings

  98. peacebringer says:

    Martin,
    Relate to God will and pain and bearing up. You don’t know me. I am a liscensed psychologist. I deal with folks in pain every day. I move them toward healing and restoration, to function more fully in this life. Those that are open I point to moving beyond the things of this world toward that even that transcends and moves beyond the tryanny of suffering toward whole peace.

    My step-mother sought both physical and supernatural resources in fighting cancer. She received healing for a time, also endured suffering in seeking relief. She had a time. I am not saying don’t seek help and care. We are to do what we can to make the most of what God has given us and attend to physical matters. The point is a matter of perspective and where are mind is at. Is our mind on our suffering, the pains in life, or is it in surrender to God.

    Yes, God gives us faith and authority. We all too often work in little faith. But the faith is not in the particular action or hope, but in God and doing what meets his glory. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us. Nothing I have said detracts from that fact. Here is the deal, we face good and bad. It rains on just and unjust. We face many things from many sources. It all comes down to where are we with God.

    Let me ask you this, Martin, what requires more faith. To move a mountain or to sleep in the midst of the a fierce storm? Healing or enduring? See true peace is nevere about the absence of conflict, pain, or suffering. And note, nothing wrong with seeking care and relief in pain. Job even sought relief in taking pottery to boils. Rather, it is always where we are at with God almighty. My step mom who died of cancer. She never waivered in her faith, always sought to be in surrender. Then her time came. God was glorfied in that whole deal. Was God wrong in calling her home and leaving the many behind hurting? Who are we to deprive her of being with God?

    Think brother what this means, to live is Christ, to die is gain- then add in rejoice in the Lord always. Consider as well James and his direction to “Count it all Joy” and learn what it means in “the Joy of the Lord is our strength.” I wish I could outline here simply all what that points to, but there is an essence of those statements that is unique to each of us and what God has it play out in my life is different than yours for we are created different, gift different, and are under different elements of pain in this world under the darkness of the tryanny of suffering. For while the pain is great, Jesus is greater. He does make all things right, just not always the way we think.

  99. peacebringer says:

    IWTT, as you know I love that passage in Romans 5:1-5

  100. Martin says:

    Peacebringer, i have at no point said that in pain, people cannot glorify God.That in adversity people cannot lean entirely on God – i was merely making a point, that faith can, and will bring what you are believing for (as long as it is in line with the will of God) – you see, if you are displaying the fruit of the spirit and the characteristics of God – it’s a simple thing that God will entrust you with more (see parable of the talents). The hardest time i have had in obeying the scripture of rejoicing in all circumstances – was when my body was racked with agonising pain and i was sweating hot and cold sweats, not easy. Did i glorify God in that moment? probably not! I could never equate the kindness of God in Jesus on the cross, with the severity of my pain. The two ideas seemed contradictory. So i personally have reached the conclusion that; it cannot be the will of God to cause me to suffer like that, when i’m living in some level of obedience to him. I’m not convinced God uses agony as a training tool. We will suffer, oh yes and we do have a choice with what we do with it.

    My experience so far is this – that when i have pursued God with my whole heart(like a ruthless madman), it seems that my gifting becomes much more pronounced and effective – i am more in tune with God’s spirit and therefore my prayers are much more in line with his heart and his will.

    I don’t know that i can answer some of the questions here – i don’t for a second believe that all illness is of the devil – if i fall and break my leg – it wasnt the devils fault, it was purely an accident. If i have a mental health issue – maybe it was because of choices i made, maybe not. Lots of variables, not always cut and dried.

  101. IWTT says:

    “….. not always cut and dried.

    How true!!

    I just wanted to add to my comment from above, and this is just how I have accepted this in my own life. But I think this is true…

    When I accepted Christ I became
    “…a new creature in Christ, the old is past away, behold ALL THINGS are new”.
    “… Temptation comes in the form of a LIE from the enemy”
    “… if I believe the LIE and take hold of it, then I sin”
    ” my sword is simply the Word of God (scripture)… therefore, I need to know it”
    “If I know the Word, then I will be able to discern the lie and come againts that lie…”
    “standing firm in Gods truth the enemy will flee” ( I must have the armor on)
    “He’ll never give me more than I can handle… without a way of escape….

    … I could never equate the kindness of God in Jesus on the cross, with the severity of my pain.

    I think this is a point of focus…

    Does physical issues really have to do with the kindness and goodness of God. This is a poorly written sentence!! But my answer comes this way…

    We are in corruptable bodies, no matter how you look at it they are going thru destruction. period. Due to original sin and the curse (punishment) God placed on us (humanity) in the garden. I think the real kindness of God is not the focus of physical healing in the here and now, unless the purpose is for His glory (obviously), but rather, that He was kind and good enough (GRACE -unmerited favor) to give us a way of escape from eternal judgement. This world will be judged, the elements will be destroyed and burned and a new earth and heavens will be created.

    One day it hit me, and I had this unbelievable sense of fear (which lasted but for a moment) what it would be like to have to face God at the judgement, but then I found my self (almost immediatley) praising and thanking God that He sacrificed His Son for the sins of the world and that those whom He calls will be and are saved from that judgement. All else seemed to e so trivial when I considered the end result if obe does not believe. This life on earth is so secondary to what He has asked us to do and be, preach the gospel and disciple. I realize that this is an open ended statement, but hopefully you’ll understand where I am at in my journey with the Lord. Compassion, yes. Pray for the sick with faith, yes. All important, but what really is the end goal?

  102. IWTT says:

    My mention of the poorly written sentence, I mean the way I wrote it, not you Martin…

    But I think back to the main point of the post…. If BJ is preaching a different jesus, which would be a different theology, doctrine, etc, from what jesus taught and the 12 Apostles, then by what or whose power IS the healings being done through or by?

  103. Martin says:

    Okay – yes physical issues really do have an importance to the eternal. If God does not care about my whole person now, then thats like saying your body is not important. When in fact your body is a temple, which would be a contradiction. If anyone destroys this temple, God will destroy them – you are that temple etc

    It would be a strange then, if God said in the next breathe to Satan, i allow you to destroy this temple! Anyways i must get back on track hah!

    Bill Johnson says some incredible things – some very challenging things. I’ve read 5 of his books and read one of Kris Vallotons books. Some of the things they talk about, i’m not really comfortable about, so i tend to filter them out.

    One statement that Bill Johnson makes is this – Power forces a decision. Is that statement true or false?

    Also, why would a demon want to do anything kind to anyone e.g heal someone for their benefit – they could then read a bible and actually be saved – a bit risky if you ask me! I thought the devil came only to kill steal and destroy – unless this is some severely twisted strategy to bring people relief physically only to ensure their souls are condemned?

    At the moment, according to some ideas on here and elsewhere, it seems like the demons @ Bethel are putting my faith to shame!!

  104. Craig says:

    Power forces a decision. Is that statement true or false?

    Yes, it does. It depends upon the source. Whose power do you believe effected the first/botched healing in this post?

  105. Craig says:

    Also, why would a demon want to do anything kind to anyone e.g heal someone for their benefit – they could then read a bible and actually be saved…

    If an individual has a faulty conception of God (think of shamens, for example), then a healing will not necessarily translate into a legitimate conversion to God through Jesus Christ. It all comes back to the person of Jesus Christ as HE alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

  106. peacebringer says:

    I will have more to say at a latter time brother. I understand this is all very challenging. However, before drawing out further I want to point you to learn about a brother in the Lord who left this earth in the 1990’s David Busby. http://www.davidbusby.com

    I will let you explore who the man is and how God used him for yourself…

  107. Craig says:

    Bill Johnson says some incredible things – some very challenging things. I’ve read 5 of his books and read one of Kris Vallotons books. Some of the things they talk about, i’m not really comfortable about, so i tend to filter them out.

    If any book does not depict the Jesus Christ of the Bible, as many of the posts on this site show, then we are to not accept ANY of the teachings as a little leaven leavens the whole. I wouldn’t filter arsenic out of my drink, would you?

  108. Peter says:

    Martin, I would not take anything BJ says seriously. Save your money for proper books by reputable theologians.

    IWTT, you make the same mistake as many others – you assume that people are being healed by/through BJ. I don’t believe they are. BJ will be very good at using mind tricks to make people believe that they have been healed, but that’s completely different to a genuine healing.

  109. Craig says:

    Peter,

    In all fairness, you cannot claim that there are no healings at Bethel. I’m not saying there are necessarily as I’ve not seen empirical evidence. However, unless I’m mistaken, you seem to believe there are no healings that are not truly of God. Is that correct? If so, I’d say there are many others who disagree with your view.

  110. cheryl u says:

    There is something that I want to say here that has been running around in my mind for some time now as I have been reading this conversation. I don’t know if I will do very well at expressing what I am really getting at or not.

    I appreciate the efforts of various ones here to point to focusing on God and the eternal. That is, of course the most important thing for all of us.

    However, it seems to me something is maybe being repeatedly missed here. Martin has told us several times now that he has a chronic health problem which sometimes results in excruciating pain. Excruciating pain folks. Not just mild pain, not moderate pain, but excruciating pain. Are any of you familiar with excruciating pain on an ongoing basis? Do you know what it would feel like to endure excruciating pain, have it gone for awhile but know that without a miracle, it will undoubtedly return again and again?

    How do you deal with excruciating pain? When you are in the middle of it, unless God has worked some kind of an absolute miracle at that time, all you can think about is the pain. It totally consumes you. It seems to me that to tell someone that experiences this that what they really need is to quit focusing on the pain and focus on God and surrender to Him is not quite cutting it here.

    I have my own chronic health and pain issues. Not excruciating pain however. The two times that I would say I have had excruciating pain is at the birth of my two children. Childbirth and it’s pain can be borne because you know a longed for baby is the end result. And you know it is only for a short while. Although it may feel like an eternity at the time!

    But I can’t imagine dealing with that type of pain on an ongoing basis throughout my life. And while reminders that we need to focus on God and eternity are needed for all of us and for those experiencing this type of situation, I don’t think it is the end all answer that sort of seems to be being promoted here. It seems to me that a good dose of empathy, compassion, prayer, and a general “bearing of one another’s burdens” is much needed. Some burdens are simply too heavy to bear alone. And to tell the one that is trying to bear them that what they really need to do is focus elsewhere seems to me to be severely lacking in compassion and understanding of what they are going through.

    I hope that what I am saying here does not offend any one. Maybe this comes in part from too much seeing lots of advice being handed out in the church but often very little down in the trenches love, support and compassion.

  111. IWTT says:

    …yes physical issues really do have an importance to the eternal. If God does not care about my whole person now, then thats like saying your body is not important. When in fact your body is a temple, which would be a contradiction. If anyone destroys this temple, God will destroy them – you are that temple etc

    Well, ok, I guess we will have a portion of disagreement here. If the body was so important then why are we going to have new bodies when He returns, or do you not believe that word from the Lord?

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand your point. And certainly if God heals, then it must be important for that persons spiritual growth and for the glory God will/should receive. I just am not 100% in agreement… in the generality of the statement

    Matthew Henry states about the I Cor 3:16 verse you are kind of quoting is: 16 Do you not know that you[a] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

    I suggest we look at it in full context to the written word. Not proof text it.

    1Cr 3:16-17

    Here the apostle resumes his argument and exhortation, founding it on his former allusion, You are God’s building, v. 9, and here, Know you not that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile (corrupt and destroy) the temple of God, him shall God destroy (the same word is in the original in both clauses); for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. It looks from other parts of the epistle, where the apostle argues to the very same purport (see ch. 6:13–20), as if the false teachers among the Corinthians were not only loose livers, but taught licentious doctrines, and what was particularly fitted to the taste of this lewd city, on the head of fornication. Such doctrine was not to be reckoned among hay and stubble, which would be consumed while the person who laid them on the foundation escaped the burning; for it tended to corrupt, to pollute, and destroy the church, which was a building erected for God, and consecrated to him, and therefore should be kept pure and holy. Those who spread principles of this sort would provoke God to destroy them. Note, Those who spread loose principles, that have a direct tendency to pollute the church of God, and render it unholy and unclean, are likely to bring destruction on themselves.

    I think it interesting to note that this portion of scripture that this well known commentator wrote; is speaking of false teachings, which is exactly what this original post is about. The destruction of the temple is in terms of people teaching false doctrine and in doing so destroys the very temple (spiritual) that we are the person who accepts it is in danger of destruction and for sure the teacher. I point to the verse that says, “But Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy and heal in your name? And Jesus replies “Away from me, I know you not!”

    Seriously, who do you think these people may be? Could it be those who bring leaven into the proper doctrine? I personally think it will and is those who are apostate and teaching false doctrine, the New Reformation folks, Kingdom Now, WoF, Dominion, MSoG and those who believe they are (A)postles. From within the very church that some call Christianity.

  112. IWTT says:

    @Peter,

    I don’t believe BJ can do anything miraculous or that he did any healing…

  113. IWTT says:

    @Cheryl U… Thank you for bringing that to our attention…..

    @ Martin… Sorry for not seeming compassionate about your situation. I actually understand what Cheryl U is stating here due to the fact that my wife IS IN CHRONIC PAIN. And she and I continually pray for God to heal….

    I guess through it all though, since God has not seemed to say “yes” yet, I also know that god will use it for HIS purposes in the end….

  114. Peter says:

    Craig, my view has always been that God can and does heal supernaturally. And if this happens, it will be permanent and able to be verified by a medical practitioner as unexplained. However, I don’t think any of the “healings” seen at Bethel, or any other pentecostal church, are in this category. If they are, where is the evidence? They’re not exactly rushing to silence their critics by producing it.

    Remember the Lakeland revival of 2008? Todd Bentley claimed that tens of thousands of people were being healed. Well, if 10,000 people were healed and just 1% of these could produce verification, that would be 100 definite healings. But when Nightline News investigated, they found precisely none. A big fat zero. And BJ endorsed Todd at the time. Obviously that doesn’t prove BJ is also false, but it makes me question his integrity if he could’t spot a blatant fraud.

    I recently watched a documentary from 2001 about Reinhardt Bonnke and Benny Hinn. Same story there – lots of claims of healing but no evidence, with some people even dying. The pattern is obvious – all these pentecostal healers (including Bonnke, Hinn, Bentley and BJ) use the same techniques, namely mind tricks which make people believe that they have been healed.

    I think I also said before that genuine supernatural healing is very rare indeed – but that’s down to God.

  115. Craig says:

    Peter,

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with much of what you wrote. However, this does not mean that an individual could not receive divine healing despite Johnson, et. al.

    Where we apparently differ, and this was my main point, is that I believe the enemy can heal. And, given the aberrant theology, especially Christology, of Bill Johnson, it would not surprise me to see “fake” healings, i.e., bona fide healings but done by the enemy instead of God. As I’ve noted below, D.R. McConnell, in his excellent book A Different Gospel, states in his thesis that E. W. Kenyon, the REAL father of Word/Faith, used the same methods of the metaphysical cults to effect healings.

  116. peacebringer says:

    Cheryl,

    The pain part is why pointed to David Busby and learning about him and his words.

    My point is not to rag on Martin for not getting it in moments of pain. I know pain and reactions result in not thinking clearly at the time. There is work needing to be done before the moment of the intensity. And the words are not just for Martin, but for each of us.

    Let me share a quote: “It is imperative that we come to Jesus every day and receive. Salvation is wonderful but we must receive more than that. We must be receiving His presence in every day situations: “Hello, Jesus. It”s me again and I need to receive a touch from your presence to make it through today!” That is drinking from the real Fountain.”

    And rather than just discovering, David was a man with Cystic Fybrosis and many other conditions. He lived far longer than others with his condition. He certainly had moments of great and horrible pain beyond what I know physically.

    Please note, my first words on this were to point to the article I wrote initially to help those who had went through the Haiti earthquake as missionaries and what they would deal with. It is far more than focus, it is only one peace toward that wholeness.

    It is truly sad that Martin has such deep pain. But God knows it. God feels it. I can only begin to imagine, God KNOWS IT INTIMATELY… and it is not about a test, not about growth, it is about trusting God regardless. We have broken bodies, broken genetics, in a broken world. Add on top that there are those seeking to get us off track and tear us down. It is a tough world. Note the build directs use over and over to stand firm, endure, run the race…that is all tough stuff. But in it all God knows it all and we lose that focus. We all battle that of self and being in surrender to God.

  117. Peter says:

    Craig, I would agree with you that the enemy can do miracles and healings (there’s a verse which mentions “lying signs and wonders”). These will also be verifiable as supernatural. Could these happen via BJ or another false teacher? It’s possible.

    I don’t see dodgy theology as having anything to do with it. All the faith healers use known psychological techniques that produce well-documented results (temporary symptomatic relief). Could God or the enemy intervene and produce a miracle in such a situation? In theory, yes, but in practice there’s no evidence that this is happening at the moment. I base my conclusions on what the facts say, not what might be possible.

    I sometimes think that the influence of pentecostalism can cause us to believe in the enemy far too much. I regard that as unbiblical and dangerous.

  118. Craig says:

    Peter,

    I don’t deny the likelihood, of the use of psychological techniques in hyper-charismaticism. I think Derren Brown did a good of showing how it can be done and Marjoe showed the fakery and insincerity that goes on as well. However, I do believe that in some of these meetings (especially think of Bentley since Lakeland was so well televised/publicized) there is quite a bit of the demonic. Just revisit Bentley’s “ordination” ceremony for starters. Given the presence of the demonic, this is where I see the potential for bona fide healings — but of the enemy rather than God.

    The aberrant theology is just “orthodox” enough to deceive individuals into following the leaders. Surely, you would agree that this is the work of Satan — just like the fake healings due to temporary symptomatic relief. One might say it’s a question of degree: the overt demonic as compared to the deceptive tricks of psychological trickery. As for the demonic, the Apostle Paul makes the point very well in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12:

    9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. [NKJV]

    It’s those who “do not believe the truth;” or, as the NIV states, those who “refuse to love the truth” who will “believe the lie” and “be condemned” as it’s God Himself who sends the “strong delusion.” Strong words!

  119. IWTT says:

    I sometimes think that the influence of pentecostalism can cause us to believe in the enemy far too much. I regard that as unbiblical and dangerous.

    BAM! Yes!

    I think I also said before that genuine supernatural healing is very rare indeed – but that’s down to God.

    BAM! BAM! Yes!

    Where’s the evidence as you say. I mean, if I had some illness and was miraculously healed, you couldn’t keep my mouth shut about it. How come we never have any testamoney or as you say verifiable proof. Because there is none!!

    BAM! BAM! BAM! oh wait that’s a Bentleyism….

  120. Martin says:

    From the Bethel Website.

    Pastor Torsten Cichon from Germany sent us this testimony:

    Thank you for all you are doing for the body of Christ. To encourage you, I send you these lines. In 2007, Bill Johnson came to Germany and held a conference in Speyer. I attended the conference and this destroyed my theology. I am a pastor in an evangelical church that didn’t believe in the supernatural. Bill’s teaching (and also the teaching of the other speakers) changed my understanding of the supernatural and I started to grow in the ministry of the supernatural.

    My father had prostate cancer and was operated on. The cancer came back and he had radiotherapy. In 2009, the cancer came back, and my father gave up hope. My parents planned to come with us for summer vacation 2010. But my father said, “I don’t think that I will be alive next summer!” I offered to pray for healing and he agreed. After the Sunday service my mentee, who also believes in God’s healing power, prayed with me for my father. We commanded the cancer to go in Jesus’ name and the blood values to go back to normal.

    The next blood test showed a slightly lower cancer-indicating value and my father had some hope. The second blood test after the prayer showed a totally normal blood value. My father came with us on vacation, and he has been healthy since the prayer. The blood value has been normal and perfect since then.

    Thank you, Bethel Church, for all I learned from you through ibethel, books, conferences. Without your influence I would never have prayed a “crazy” prayer like I did. Your desire for a cancer-free zone inspired me and built faith I didn’t have before.

    This April, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. I told her we should go to a church close to our place, where a very experienced pastor prays for healing. She said, ”It is okay, when you and Princely (brother in our church from Cameroon) pray for me.”

    So we prayed for my wife and in faith we said, ”We want the doctors to operate and find nothing, in Jesus’ name.” And that’s what happened. They operated on my wife and found no more cancer.
    Praise Jesus.

  121. Martin says:

    and one more….

    Ladonna Catalano from Orange County called her friend Lu Gillette and said the doctor had given Ladonna two to four weeks to live (at the most). She had stage-four brain cancer. The doctor did an MRI and said the cancer was widespread in her brain and was in a very developed stage. He said there was nothing he could do for her.

    Ladonna, Lu and several of their friends came to Bethel and received prayer at the Healing Rooms on February 26. Immediately Ladonna felt like she was healed. Her balance was different. The way she walked changed. Someone recorded her giving her testimony.

    Two weeks ago from this writing (March 29), the doctor did another MRI and was amazed to see that the cancer was completely gone. He said he did not know how to explain it. Ladonna said, “I know how to explain it. God healed me!”

  122. Peter says:

    Craig,

    You said “I don’t deny the likelihood, of the use of psychological techniques in hyper-charismaticism. I think Derren Brown did a good of showing how it can be done and Marjoe showed the fakery and insincerity that goes on as well.”

    It’s not a likelihood, it’s a fact. What Marjoe Gortner and Derren Brown exposed is widespread, and not just in the “hyper” bit of the movement.

    You said “However, I do believe that in some of these meetings (especially think of Bentley since Lakeland was so well televised/publicized) there is quite a bit of the demonic. Just revisit Bentley’s “ordination” ceremony for starters.”

    I presume you are referring to Stacey Campbell’s head-shaking. I did think that could have been a demonic manifestation, but remember that was but one part of the ceremony, which itself was a tiny part of the “revival”. This was the only thing I’ve seen in 20+ years that could have been demonic, which suggests that actual demonic activity is very rare. The rest of Lakeland was standard psychological trickery, no different to Marjoe, Derren Brown, or dozens of others.

    (If you have any other examples of demonic happenings, do let me know, as I may be ignorant).

    You said “The aberrant theology is just “orthodox” enough to deceive individuals into following the leaders. Surely, you would agree that this is the work of Satan — just like the fake healings due to temporary symptomatic relief. One might say it’s a question of degree: the overt demonic as compared to the deceptive tricks of psychological trickery”

    The aberrant theology is separate to the psychological trickery. You can get people with sound theology who use mind tricks. Yes, satan is the “father of lies” and he is behind the deception, but he is not doing fake healings. This is a subtle but important distinction. As I was trying to say, we need to get rid of the ludicrous idea that satan or his demons are rampaging round the world doing healings and other miracles, especially in christians. It’s just as wrong as believing the claims of the healers that God or the Holy Spirit are doing miracles left right and center.

    [As an aside, I have come across plenty of evangelists who use what could be regarded as psychological trickery when communicating the gospel. Even the altar call, common in some parts of the church, could be seen in this way, especially if accompanied by a hymn like "Just as I am", which is highly manipulative. Is satan behind this deception as well?]

    2 Thess 9-12 (the verse I was thinking of) seems to be about the antichrist (the lawless one) and I’m not sure we’re at that stage yet!

  123. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Like I wrote, I don’t deny the possibility of healings despite the faulty theology; however, I remain skeptical of any claims unless I personally see hard evidence. Frankly, I don’t expect anyone necessarily to believe my testimony of healing as I cannot provide hard evidence (I’d never had my knees examined before). However, given my own healing, I do believe God does heal!

    Now, going back to one of the questions I posed to you. What about Johnson’s botched “healing” in this post? Either this account is a fabrication, a figment of his imagination or worse. Surely, this speaks to Bill Johnson’s credibility. What do you think?

    If this isn’t a fabrication, then what about the ‘power’ behind it? What do you believe is the source of this power?

  124. Craig says:

    Bentley’s ‘ordination’ looked like an occult initiatory rite of some sort. Bentley’s manifestations looked akin to those in Kundalini — which have a spiritual source not of God. You seem to believe most anything can be explained by natural phenomen. While some certainly can, not all is obviously as you at least conceded in the example of Stacey Campbell. Have you seen Bentley’s new wife with this same head shaking manifestation? Have you seen others? There are YouTube videos if you have not.

    Quite a bit of the terminology and practice used in hyper-charismaticism is found in New Age and occult. Going “beyond the veil,” portals, “soaking” prayer (contemplative/meditative prayer or Eastern-style meditation), etc are some examples. Here are some articles on the CrossWise site which provide background of New Age/occult within the “church”:

    “Christ” in the New Age

    Misplaced Trust, part I

    Misplaced Trust, part II

    Kris Vallotton and the “Mantle of Jesus Christ” / Bill Johnson on Corporate Anointing

    In the the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John speaks about a one world government [see 13:6-7] and one world religion. Certainly, this just does not appear overnight. This sort of thing needs to have much foreplanning. And, this plan has been progressing since the League of Nations (before this really) and especially when the name was changed to the United Nations. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 illustrates that the Rapture (or Rapture/2nd coming depending on one’s viewpoint) will not occur until the “great apostasy” comes and the antichrist is revealed. One would think he would be firmly in place before he’s “revealed” which, again, likely would not happen overnight. If you view 2 Thess 2:3-12 as, generally, a progression, a segment of time culminating in the final days of our existence, you’ll see how the “coming of the lawless one” may not necessarily mean from the point of his world rulership to the very end. So, yes, I do believe we are in the times of the antichrist. I do believe he’s in the world yet not revealed just yet.

    Please note, I do not wish to make this particular post a discussion on the New Age. If you’d like to discuss this, please go to one of the posts listed above in this comment.

  125. peacebringer says:

    Martin,
    I have no doubt healing occurs. God works in many ways. There is also the workings of “other things” as this question even posits. The one story you mentioned is actually even a very God centered thing, where the couple rather than seeking some “high powered” pastor to pray, prayed on their own. See, when people seek God, God works and moves for His glory. This is regardless of whether or not seducing spirits are at work. I have been on record already as indicating that Kim Walker (whatever last name is) and Jesus Culture are well meaning and well intended, yet caught up in the gravitation of the seduction at Bethel.

  126. peacebringer says:

    Eh, sorry got caught mid thought.

    The point is God works in the lives of people. Whereever those that seek God, God meets them. Recall the letters to the Churches, each letter points to those that will respond to truth. They have the eyes to see, ears to hear, and responsive heart. There is the love of truth.

    There are many effectual deceptions, but much deception is out there related to “healing.” Not that God doesn’t heal, because he does, all the time. Those that get carried away, do so because they love something more than the truth.

    I can also tell you this, a coupel years ago I probably woulda said that folks were making a lot out of nothing. Sure we all get something wrong, they mean well. God works as he works. Yet, God opened my eyes to see what was going on spiritually is such places. Lines of deception are many, this is but one.

    But God is always at work when there are those that seek him, even in the midst of operations of seductive spirits and deceptive twisted doctrines.

  127. IWTT says:

    Is it possible to follow an orthodox theology/doctrine (the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles) and God still be God and watch/see HIM do the miracles that HE does? Do we really need to have “theology destroyed” in order to have the miraculous occur?

  128. peacebringer says:

    IWTT, absolutely. We don’t need theology destroyed. You had God work in your life. I have had God work in mine. Healing occurs, miracles happen, God moving occurs every day. The couple didn’t need to go to someone, they sought God. Now we do have biblical directives of going to “elders” and being annoited with oil in prayer for healing. I think sign of submitting to authority, but each of us are minister, each of us has gifts. Healings occur in many ways and through the playing out of many gifts. But we don’t always see things as God does…

  129. Peter says:

    Craig,

    Yes, I have seen the videos of Jessa Hasbrook/Bentley. They don’t come across in the same way as Stacey Campbell did, and I think Jessa is probably copying (maybe subconsciously) what she saw at the ordination. This sort of thing is commonplace – people emulate their heroes for all sorts of reasons. I’ve seen it in the style of preaching, method of praying, language and idioms used, body language, arm gestures, and yes, manifestations as well. It’s even been known for the form of speaking in tongues found in a congregation to be modelled on the pastor and to change when the pastor changes!!

    I’m also aware of the similarities to the new age movement and occultism. However, here’s the thing. We’ve mentioned Marjoe, filmed around 1970, and there are people manifesting on that, yet there’s no new age material. At one point you briefly see someone shaking on the floor. There were manifestations associated with the Vineyard movement in the 1980s and 1990s, but no new age terminology. Same for Rodney Howard Browne who started the “laughing revival”. When Toronto happened in 1994, new age terminology was absent (at least at first), and there was loads of manifestations. The next big thing was Pensacola, and similarly, there was manifestations but no new age there.

    It’s only in the last 5 or so years that stuff with new age or occult links has appeared in the mainstream pentecostal and charismatic movements. And yet, there is evidence of manifestations in these movements, along with fake healings, going back 40 years or more.

    So the evidence I have seen simply does not suggest any connection whatsoever between the use of new age or occult terminology/practices and manifestations or false healings. I don’t know how old you are, but I’ve over 25 years experience of this, and I’ve seen a lot in that time.

    This is another factor which strongly supports the “natural” explanation.

    You could argue that the prevalence and severity of the manifestations has been slowly increasing over the years. That is a valid point, and I do see a reason for it. People basically get used to any sort of ecstatic religious movement – what was fresh and exciting one year is boring and old-fashioned the next. So, to keep up the momentum and stop the movement dying, there is a continual pressure to innovate and change. There has to be new teachings, new anointings, and new or greater manifestations. It’s also why new songs are constantly written. Perhaps this explains why the new age stuff has come in recently.

  130. Craig says:

    Peter,

    I don’t believe I’m going to convince you with my words here. However, if you’ll research it on your own from the occult side you will see that there’s been a concerted effort to bring New Age/occult into the church for some time now and it’s not been just the past 5 or so years this has taken hold. Constance Cumbey wrote about this over 25 years ago. Kenyon brought in the influence of Unity, New Thought, etc. about 90 years ago and things have taken off since then (although occult influence surely predates him). Latter Rain had this stuff from the beginning. This is where Manifest Sons of God teaching comes from which is New Age/occult teaching. The teaching has been cleverly couched in a Christian guise.

  131. cheryl u says:

    Peter,

    I don’t have the references for these examples I am going to give you right now. They may or may not still be available online, I don’t know. I do know I don’t have time at this moment to go and hunt for them.

    But what would you think of the testimony of one that came out of the charismatic movement that said at one point he rolled UP the stairs? Power of suggestion or manipulation? How does one roll up the stairs?

    What do you think of a person claiming that was thrown across the room by what they believed to be the Holy Spirit and were healed after that? Does manipulation or the power of suggestion or any natural phenomenon accout for a person being thrown across the room? I wouldn’t think so. And I also wouldn’t think the Holy Spirit would likely use such a method to heal someone! This, by the way, was told by a pastor of mine that said he had seen this happen.

    What about the stories from people coming out of places like Toronto that say these people felt compelled to do something or that they couldn’t stop? Like the lady that said she knew she was going to roar (like a lion), didn’t want to, and told the Lord she didn’t want to, but found this great roar coming out of her mouth anyway?

    Or what do you think of the story that was told by one of the pastor’s of the supposed Brownsville Revival about how the Holy Spirit repeatedly slammed him to the floor, picked him up and slammed him to the floor again? Someone watching said it was the most violent thing he had ever seen and that he thought the man was going to be killed. The pastor telling the story said he often came home from meetings black and blue because of, if I remember correctly, what he called “the violence of the Spirit”. Was this manipulation, the power of suggestion, the Holy Spirit?

    Or were these things the workings of demonic spirits?

  132. Craig says:

    cheryl u,

    Yes, I know personally an individual who said she saw someone roll UP the stairs. THAT was her wake up call to get out of that church!

  133. IWTT says:

    As we know there are a quite a few testamonies coming now of the “starnge unbiblical manifestations” that happened/happening and how people are beginning to see the light as to how these are not right or even testable by scripture.

    I heard a great sermon this morning by Micheal Youseff regarding false teachers and how many are denying even the wrath of God to come. It was good and I thought it possibly even fit in this topic because what we are seeing here in the midst of all of this junk is the “power evangelism” that covers these actions. I have heard many a talk/sermon/testamony and there is little gospel of Jesus Christ spoken and it’s all about “signs and wonders”.

    But God continues to remove His hand in holding back and is turning them over to their own vices and deception. The more they reject HIM the more he let’s go.

    Thank the Lord that through these sites where people use rational thinking are able to bring forth the truth, using the veru Word that is rejected, thereby saving some.

    Thanks Craig

  134. Peter says:

    Cheryl U,,

    I’ve heard a few of these stories as well.

    My first question would be is the person lying. Craig’s original post was about a healing claim from BJ, and I personally don’t believe it ever happened. Lies are widespread in pentecostalism.

    My second question would be is the person’s recollection correct. They may believe it to be true, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it happened.

    I want to give you two examples of how this has happened in the past.

    Example one: I once heard a dancer, who’d danced at a Christian conference, recount the story of how someone came up to him after the meeting to say how they were blessed by a somersault that he did. The only problem was that this dancer knew he didn’t do a somersault at any time – in fact he was incapable of it.

    Example two: Read this report of the fraudulent activities of a Glenn Smith:

    http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/gemstones-fraud-glenn-smith-caught-redhanded/

    Note that the letter from pastor Jack Morraine mentions things that seemed supernatural, such as gems growing in size.

    How can we explain both the above? Here’s a quote from a previous comment of mine (July 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm):

    “The foundation of everything is music. It effectively hypnotises people, or at the least induces an altered state of consciousness. And when people are in a trance, they can be manipulated to do or believe almost anything, and for them it is real.”

    I have no doubt that, in the two examples I just gave, many people in the congregation were in some sort of trance, induced by the music or possibly the preaching. In this hypnotic state, the functioning of their brains will have been affected, and their memories of the events will be distorted or even completely false. Nothing supernatural actually happened; people were just tricked into believing that it did.

    If the stories you quote are not outright lies, it is very likely that this same concept applies to at least some of them. Pretty much every meeting at, for example, Brownsville and Toronto, will start with 30-60 minutes of music, which will have a hypnotic effect. Such a practice is almost universal in Pentecostalism.

    One of your stories was someone feeling compelled to roar like a lion. This definitely sounds like manipulation or hypnotic suggestion to me. Could even be peer pressure if people around her were doing it.

    The other three are of physical actions. They do seem a bit extreme.

    The one of someone being thrown across the room is interesting. I have seen videos of people falling backwards when a preacher makes a hand gesture and supposedly “imparts” the Holy Spirit to them. Again, that results from suggestion. But I can easily imagine someone believing that they were “thrown across the room”, or they saw this happen, when in reality the person hardly moved.

    I can’t say any more, because I haven’t seen the events you described. I also suspect that they date from before most big meetings were broadcast or web streamed, so conveniently there’s no record of them. We have to treat everything we hear with a great deal of suspicion. But yes, if they did happen in the form described, they could be demonic.

  135. Craig says:

    While this may mean nothing, I do find the following interesting.

    Since the time I started this site I have received some spam. And, as time has progressed, I have received more. Nothing startling there. And, thankfully WordPress has an excellent spam filter which catches 99% of them with very few legitimate comments marked incorrectly as spam. While I have some posts on here which have received to date much more traffic than this particular one here (the BJ I, for example), this post on BJ’s botched healing is generating upwards of 30 to 40 spam messages per day — about a 10 fold increase.

  136. IWTT says:

    I have seen videos of people falling backwards when a preacher makes a hand gesture and supposedly “imparts” the Holy Spirit to them.

    yep, been there and done that! Had a pracher one time at an A/G Church come and lay hands on my stomach and yelled. I fell backwards, but to this day I didn’t feel any power or anointing. I think the yell scraed me. Almost knocked my head off falling backwards and hit the pew!

    Went to a Benny Hinnn show one time, sang in the choir and he did the whole section fall scenario. Hmmm, we all held hands and once someone fell it was like a dominoe effect. The whole row will go because you don’t let go of the persons hand next to you and he falls , so do you. What a sham! About took my leg off falling into the chair.

  137. Peter says:

    IWTT – that’s exactly the type of things I’m thinking of. Plenty of videos on YouTube of Hinn and others.

    But it doesn’t require too much much imagination to see how this sort of incident could turn into something like Cheryl’s description:

    What do you think of a person claiming that was thrown across the room by what they believed to be the Holy Spirit and were healed after that? … This, by the way, was told by a pastor of mine that said he had seen this happen.

    I think of them as the Christian equivalent of catching a fish – as the story is retold, over time the fish gets bigger!

    We have no way of knowing if a story is lies, exaggeration (still lying in my view), false memory, or true. So treat it with caution.

    I was thinking a bit more about the dates of the events Cheryl recounted. I’m sure they’re from the mid-90s, the Toronto/Brownsville period. I’m not aware of any remotely similar stories from recent years, and I would suggest that there won’t be. The growth of the internet and christian tv means that huge numbers of people watch revivals and will have recordings of the meetings. Tall stories can now be debunked far easier. We saw this with Lakeland, which was described as the first big revival of the internet. Todd’s lies and inconsistencies were quickly exposed and communicated to the world.

  138. Peter says:

    Craig, in response to your comment of August 4, 2011 at 11:07 am:

    Yes, there have been occult and pagan influences in the church probably since it began. There may be a concerted effort by some new agers and occultists to infiltrate the church. But how widespread are they?

    I watched Marjoe again to remind myself. (It should be essential viewing for all christians). I saw no new age or occult influences in Marjoe’s “ministry”. Yet there are loads of manifestations – in two separate scenes, people are shaking on the floor, there’s plenty of falling over and plenty of speaking in (fake) tongues. It’s no different to what we see in today’s hyper-charismatic churches, or what I’ve seen over the last 25 years. Marjoe himself admits it’s all psychological.

    40 years ago, Marjoe didn’t say that there was a “portal to heaven” open over his revival meetings. There were manifestations. People may say this today, and there are manifestations. Conclusion – belief in heavenly portals have nothing to do with manifestations. Am I being simplistic?

    My point remains that there is no observable link between occult/new age concepts and the manifestations and claims of healings that are found in the church. I’m happy to be proved wrong if there is evidence to the contrary.

  139. Craig says:

    Peter,

    The woman I know personally would not fabricate her story. Of course, you may argue that she herself was under some sort of hypnotism and saw something that really wasn’t there. I do believe you reject the prevalence of demonic at your own peril. My opinion, of course.

    Read this testimony here of pastor Paul Gowdy who was at Toronto and originally thought the whole thing was of God:

    http://iftruthbeknown.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/the-toronto-deception/

    “…I became disconcerted by the prophetic words that came forth especially one by Carol Arnott in which she had her bride experience where she was taken into the very presence of Jesus and said that the love that she experienced was even better than sex! I was shocked in my spirit and thought how can one compare the love of God with sex? When we suspected that demons were running riot in our services John Arnott would teach that we should ask are they coming or going. If they are leaving then that is ok! John would defend the chaos by saying that we ought not be afraid of being deceived, if we have asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill us then how could Satan come and deceive us? This would make Satan very strong and God very weak! He said that we needed to have more faith in a Big God to protect us than in a Big Devil to deceive us. This sounded very convincing but was totally contrary to scripture for Jesus and Paul and Peter and John all warn us about the power of deceiving spirits and especially so in the last days. Again we did not love God enough to obey His Word and the result was that we opened ourselves up to lying spirits. May God have mercy upon us!

    “Finally the penny dropped for me as I was rolling around one night ‘drunk in the Spirit’ as we would say. I started singing and as I rolled around the floor the Nursery Rhyme ‘Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow.’ came to mind. I sang this in a mocking spirit and instantly my heart told me this was a demon. Instantly I repented and was in total shock. How could a demon get into me? Did I not love God? Was I not zealous for the things of God? Was I not nuts about Jesus? I knew that an unclean spirit had just manifested through me and I was guilty of great sin. After this experience I stayed away from TACF. I did not go back there any more. I did not possess the conviction to denounce the whole experience but thought that we where failing to pastor the Blessing well enough.”

    You may want to view Constance Cumbey’s video on how she came upon New Age influence in the Church and how she was stonewalled by not a few “Christian” leaders [majority of this video is specifically on New Age, the "stonewalled" reference is at 58:00 and forward]:

    You may want to peruse Cumbey’s two full length books available as a free download here:

    https://public.me.com/cumbey

    Her first book is listed here as “HIDDEN DANG…” and the 2nd is “A PLANNED DE…” Regarding the first book, you may want to ask yourself why an organization would pay for a full page ad in many of the prominent newspapers worldwide with the proclamation “THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE!” [This was back in 1982.]

    Wishing to sound the alarm of obvious New Age influence in Christian bookstores (this was just the tip of the iceberg), she contacted many “Christian” leaders to warn them in hopes of stemming the tide. At times she was paid lip service, at others, she was ridiculed, attacked in various ways, etc. This is because many of our “Christian” leaders are complicit. That’s part of “The Plan.” The goal is to destroy Christianity both from within and without.

    Once again, I’ll state, you may benefit from reading some of the material here in the CrossWise site which shows the explicit intent and, in my view, the success of the infiltration. Do you know how widespread Dominionism is? Do you know what the real endgoal of Dominionism is? Read this article here: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/the-kingdom-of-god-is-at-hand-part-ii/

  140. Craig says:

    Going back to the subject of the gifts of I Corinthians 12-14, here’s a comment by Dr. Craig Blomberg, currently of Denver Seminary, from the New International Version Application Commentary (NIVAC) [Zondervan, 1994; pp 262-63] regarding 12:8-13:

    A major theological error that follows from the misinterpretation of verses 8-13 is the belief that any or all of the gifts of the Spirit have ceased…[T]his violates every sensible reading of verse 12, and it has to distort the actual record of events throughout church history. Neither tongues nor prophecy nor miracles ceased as the end of the first century; they continued at least in the third century and have recurred sporadically if not consistently ever since. The relative disappearance of these gifts during the later Patristic period can be attributed largely to their abuse in certain sectarian circles…

    It remains equally inappropriate, however, to see the “resumption” of these gifts during the last hundred years as the sign of anything having to do with the end times. If the gifts never entirely ceased, and if they were squelched for centuries by an overpowering and unbiblical institutionalization of the church, then their revival may in general be a sign that a certain health and balance is returning to Christianity, but not that some final generation or period of history prior to Christ’s return is necessarily present. In every era of church history, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror”; only when Christ returns will we “see face to face.” This reminder should inspire humility in our personal relationships, our intellectual endeavors, and the spiritual claims that we make for ourselves. [emphasis added.]

  141. Peter says:

    Craig,

    There are plenty of other theologians who will say that Blomberg is the one in error. Many hold the view that the miraculous or sign gifts were given to validate the foundational ministry of the apostles and were subsequently no longer needed.

    My other problem with Blomberg’s view is that he assumes that the gifts referred to in extra-biblical literature (right up to present day) are indeed genuine biblical gifts. I don’t believe that any definite conclusions can be drawn in this regard – you simply can’t tell from written accounts.

    However, my personal experience in the charismatic / pentecostal scene, as a sympathetic observer, has been that the claims of gifts are all false. Tongues is obviously fake and psychological, anyone who has claimed to have the gift of healing has been excellent at manipulating people but hasn’t healed anyone, and predictive prophecies have all been false.

    So I’ve become a cessationist by default. I’m actually saddened that I have to take this position as I have major differences with many others who hold this view, but I just cannot see any evidence to support the “continuationist” approach.

  142. Craig says:

    Peter, you wrote:

    My other problem with Blomberg’s view is that he assumes that the gifts referred to in extra-biblical literature (right up to present day) are indeed genuine biblical gifts. I don’t believe that any definite conclusions can be drawn in this regard – you simply can’t tell from written accounts.

    Do you have something you can point to specifically? I’m not doubting you necessarily; I’d just like to see this in Blomberg’s own words.

    Have you tried to exegete the “perfect” / “complete” / “maturity” of 1st Cor 13:10 to support cessationism? I note that Gordon Fee in the NICNT [Eerdmans, 1987; pp 644-46] agrees with the continuationist stance.

  143. Peter says:

    Craig,

    I based that bit on the quote you gave. Phrases like “the actual record of events throughout church history”, “they continued at least in the third century and have recurred sporadically if not consistently ever since”, “the resumption of these gifts during the last hundred years” all refer to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The only documentation for this is extra-biblical.

    Look at it this way – three years ago, the supporters of the Lakeland revival were claiming miracles galore. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think you do either. Likewise you can read newsletters from healing evangelists that describe all kinds of signs and wonders. They are almost certainly false. Things that people believe, claim, or say they witnessed may not be true. And we should treat historical claims with the same cautious approach that contemporary ones require (in fact we should be even more cautious). Blomberg doesn’t do this – he just assumes that the literature is true.

    Regarding Gordon Fee, he is a pentecostal so not surprisingly he will read the Bible in a continuationist way. John MacArthur is a good example of a cessationist theologian, and there are many others – it was the historical position of the church. I am happy to accept that there is a difference of opinion on this topic. If the church’s greatest minds can’t agree on this, then I don’t think I can contribute anything from a theological viewpoint..

    But from a practical perspective, I think I can offer something. I have been part of the charismatic and pentecostal movements for over 20 years and have seen pretty much everything, from the mild to the extreme, at a range of churches, conferences and bible weeks. I’ve also done a lot of study and research into these movements at a global level. So I’m taking a lot more than my personal experience into account. And when I look at things objectively, it’s actually pretty grim. There is no evidence that the gifts, as claimed by charismatics and pentecostals, are genuine. So, with actually a large amount of regret, I have to conclude that their underlying theology is wrong.

  144. Graham says:

    There is only one true God who is the eternal King, Creator and Redeemer of all that is. He is perfectly holy, just, loving and truthful. He has revealed Himself to be eternally self- existent – one being in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

    The Bible to be the inspired and only infallible and authoritative Word of God.

    Humankind was created in the image of God to know and enjoy Him, yet we willfully rejected the Lordship and glory of God for which we were intended. Because of this, sickness, death and judgment entered the world and now creation experiences the effects and consequences of sin.

    The Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin, Mary, and is God’s Anointed One, empowered by the Holy Spirit to inaugurate God’s Kingdom on earth. He was crucified for our sins, died, was buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven, and is now alive today, in the presence of God the Father and in His people. He is “true God” and “true man.”

    We are saved by God’s grace, through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Anyone can be restored to fellowship with God through repenting, believing and receiving Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit, convicts, regenerates, justifies, and adopts us as we enter the Kingdom of God as His sons and daughters.

    In the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live holy and minister super-naturally. The baptism of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:4-8 and 2:4 is poured out on believers that they might have power to be witnesses.

    The victorious redemptive work of Christ on the cross provides freedom from the power of the enemy – sin, lies, sickness and torment.

    The Church consists of all who put their faith in Jesus Christ. He gave His church the ordinances of Baptism and Communion. The Church exists to carry on the ministry of Jesus Christ and further advance His kingdom by undoing the works of the enemy, preaching and living the good news of God’s love, disciple the nations, baptizing and teaching them to love and obey God.

    In the ever increasing government of God and in the Blessed Hope, which is the glorious visible return of our Lord Jesus Christ for His overcoming bride – His church. Heaven and hell are real places. There will be a resurrection of the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting death.
    ..
    This is the belief on Bill Johnson Church website and it is Biblical . God does heal today .

  145. Craig says:

    Peter,

    OK, I see what you mean re: Blomberg. However, I’m not so sure we should dismiss purported charismatic displays as being categorically either false or demonic. And, I say this is a non-pentecostal. Up until four years ago I had never really given the gifts of the Spirit any thought whatsoever; but, through research after being exposed to a hyper-charismatic, I had to concede that there is no Scriptural basis for cessationism.

    I have to admit that I was surprised to read that Blomberg was a continuationist since I’ve read some of his work regarding the socio-historical background of the Gospels and Jesus Christ. Yes, Fee is pentecostal; but, on the other hand one could say MacArthur is a non-pentecostal and therefore interprets these passages through his own biased lens. While I have learned a bit from MacArthur (I’d like to get his book Slave), I have also learned to view his work with some skepticism. As but one example, in his sermon “A Jet Tour Through Revelation” he states regarding the Rapture:

    Now we come to chapter 4 [of Revelation] and leave the church age. People often ask, “Where does the Rapture come in?” It’s in the white spaces between chapters 3 and 4. You have the church on earth in chapters 2 and 3: all of a sudden we appear in heaven in chapter 4.

    In in the white spaces between 3 and 4?! How’s that for exegeting a passage? I’m curious how he exegetes 2 Thess 2:1-3 in which Paul makes it clear that “our being gathered to Him” [v 1] comes after the “man of lawlessness is revealed.” My point is not to divert this thread but merely to point out that MacArthur clearly interprets some passages through his own bias and an example is his interpretation of 1 Cor 12-14.

    While I do not believe I’ve seen many of the gifts in action, I do believe I’ve been given a few prophecies/words of knowledge which have come to pass. These were not by hyper-charismatics uttering a “thus saith the Lord” or some such nonsense; these were seemingly random statements from individuals with other similar statements from others (who do not even know one another). One of these has occurred very recently.

    On two totally separate occasions (over 7 years ago) I and my 2nd ex-wife clearly felt the presence of demonic forces (gift of discernment?). One of these was at a house we were looking at from the outside while house hunting, the second was a few months later 50 miles from the first incident in a warehouse of an antique shop. Both times the feeling was identical. On the first, I felt it right away and backed away from the house while she peered in a window. It was as if I had run, gotten out of breath and my lungs were “burning” with a sort of ‘tight-chested’ feeling. She turned to me and said, “Do you feel that?” Then, I knew it wasn’t my imagination.

    Anyway, again, not to divert this thread — I just wanted to point out some things from a personal perspective regarding the gifts.

  146. Craig says:

    Graham,

    Yes, I’ve seen this on the Bethel website; however, Johnson contradicts some of this in his books, sermons, etc. as other articles on this blog clearly illustrate. And, he’s not the only one who does such. Given the disparity between “statements of faith” and actual practice, I think the actual practice takes precedence. As a hypothetical example for illustration, I can tell you that as a Customer Service Representative I provide quality service, but it your experience is counter to this you will say quite rightly that I’ve not provided “quality service.”

    What do you think about the first botched healing (admittedly by Johnson) on this blog article?

  147. Peter says:

    Craig,

    One thing to remember is that, despite protests to the contrary, theology is driven by the wider culture and our own background, not just the Bible.

    I recently read that in apartheid-era south africa, not that long ago, the Bible was interpreted to justify the white supremacist approach. Shocking but true. Likewise with slavery in the US in a past age.

    I see the same effect at play with continuationism. Over the last 100 years, charismatics and pentecostals have become a global force in world christianity – I think I read that about one-fourth of christians – 500 million – are pentecostal or charismatic. This puts considerable pressure on theologians of all persuasions to at least consider the continuationist view to be a possible interpretation of the Bible.

    I have always felt that both views have merit, although I have recently heard some very convincing cessationist sermons. I take the view that the Bible is unclear, but the testimony of recent history is that the continuationist case seems to have no merit.

    I wouldn’t deny that God can still do miracles today, not that demonic forces do exist. But on the whole I’d say things like this are the exception rather than the rule.

  148. peacebringer says:

    Peter,
    Regarding the cessationist view point. I have serious problems with the view point from scripture. The premise of “cessationist” view is that the “gifts” were only here until something was “written” as in the New testament. Therefore once we have the “written” the gifts are no longer needed. 1st of all it is a modern view coming from a “literate” and “published” society. Note that prior to the modern era most people were not literate. They listened to the teaching and word of God, So that argument is flawed.

    Now lets us take a look at examination of movement. I understand you were involved in “charismatic” and “petnecostal activities for a long time and have since come to question all. The switch in such “all or none” thinking is not uncommon. When noting the psychological manipulation of much of what “passess” as gifts it is easy to dismiss that which is real or genuine.

    I would argue that gifts have and continue to occur in peoples lives. Most of it occuring in day to day interactions with God that are not promoted or publicized. They are just God interacting and gifting men.

    However, for the sake of examination what would it mean if the cessationist view is correct. For this at a logical and sytematic level is problematic. See, you have to start with Israel and the giving of Torah. God’s 1st plan was not to have Torah, but that the people of Israel listen to God’s voice. However, they were scared so the result is a negotiated standard “the Torah.” Now scripture say that God with write “his laws” on the hearts and minds of mankind. How is this done, the Holy Spirit. Now if it was all about “the written” then where does being written on the heart and mind come in? Such a view is really problematic scripturally.
    And tends to grativate toward “replacement” views. The “New Testament ” replacing the
    “Old Testament” with improved directives.

    Another problem is that God, being a loving Father, would me make gifts availble to the earlier members of the “body” and “Church” How does this fit with the character and nature of God. Resources available to some but not all? does that make any sense. Rather, the gifts operate as they always have in the lives of others as the are in relationship with God and others. I can say personally I have been given discernment, something that is beyond me in many situations. I have been used at times prophetically. Not with “images or visions” of future but words to build up someone else, even point to what may be ahead in ways I don’t grasp. I have been used to confront and extort with words beyond my own. I have had God use others with messages that consist of “prophecy” with images illustrating where I am and pushing me forward and deeper. So i find any “cessationist” view to be problematic theologically. Sure there is the conterfeit. But there is the real. Any other view I think alters who God is in my opinion.

  149. peacebringer says:

    Oh and note, I am not nor ever have been a “pentecostal” or “charasmatic” theologically. However, I look at scripture and look at how see God interact in my life and the reported workings in the lives of others. It is not some special “other” that God gives gifts to (the “saint concept) but God gives to who he gives as he Gives that serve His purpose. As 1 Corinthians 12 states there are a variety of gifts for a variety of purposes that God gives as He gives.

  150. ruthsongs says:

    I would like to find a good discussion of the cessationist and continuationist arguments. Can you point me to any such? One that actually presents both arguments?

  151. Craig says:

    ruthsongs,

    Here’s a discussion between Michael Horton(non-pentecostal/charismatic) and Sam Storms (pentecostal/charismatic):

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/12/why-i-am-not-charismatic-part-1/

    and, another part:

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/07/why-i-amnot-charismatic-what-does-it-mean-to-be-charismatics-response-sam-storms/

    There are apparently parts in between, but, I’ve not viewed them or the comments section.

    I will state that I have some serious objections/questions regarding Storms’ association with Mike Bickle. — Make that past association w/Bickle as I don’t know if he associates with him today. However, I note he does live in KC.

  152. peacebringer says:

    Sadly, a lot of what you will find out there from a “continuationist” view will end up coming from the “exaggerated” side with the pentecostal and charismatic crowd.

  153. Peter says:

    Peacebringer, As I have discussed, I think the scriptures can be interpreted to support both viewpoints.

    But cessationism says that it was only the miraculous or sign gifts that ceased. It does not say that other gifts ceased and it doesn’t say that God stopped doing miracles.

    It also says that the reason the sign gifts existed was to validate the ministry of the apostles and lay the foundation for the faith. Once the gospel had gone out to the gentiles, and the new testament was written, the foundation was laid and there was no more need for them.

    In the Bible, God did certain things at certain times. He parted the Red Sea, and I don’t think He’s done that again. Jesus turned water into wine – has that been repeated? So it’s very reasonable that other things could be for a certain time and period. I don’t think that’s inconsistent with the nature of God. The New Testament period was a special time in history where God’s dealings with the world were changing. The sign gifts were part of that transition.

    Regarding the “exaggerated” side, all parts of charismaticism and pentecostalism are branches of the same tree. Ultimately, the mild bits and the crazies share the same roots.

  154. peacebringer says:

    I am well aware of the perspective, I just don’t happen to share it for the state reason. Yes, God can and does things at specific times. The whole validation “argument” I find flawed. Now validation of the gospel can certainly be within a variety of purposes used, all gifts have a variety of purposes. I can say God worked with specific gift with specific time, and while part of me wants to have that happen again, I don’t know that God is going back to that at this time. I have significant issue with the “validation” premise as already stated. Folks can take other tacts but between reports of others, own experience, and my understanding of scripture God still gives as we will give for His purposes. In fact, in my perspective the whole “validation mindset” r/t to gifts is part of problem. For it is then the dependenfcy of the validation rather than God moving as He moves. The Holy Spirit is described as wind. The words for human spirit denote breath. There is some interrelation there. The thing is I believe that the understanding of God’s gifts gets skewed by our own understanding and twisted by lust of flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life. We see a lot of that in “charsamitic camp.” Looking for “more, more, more” as we are not settled on what God does. There are some who look for the “gifting” and not for deeper relational with the “giver.” There are some who engage in “going ahead” of God which I believe is part and parcel to “heaven invades earth” and “dominionist” mindsets where going well ahead of God and putting “church” in the place of Jesus. At any rate, I fully understand the view such as Peter, but for the reasons stated and many more I simply find it missing…

  155. Craig says:

    Peter,

    I believe I Cor 13:12 answers the perfection/completion/maturity question of v 10:

    12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. [NIV 1984]

    I don’t see how this can be construed as anything but Jesus’ 2nd Coming and our own bodily resurrection when we see Him “face to face.”

  156. Martin says:

    I say we rip some of the pages of the bible out to make it fit with our experiences.

  157. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Sarcasm of this sort is not the way to further this conversation.

  158. Martin says:

    It was meant to provoke thought, Craig. There wasn’t any sarcasm.

  159. ruthsongs says:

    @Craig Thank you for the references. I’ll look into them. It is very difficult to find simple approaches to these questions. What I mean is, on both sides of the issue I find a certain kind of ‘the other camp is full of idiots’ attitude.

    Speaking as one who has left charismania, but not wanting to have a knee jerk reaction to the manifestations of God’s Holy Spirit, it is very difficult for me to listen to teachers on this topic who portray any attitude other than simply looking at the scripture. I can appreciate passionate debate, but I’d almost welcome a cold approach because I was so inundated with a superior attitude toward cessationists, that now when I see the same toward continuationists, it really gets in my way.

    Thanks for a civil discussion here. It is rare.

  160. Craig says:

    ruthsongs,

    You’re welcome! And, thanks for commenting.

    If I could, I’d like to make a suggestion. Find a copy (a local library, seminary or actually make a purchase) of Gordon Fee’s New International Commentary of the New Testament (NICNT) on First Epistle to the Corinthians. Even though I”m not a Charismatic/Pentecostal, I find his works to be based on Truth and, while scholarly, generally are readable not requiring any knowledge of Greek even though he refers to the original Greek within the text (I myself have had no seminary training). [Fee transliterates the Greek also which helps.]

    Here are some reviews on Amazon, following that is a snippet from one reviewer:

    http://www.amazon.com/Epistle-Corinthians-International-Commentary-Testament/product-reviews/0802825079/ref=pr_all_summary_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    Also, I am NOT in any way, shape, or form, charismatic (I’m a high churchman). But I acknowledge that the Bible never teaches an “end” to the spiritual gifts (well, we can make some verses teach that if we try). However, I’m very SKEPTICAL of most of today’s alleged display of gifts. My fellow non-charismatics seem uncomfortable with Fee’s interpretations, but such fears are unwarranted. To say God is free to give gifts as he chooses does not oblige us to accept modern Pentecostal practices.

    With responses to his review:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R30RIU5CZ4D8Y8/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0802825079&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=#wasThisHelpful

    Then, after this, I suggest you find a commentary with a strong cessationist perspective (perhaps MacArthur’s) and compare the two using your own Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    I know I’ve made some criticisms of MacArthur in previous comments; but, I need to relay the following in all fairness. A while back on local radio, Grace To You featured a study on the Book of Revelation. Unfortunately, I don’t regularly catch this program and I heard only the closing minutes. At the end was a free offer of MacArthur’s booklet A Jet Tour Through Revelation for first timers. I ordered the pamplet and was subsequently delighted to receive not a booklet but a complete hardback book of sermons including the one I ordered! [Truth Endures, if my memory is correct.] Upon opening, I quickly read through the sermon on Revelation and was disappointed with his statement/exegesis on the Rapture. Perhaps I’m now a bit biased against MacArthur as a result of my disappointment. I should add, however, just this week I heard his program and his thoughts on the Book of Daniel (last few chapters) piqued my interest.

    Anyway, I write all this to encourage you to do your own study while using other commentators as a guide. With opposing viewpoints, both sides obviously cannot be correct.

  161. ruthsongs says:

    @Craig,

    Ah, breath of fresh air. This quote “The “problems” with Fee’s book brought up by other reviewers represent one of the book’s strengths. It is very scholarly and typically lets the chips fall where they may. We need a fresh look at this epistle that isn’t laden with all of our traditions and perspectives that have affected us over the last 1900 years.”

    Very encouraging. Let the chips fall where they may!

    Thanks again. Hopefully I can find these resources in my local library.

    I have started through the series of discussions you recommended in your first reply and it looks like another good discussion without ‘attitude.’

  162. Craig says:

    I wanted to return again to the subject of healing by non-Christians. This is addressed in Al Dager’s online book Kingdom Theology:

    Signs and wonders, miracles and healings are good when they originate with God. The problem lies in our inability sometimes to distinguish whether they are from God or Satan. For Scripture gives us ample proof that Satan, as well as God, can perform marvelous miracles (Exodus 7:8-15; Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; II Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:11-18).

    It’s not a question of counterfeit versus real; Satan’s miracles are not counterfeits any more than foreign currency is a counterfeit of our own currency. Counterfeit “miracles” are those feats of legerdemain performed by professional magicians, and charlatans who create ruses to bilk people out of money. A miracle from the spirit realm is genuine, whether from God or Satan. Satan’s healings are not illusory; they are real. That’s what makes them dangerous.

    The reason people believe teachings when they are accompanied by signs and wonders is that they don’t believe Satan or his demons can perform genuine miracles. Therefore they think that any teaching accompanied by signs and wonders must be from God. [last 3 paragraphs under "An Overview" section]

    Also, in Kurt Koch’s book Occult A-B-C is the following quote of William Branham:

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

    According to Koch, this was because Christians in audience were praying that if Branham’s powers were of God that He would bless and use Branham; however, if his powers were not then to hinder him instead.

  163. Arwen4CJ says:

    I posted the following in another blog, and the person who runs the blog suggested that I might be able to find help here from posters as well (post slightly modified to eliminate direct references to the other blog):

    The reason I’m writing this is because some people at the church in my hometown want to show a webcast of the Voice of the Apostles conference soon.

    I don’t believe in modern day Apostles, and I’m very concerned about the content that will be shown. I guess they will be showing Randy Clark, Bill Johnson, and Heidi Baker. I know that all of them are false teachers, and I would like to bring my concerns to the leadership in the church.

    The people in the church are not given over to these false teachers, although some would respect them. Around the time of the Lakeland “revival” they tried imparting the Todd Bentley stuff in a special service. I was concerned then for the church because I KNEW Todd Bentley’s stuff was demonic. I sent an e-mail to people I knew in the church….including some in leadership, and they decided not to do anything further with Todd Bentley or Lakeland. They sent my e-mail around to people in the church, and several people thanked me for writing it.

    It’s time for me to write some more e-mails. It is a small Vineyard church, and some in the church do not condemn the Toronto “blessing” or the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. I need a tactful way to convey truth so that I don’t turn them off to actually examining doctrine.

    I’m thinking of addressing the unbiblicalness of impartation, drunkenness in the Spirit, and modern day Apostles. I would also talk about the false theology of Bill Johnson. I don’t know much about Randy Clark or Heidi Baker’s theology, but I know it is off. I will just need some tangible proof that they’re all false teachers. I did a tiny bit of research on Randy Clark and found out he was responsible for the Toronto “Blessing.” I don’t think linking him to the Toronto “blessing” will work with convincing them, as some of them like it. There must be another theological point of which I can try to convince them of his falseness. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you.

    The “Voice of Apostles conference” is put out by a group called Global Awakening.

  164. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I see that Global Awakening includes Bill Johnson whom I’ve written about extensively here on CrossWise. This is bad news if members of your church are considering a webcast with the likes of these folks. However, you could start with the fact that Johnson stated that Jesus was ‘born again':

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-i/

    You wrote, “The people in the church are not given over to these false teachers, although some would respect them…and some in the church do not condemn the Toronto “blessing” or the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.” If they respect these teachers and Toronto then they are either ignorant of the teachings or they agree with the teachings.

    The article you’ve posted your comment on is short and I think raises some issues. Also, check out the two Library Mandate articles which illustrate a credibility gap:

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

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

    There’s an obvious contradiction with regard to the timing of events. It is claimed that a James Goll “prophecy” of September 2009 was to “predict” a library acquisition having to do with “someone named Roberts” when Johnson actually already HAD the Roberts Liardon library which he writes about in a blogpost dated February of 2009 in which he acquired it “in the past year.” Something doesn’t add up!

  165. Craig says:

    I just noticed that Global Awakening if from (or sponsored by) the (C. Peter) Wagner Institute — more bad news!

  166. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig, thank you. Yes, I think there is plenty of evidence on Bill Johnson, and I will use the born again Jesus stuff as well as some of the other things you have posted here, if my pastor asks me for more information on him. I probably have the most stuff against Bill Johnson because that information is more readily available. I’m definitely open to gathering more information about him, though…as discrediting him is what I need to do.

    However, I’m weak on information about Heidi Baker and Randy Clark. I realize that Heidi Baker’s ministry is affiliated with Bill Johnson’s church, but I’m really needing more information to say that she is false. I understand that she is often drunk in the ‘Spirit,’ but it would be good to also have more doctrinal issues about her and about Randy Clark.

    I don’t know how many of the respect the teachers or what happened in Toronto. I do know that some in the church do respect Toronto. I don’t know how involved they were with it, nor do I know what all they know about it. Perhaps they just heard about it from a distance.

    I didn’t even know about this (that anyone thought favorably about Toronto) until some were trying to bring in the Todd Bentley stuff during Lakeland. I hadn’t heard any mention of Toronto until last Sunday when I asked one of the men who is responsible for bringing this webcast into the church — he spoke favorably about Toronto.

    Also, I don’t know the senior pastor’s stance. At the time of Todd Bentley’s “revival,” there was no senior pastor at the church. The previous senior pastor had left that church because he got married and moved somewhere else. They were still looking for a senior pastor during the summer of the Lakeland incident.

    I’ve already e-mailed the senior pastor once to let him know that I’m concerned about it, but we’ll probably e-mail back and forth about it.

    I learned that Bill Johnson is a Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel proponent, and everyone I know in the church at home is decidedly against that teaching, so showing that Bill Johnson is a Word of Faith pastor might be enough to discredit him. Someone provided me a link to a page on Bill Johnson’s website where he has a prosperity gospel series of prayers, and I included that in my e-mail to the senior pastor.

    I understand that Bill Johnson is also a supporter of John Crowder. I have no idea if anyone in the church has ever heard of him, but if they have, hopefully that would be another nail in Bill Johnson’s coffin in the church’s eyes.

  167. peacebringer says:

    Arwen,
    Bill is not really a word of faith/prosperity teacher per say. It is more the “power” and “show” and “miracle” and healing. It is looking for special anointing.

  168. Arwen4CJ says:

    peacebringer,
    All right…but why, then, does he have a page on his church’s website like this?

    http://www.ibethel.org/offering-readings

    That sounds pretty Word of Faith/Prosperity gospel to me. I admit, though, that I haven’t really listened to Bill Johnson or read any of his books. I’ve just seen a few clips of him talking on youtube.

    So….in his typical sermons, the topics would center around power, show, miracles, healings, and special anointing…..does he ever preach out of the Bible? Does he ever preach the gospel?

    It doesn’t surprise me to learn that he emphasizes power, show, miracles, healing, or anointing. That seems to be all that is coming through on the youtube videos that I have seen of Bethel. It almost seems like followers of Bethel are living for the special anointing…..

  169. peacebringer says:

    Oh, the special “types” of offerings. Maybe Craig can explain it a bit better. It is not your “classic” word of faith. Certainly some elements as ties to WOF/Prosperity angle but this is deviated from that. It fits into the whole right to the things of “Heaven” mindset. If you look over the prayers and declarations share the same self focus and shares the giving to get. Someone may have said more somewhere.

    Note the odd statement in reading #2: Thank You, Father, that as I join my value system to Yours, You will
    shower FAVOR, BLESSINGS and INCREASE upon me so I have more than enough
    to co-labor with Heaven and see JESUS get His FULL REWARD.
    Hallelujah!!!!!!

    Do you see how disturbed that is? Give so can colabor, so Jesus can get His reward? Say what?

  170. peacebringer says:

    Also take and compare those Bethel offering reading with the Lord’s prayer. Not much matches up, does it? Another point, if you look at #3 you will see 7 mountains/dominion theology couched within.

  171. peacebringer says:

    I was all set to move on, when God brought to my mind comparing those 3 offering types with the 3 sin types.
    Lust of flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life. Examine them and see what you think fits where… they definitely fit those 3 over anything in Lord’s prayer.

  172. Arwen4CJ says:

    peacebringer,

    Every line of their prayers on that page was disturbing to me.

    Hmmm…maybe I don’t really understand what Word of Faith/Prosperity gospel actually is, then. I thought it was claiming things from God in prayer, especially materialistic things. I thought that Bethel’s prayers were included in Word of Faith/Prosperity gospel. Yes, I would appreciate if someone could explain the difference to me….

    But, at any rate, it’s still false. It still empathizes money and material things and speaking them out as if doing that makes it true — “believing God” for those things, as if God’s going to grant them everything in those prayers just because they spoke it out loud to Him.

    Hmmm…I thought claiming a “right to the things of heaven” was part of what prosperity gospel/Word of Faith was all about.

    What’s not disturbing about their prayers? I do have to admit, though, that you highlighted the most disturbing parts.

    Nothing in those prayers was resembled any prayer that is in the Bible.

  173. Craig says:

    Sorry, I’ve been busy and not able to comment. I’m too tired to state anything at the moment except one minor thing: Bill Johnson does adhere to certain aspects of Word of Faith although he’s mostly hyper-charismatic. There has always been a little bit of overlap with most leaning to one or the other. Earl Paulk is an example of one who taught in both camps although he was more hyper-charismatic yet seemingly more Word of Faith than Johnson.

  174. peacebringer says:

    Word of Faith/Prosperity is a focus on really the teachings of Hagin, Capps, Roberts, and Copeland. While there are some similarities to Bill Johnson and others, that Crowd adds in a whole other level. There are similar roots and Craig is more the scholar of this stuff, so he can certainly fill in more of the difference, or perhaps I am not absolutely correct. There are similarities and differences. The give to get principles is common throughout. Lies built upon lies. The WOF is really taking what New Agers call “Law of Attraction” and putting it in Christian terms. “Name it and Claim it.” Faith is elevated to a power. here with BJ and other it is not about “faith” it is about receiving the “special empowerment” or annointing. This empowerment can be passed on from person to person, “impartation.” So it takes the WOF elements and takes it to different levels and twists. Craig, please feel free to correct me if I have anything not quite right, just explaining things from my own mind without all the research Craig puts in.

  175. Craig says:

    One of the central teachings of Word of Faith (WoF) is that since God spoke things into existence so can we. Johnson uses this sort of language as in “declaring a matter”:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/signs-that-make-you-wonder/

  176. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    I was typing as you were responding!

  177. Craig says:

    I would agree that the language in the prayers sound like the “prosperity gospel” – I really hadn’t looked at that aspect before; however, I’m no expert with regard to exactly what PG is exactly. But, again, since Johnson clearly does articulate aspects of WoF, then it makes sense he would articulate other aspects.

    As regards prayer #2 and “co-laboring”: this is a common teaching in hyper-charismaticism and WoF and this also common in esoteric/occult teachings. Of course, God doesn’t NEED our help; however, demons do! This is a point brought forth in the Alice Bailey New Age books and a central point to her work Externalisation of the Hierarchy in which the goal is to help the ‘hierarchy’ (of demons) ‘externalise’ (possess individuals). This is discussed here: Misplaced Trust, part I

  178. peacebringer says:

    I see how the Signs that make you wonder can relate, but not really quite the same thing. Word of faith is all about what “You say” and if you speak negative it can have an effect. It is a “creative force” of the “word” spoken. It is taking the human word and elevating it to the creative essence of God. The sense I get from Bethel is that it is similar yet different. The power isn’t so much in what you speak, but that if what you speak lines up, it will activate the supernatural. So you lining up really is evidence by the supernatural. So there is similar threads but different takes. I think there is a lot of similar yet different that exists out there, for nothing is new under son, just repacking and retwisting the varied baits.

  179. peacebringer says:

    As to prosperity gospel, I think it has lost some of its value as it is really used as a pejorative. It basically boils down to God’s blessing and favor is related to what you give. And that God wants all to prosper, so if you do not have you do not give enough. Orel Roberts “Seed faith” or “seed gift” is prime concept. It really takes the sowing and reaping concept and the verses in Malachi to the point of twisting it to value for self. It does not grasp at all the meanings of peace and contentment. Again, focus on self and where at. It is an oft used tact of so called evangalists. Give to get. The WOF crowd often seen using this tact. Again, I could be off on some of the details. It basically takes a real element and twists it to self focus. Yes, what we do and how we give has impact, but it is never about “elevating of self.” Let me put it is this way, in God’s dynamics, what is sewn in greed, reaps the fruit of greed.

  180. Craig says:

    Yes, the WoF is about positive (vs. negative) confession but also about speaking things – anything – into existence. Creative miracles, which have supposedly happened and will continue to grow until Jesus comes. This includes commanding healings (a positive confession). Johnson does teach positive confession (vs negative) implicitly in other areas; but, of course, his central teachings are doing signs, wonders and miracles – greater things than Jesus, which is patently ridiculous. How do you better raising someone from the dead after four days [Lazarus]?

  181. IWTT says:

    Maybe what looks to fit the Prosperity gospel really fits more to the prophecy that was given about the “transfer of wealth” to the church from days past. His prayers may fit that false prophecy more.

  182. jt says:

    Hi Arwen4CJ

    Unfortunately I often find myself in your position – trying to convince people that there is something definitely wrong with the Bill Johnson crowd. People just look at the signs, and ignore the lack of biblical truth in what is being taught, or what spirit might be behind the signs.

    Heidi Baker is an especially difficult case, since she does good works with her missions in Africa. (how can anyone knock that?) Perhaps you could focus on her preaching a “different gospel”. You can check out

    http://ccpastormike.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/finger-of-god-or-more-word-faith-deception/

    “Finger of God” is a film that highlights (?) Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, and others in that signs-and-wonders group. Pastor Mike details the false teaching promoted, and points out that they just focus on a Jesus that loves, with no call for repentance or forgiveness of sin.

    In one example that he highlights, Heidi preaches her Jesus of love, performs a healing, but the Muslim woman is not converted:
    “This is glaringly evident in the aforementioned scene where a Muslim woman allegedly received her sight when Heidi Baker laid hands on her and prayed. The local Christian pastor wanted to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with this Muslim in order for her to understand the basis of her healing and he was told “just love her.” Interestingly, as Baker left after praying for this woman, the video records the woman extolling her Muslim faith and the Koran.”

    So, does God call us to heal and not declare the need for repentance and confession? Unlike Heidi Baker, we are to present the Good News of a transformed life through faith in Jesus Christ, make disciples and teach them all that Jesus taught (Matt 28)

    I hope this helps – keep up the good fight!

  183. Craig says:

    jt,

    Thanks for your comment! I’ve not looked into Heidi Baker (I wish I had more time and now my focus is on Bickle/IHOP).

    All,

    One thing I will say: when you look at the books (most on Destiny Image) these individuals endorse each others books. While I don’t believe in guilt by association as the sole means of indicting someone, an explicit endorsement is another thing. I wanted to point out the Randy Clark endorses some of Johnson’s work and he wrote the foreword to Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth.

  184. Arwen4CJ says:

    Wow — thank you all for the prompt responses that you have provided me with.

    @ Craig,
    Yes, I’m aware that Bill Johnson is hyper-charismatic. I’m not really sure who Earl Paulk is, but I can google him. I suppose it’s difficult for me to evaluate Bill Johnson’s Word of Faith/Prosperity aspect, as I’ve never actually heard a full teaching from him. What I have seen of him, I do not like at all. I’ll have to check out Bill Johnson’s teaching about declaring matter. That kind of language definitely boarders on occult.

    Hmmm….co-laboring, I think, can be orthodox because Paul uses it in one of his letters. I think we can all be used by God. And I agree that God doesn’t NEED us, but He uses us anyway. I’m guessing, though, that Bill Johnson takes that and twists it to mean something completely different. I’ll check out the Misplaced Trust link that you pointed me to as well.

    If Bill Johnson is teaching people to speak miracles into existence, that is clearly a problem. Wow. Very, very dangerous stuff there. Yeah….that is disturbing…if he’s trying to teach people that they can do greater miracles than Jesus did. :(

    And yes….I know that these people all endorse each other and run around in the same circles, going to the same conferences and events and whatnot.

    Oh…I didn’t know that Randy Clark wrote the forward to Bill Johnson’s book “When Heaven Invades Earth.”

    I know of some people that have read it and recommended it to people. I already knew that Bill Johnson supported Todd Bentley, so I had no interest in reading any book by him. I almost feel like I’d have to read the book in order to refute it. It’s telling, though, that Randy Clark would right an endorsement to the book.

    @ peacebringer
    Unfortunately, I am familiar with the “Law of Attraction,” but I wasn’t aware that the Word of Faith people taught it. That makes that doctrine all the worse :( (I was exposed to the “Law of Attraction” from my old Mary Kay director. Her husband was sold out to that stuff, and she had him come in and give us a teaching on it. She didn’t tell us anything about the session beforehand — only that it was a seminar that we were required to attend. I’d done some reading on the New Age, and I recognized the doctrine as being New Age right away. Sigh…if the Word of Faith people are teaching that, then they are teaching demonic doctrine.

    Even if Bill Johnson isn’t teaching that, I’m still disturbed by what I see on his website.

    The idea that words have power, though, seems to be the same heresy, regardless of the particular package it comes in. If Bill Johnson teaches that words are a creative force, then he has wandered clearly into occult teaching. I guess I see no difference in exactly where the power is thought to be — whether in the words themselves or whether they are used to activate the supernatural. Both are clearly occult and present the same danger. Perhaps Bill Johnson’s form is slightly more dangerous, as they are actually knowingly calling upon supernatural powers. I never knew there was a difference in how that could look. Thank you for pointing it out.

    Thanks for explaining the prosperity gospel to me better. From the prayers, it still sounds like Bill Johnson’s teaching is asking God to prosper them by giving them lots of money and other things that they are demanding from God.

    @ IWTT,

    Perhaps….but he still seems to be into power — occult power. :(

    @ jt,

    Well, all I can do is present the evidence and pray about it. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict them. If they won’t listen to the truth, then there’s nothing I can do for them. I’m going to try to convince them, but without their eyes being opened by the Holy Spirit, they won’t accept the truth. If they refuse to discern, I can’t do anything.

    Thank you for your understanding and encouragement. Yes, Heidi Baker is probably going to be the hardest for me to convince them of her error. Yes, I would like to show how Heidi Baker preaches another gospel. If I can do that, and they are open to hearing truth, then maybe that will be all that is required. I need to show them where she is false.

    Thanks for the link to the “Finger of God” article.

    I’ve actually seen the film. My internship site showed it. (My internship site isn’t the church that I go to). I was disturbed by the DVD, and I’m glad to see that someone has taken the time to go through it and question some of the things that are in it. I remember the scene in the video that you are talking about, and it broke my heart. I didn’t see any gospel in the DVD or in the clips of Heidi Baker trying to “witness to people.” I also didn’t like how they portrayed the pastor who wanted to teach the gospel to the people. Heidi Baker was so rude to the pastor. I think he was labeled as a “religious person” or something close to that. She kept on saying “it’s all about the love,” in a really fakey voice with a fakey smile on her face. Needless to say, I was not impressed at all.

    I didn’t remember that the Muslim woman’s response after Heidi Baker left her. That’s really, really disturbing. :(

    Hmmm…I didn’t think of using that with the people at the church because I was hoping to find an explicit statement of hers about what she believes the gospel is. That’s probably going to be really hard to find, though. I’ll point out that she seems to only talk about the love without the gospel. Thanks for the suggestion :)

  185. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    You wrote, “I’ll have to check out Bill Johnson’s teaching about declaring matter.” Just to be clear, Johnson said declaring a matter after claiming he heard from God:

    And, the Word of the Lord in Psalms 103 comes in two ways. It comes from God declaring a matter and it comes from Him speaking to His people and His people declaring a matter. And, they can tell when a word has originated in the heart of the Father ‘cause it carries that fragrance of the Throne Room with it…

    This is a quote from the transciption of the “Signs That Make You Wonder” post. I don’t want you to have the wrong impression.

    And, yes ‘co-labor’ is used in one (or more) of the Pauline letters; but, I just ask you to keep in mind the occult view when reading Johnson. I do suggest reading his book When Heaven Invades Earth and look at some of the info on here regarding this book, especially the ‘Born Again’ Jesus, part I post although I discuss specifically Johnson and the kenosis doctrine in detail in the more technical Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II.

    HIs doctrine needs to be viewed from the lens/understanding of the Manifested Sons of God doctrine. When viewed in this manner, a statement such as the following makes sense:

    “Jesus is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head.”

    This means Jesus cannot return until the church is perfected – turned into manifested sons of God. That quote is in the Another Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters.

    It’s not important to know anthing about the late Earl Paulk for your purposes.

  186. zeemanb says:

    As good a place as any to post this…. I don’t know why I frustrate myself by pressing the “Like” button on organizations like Bethel and their miracle reporting team at Healing Herald, but yesterday I saw what may be the most disturbing thing to date on Healing Herald’s Facebook page. I don’t have the link handy but it’s an easy search- and the ministry in the videos is Eyes and Wings School of Supernatural Ministry, http://www.ewssm.org/… they are affiliated with Bethel in that they use the same curriculum to “teach” the supernatural.

    If this is already common knowledge, sorry to arrive so late to it, but basically students are taught to “practice the supernatural” in a classroom setting. In the example on their Facebook page, an instructor shows how to “grow out legs” as students attempt to practice doing the same to other students in the class. Long story short, Bill Johnson and Bethel view miracles as something that can be practiced or “conjured” like a spell. By whose power would anyone expect to perform miracles on a whim, or make them nothing more than a tool that can be learned, practiced and repeated whenever you decide that God needs to do what you are demanding of him at that point in time?

    The amount of money that people pour into these organizations, and the time spent becoming so programmed and systematically misguided is beyond my comprehension. It’s all about ego, serving self, showmanship and the fantastical. Not to make light of something so profoundly misguided, but how is Bethel’s program to “teach the supernatural” any different than Hogwart’s? All of this time, effort, money, advertising, and brand-building….and still not one single “supernatural” occurence can be validated.

    After the Brazil resurrections were finally and thoroughly debunked and admitted to be a lie by the people who initially reported them, I thought maybe…MAYBE Bethel affiliated organizations like Healing Herald would learn a lesson and at least begin to change some processes or at least research the validity of miracles. But it looks like the dynamic they have created demands absolute unquestioning adherence to anything that promotes/advertises the Bethel organization.

  187. Craig says:

    zeemanb,

    You wrote, “Bill Johnson and Bethel view miracles as something that can be practiced or “conjured” like a spell. By whose power would anyone expect to perform miracles on a whim, or make them nothing more than a tool that can be learned, practiced and repeated whenever you decide that God needs to do what you are demanding of him at that point in time? “

    This is a great question! Assuming miracles are actually done, exactly who would be the source? The enemy has supernatural power (only given to him by God as evidenced in Job, pharoah’s magicians and with Peter being sifted); so, would Satan perform a miracle as an imitation of Christ/God? One must keep in mind 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

  188. Craig says:

    zeemanb,

    I didn’t respond to the whole of your comment; so, I’ll do so now. I do believe much of this is fake as in fabricated and not happening at all; however, there is such a thing as esoteric healing. I write about this in the most recent article on Gruen/Cain/Deere/Wimber with respect to William Branham who is claimed to have stated, “There are disturbing powers here; I can do nothing” when Kurt Koch and other Christians were praying something to the effect that if his powers were real that God would use him, but OTOH, if his powers were not of God that He would hinder Branham.

    You can check it out here in the “Cain Absolved of Occultism?” section.

  189. jt says:

    Hey zeemanb –
    – I liked your post about the lies of Bill Johnson regarding the Brazil resurrection scam. More evidence of bad fruit (as if any more was needed):

    http://unsavedlovedones.com/2011/01/23/16-flood-victims-raised-from-dead-in-brazil/

    However, whether it is Bill Johnson, Harold Camping, or Todd Bentley, it seems that their followers will always stick around and ignore the obvious lies and self-serving deception.
    ————————————————————
    A bit off topic:
    To Craig and others:
    I have a couple of questions that have been nagging me involving the whole Bethel scene.

    1. While I don’t get a lot out of the contemporary worship music these days, I have friends who do. They rave about Hillsong and Bethel (Jesus Culture) music. However, both Hillsong (Word Faith) and Bethel (Signs and Wonders) have at their root a false theology. Is their worship music “neutral” to the listener (ie OK), or is there some spiritual significance at having a false theology at the core of the leadership that is overseeing or writing the songs?

    2. What exactly is at stake regarding one’s belief in Jesus. There seems to be a wide range of followers with different and incompatible beliefs. At one end of the spectrum, you have Mormons who believe that Jesus and Satan are spiritual brothers and that God was once a man. Along the spectrum you have the “Word Faith Jesus” who is just waiting to serve you and give you what you confess – and the “Bethel Jesus” who only loves, is fun, and wants you to do miracles as He did. At the other end of the spectrum you will have Evangelicals, Lutherans and 5 point Calvinists. In all cases, followers have made a Jesus to follow in some image based on some scriptures or teachings – and of course every group will say theirs is true, all the others are false, and will try to convince others that they need to change.

    So – what are the spiritual ramifications of following a false Jesus? If you have zeal, are desperate for God, & trying to be sanctified and conformed to (your image of) Jesus, but just happen to be deceived and in the wrong group, what happens (ie think Bethel/IHOP)? In other words, how does God judge the heart of someone looking for God but deceived – how critical for salvation is it for the deceived to be led to the truth (if this truth could even be defined)
    Also, where is the doctrine “cutoff” for truth vs. false, if one actually exists (I know the Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel is made up of different denominations, so they do put aside their minor theological differences – but most are quite orthodox in their beliefs to begin with – I don’t think I would ever see John Macarthur sitting with Bill Johnson at a conference).

    I assume you take false beliefs seriously, which is why you spend so much time doing what you do in exposing Bill Johnson, IHOP, Cain, etc. – I agree with what you are doing, but I just don’t know how it all fits in spiritually.

    Thanks in advance for your time

  190. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ Craig,

    Arwen4CJ,

    Thanks for the clarification — yes, I did misread it the first time, but I’m glad that you cleared that up. It doesn’t make what he’s doing that much better, but at least I’m not misunderstanding. :)

    It is very disturbing that anyone would teach that Jesus had to be born again. Hmm…I’ll look for his book at a bargain price somewhere. There is no way that I”m paying full price for that book. And yes, I would have to understand a little more about Manifest Sons of God doctrine before reading any of Bill Johnson’s stuff. I only know a little about the doctrine.

    Is there a place on Bill Johnson’s website where he outlines his Manifest Sons of God belief? Or is there a youtube video or something that shows him explaining his understanding of the gospel or end times events? Those would make it easier for me to refute his stuff than quotes from a book that I don’t have yet, although quotes from books are important. I just need to be able to verify and then point people to his false teaching. I suppose this would be an instance in which an e-reader would be helpful. Unfortunately, I don’t own one :(

  191. Craig says:

    I want to get to jt’s question; but, I’ll first address Arwen4CJ:

    First, the ‘born again’ Jesus is not in any of his books (he states it in a podcast and it was also posted on a YouTube video and both are referenced in the ‘born again’ Jesus article I referenced earlier); but, while Johnson is careful not to go this far, some in the WoF believe, as propounded by Kenneth E. Hagin and Copeland, is that Jesus died, went to hell, took on Satan’s nature and was subsequently ‘born again.’ To reiterate, Johnson does not go this far; but, he DOES use some of the same proof-texts as Hagin as noted in the beginning of this article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-ii/

    The above also goes into the Manifested Sons of God doctrine and the following does as well:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/kris-vallotton-and-the-%e2%80%9cmantle-of-jesus-christ%e2%80%9d-bill-johnson-on-corporate-anointing/

    Johnson does not talk much about his eschatology; but, he does a bit in the first part of the WHIE in which he is clearly speaking of Dominionism. He states “an authentic gospel is the gospel of the kingdom” – which is Dominionism.

  192. zeemanb says:

    @jt- thanks, and a quick disclaimer for anyone who reads my actual blog- it’s worth mentioning that it can be some heavy-handed character-driven rambling and while the religious railing is something I enjoy, I just want to be sure to say that I genuinely appreciate Craig’s effort here as well as everyone who takes the time to research and discuss topics that help me continue to learn and even level out my emotionality at times. While the angle from which I approach topics like Bethel and IHOP is completely different, and not nearly as well-read or meticulous, it is rooted in actual past experience and represents something I am constantly trying to work out in regard to my own faith. Anyway, only saying all of that because I’ll never apologize for or try to explain all of the things I write in my own little anonymous blog, but I’d never disrespect what I view as genuinely productive dialogue here on CrossWise. I can clean up nice for company, lol.

    With THAT said, I was thinking and thinking over lunch as I sat amongst other corporate types….all of us well schooled in business technology, aware of all of the current buzzwords, best practices,Six Sigma, project management, etc. etc. ad nauseum. There is a certain cache to corporate culture that is very fast moving, profoundly capitalistic, and is often eager to ignore basic truths and decency in order to promote itself. Truth is redefined by what helps the business to grow. Very simplistic, but is at the very root of its genesis….success by compromise. I guess what bothers me most when I see these videos and hear constant reports of fantastic and unbelievable goings-on at the Bethels and IHOPs of the world, is the mirror image of the corporate culture that underlies all of the “profits” reported by the ministries and the hundreds of “Like” button hits every time Bill Johnson utters a nonsensical phrase on Facebook. It just feels like nobody is being trained in personally experiencing salvation or a move of God (as if you can be “trained”), they are just mastering the art of repeating secondhand revelations and bolstering faith in the methods used to do alleged miracles. At the root of it all, and this is just my opinion, is that same accepted compromise in the truth one would find in a corporate, profit-driven setting. And when you get sooooo many people invested in it, it is impossible to breach that wall. The more insulated they become, the crazier the reports that come out of there, and the crazier they are told that they are, the more you bolster their faith in their methodology.

  193. Craig says:

    jt,

    Answering #1: Repetitive music can be trance-inducing and put one in an altered state of consciousness. I’ve seen Misty Edwards (IHOP) especially do this by repeating certain phrases with the band playing the same music in a repetitive vein. And, certain chord sequences can tear at our emotions. Taken together, this can lead to uncritically accepting the message of the one to follow. In addition, some of the lyrics of this new ‘worship’ music is specifically Dominionist or manifested sons of God (MSoG) and/or of other false teachings in its lyrics. Here’s one example: Donnie McClurkin’s “Days of Elijah” – here’s the 2nd verse:

    And these are the days of Ezekiel
    With dry bones becoming as flesh
    And these are the days of his servant, David
    Building the temple of praise, yes
    And these are the days of the harvest
    The fields are all white in the world
    And we are the laborers that are in your vineyard
    declaring the word of the Lord

    The “dry bones coming to life” are MSoG/Joel’s Army; the “temple of praise” is IHOP’s Tabernacle of David; and, the “harvest” is “billion souls” harvest these guys keep talking about. And, “declaring the word” has WoF overtones and this “word” is also the ‘new revelations’ of the ‘apostolic/prophetic’ movement.

  194. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Thank you for the link to Bill Johnson’s book! Not only has my recent investigation in the current circumstance interested me in reading this, but also the pastor at the church I was attending while in graduate school…..he was passing this book out to several people in the church and telling them to read it :( Reading it will hopefully help me understand that pastor’s theology, and why I always felt that there was something wrong with his preaching.

    Perhaps his “gospel” was Bill Johnson’s teaching in this book.

    Hmmm…thanks for the clarification on what Bill Johnson taught on Jesus being born again. The quote you linked in the article is certainly enough to show that he is off there. No Christian should say that Jesus had to be born again.

    As for the quote that you said linked him to dominionism — I think there would be more I would need than just that quote, because that quote could be interpreted in other ways. I would need to see the context to know if that’s what he meant.

    Bill Johnson is false, but I want to be absolutely sure of any statement I make to show his falesness.

  195. Craig says:

    Johnson is very hard to pin down as he is clever enough to couch his teachings. It will take a LOT of work to figure it out, sorry to say. I’ve literally spent 100s of hours pouring through his stuff and other associated material in writing the articles on this blog. Your first order of business will be to read on the subject so that you fully understand it. I highly recommend the work of Tricia Tillin (now Booth) who had written about this stuff since before the “Toronto Blessing.” You can view her material here: http://www.birthpangs.org/articles-index.html

    Also, in the pdf of WHIE start at page 29 for his teaching on Dominionism.

    For an article here on CrossWise on Dominionism: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/the-kingdom-of-god-is-at-hand-part-ii/

  196. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    I just read the gospel quote in its context in the book. Johnson does seem to be referring to another gospel — a miracles gospel of signs and wonders instead of the real gospel.

  197. Craig says:

    jt,

    As to #2: I’ll first start with Scripture:

    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 Spirit 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 people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. [2 Cor 11:3-4, 12-14 NIV]

    I’m sure we agree that Mormonism is false; but, the question is: how far do the likes of Bethel/IHOP stray from the real Jesus? If one teaches the Manifested Sons of God they are in effect preaching both a different Jesus and a different gospel from a different spirit. MSoG teaches that we become so much like Jesus that we become God’s ourselves. To do this, they make Jesus into a man who became God. This is not usually exactly how it is taught; but, this is the logical conclusion to the teaching when all the dust settles.

    Remember, the root of WoF is that since God spoke things into existence in Genesis 1, we can do the same. Logically, this makes us into ‘little gods’ ourselves. What’s the point of a Savior if we’re already gods? This is the real root of positive confession – one doesn’t want to speak something negative and have that negative thing actually come to fruition, right? This is why you must only say positive things.

    I certainly cannot speak for God; so, with regard to each individual’s salvation, I cannot say. For the sake of discussion, if one is saved (ie, has accepted the REAL Jesus), then, if they start following someone who is teaching a different Jesus yet they don’t think the teacher is actually teaching a different Jesus, then my personal opinion is they’re still saved and God will likely open their eyes at some point. From there it depends on whether one adheres to Calvinism or Armninianism – the Calvinist will believe the person is saved and will definitely come out of the false teaching; the Arminian may believe the individual could lose his salvation at some point in following the false teachings.

    In any case, there are strong spiritual forces at work here deceiving individuals into deceiving others. Some may well by quite witting in deceiving others. It’s hard to say which is which.

    At the end of the day, everyone is responsible for their own spiritual walk.

    An understanding of proper Christology (the person of Christ) is important but certainly there are those who are joyously following the real Jesus and really couldn’t begin to provide a theological discussion on Christology. Our God is mighty to save!

    As far as spiritual ramifications in following a false Jesus even if you have zeal: there are many out there who are following a false Jesus both outside and inside the Church. My speculation is that it comes down to the individual’s heart. If they are a ‘christian’ in order to get something out of it – a get out of hell ticket with no real regard for God, they enjoy the company of individuals with higher morals, or what-have-you, then I don’t believe they are really saved to begin with.

    Yours are very deep questions and hard to answer in one little blog comment!

  198. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I challenge to find one place in this book in which Johnson actually states the true Gospel message. I recall that he claims to provide the Gospel to someone; however, the context was in signs and wonders. I’m not saying he did not for sure; but, as I remember, he never does explicitly state the true Gospel message. I don’t recall where it is in the book.

    As you read, if you have any questions about a particular passage, come back here and I’ll try to provide an explanation as I see it. I’ve read the book a number of times, some passages quite a bit more. Frankly, the more I learn about Johnson’s theology from other sources and the better I understand MSoG/Dominionism and the language used, the more I see when I read sections of this book.

    I do think you’ll understand more of the things I’ve written on here as you learn more about the false teachings underlying this.

  199. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    I’m a slow reader, but I want to get through this book as fast as possible because the people wanting to show the webcast are willing to meet with me in person.

    So far, I’ve found the writing to be boring…but I’m seeing the dominionism that you were referring to. He’s also talked a lot about healing and thinks that that is our right as Christians. He has attempted to outline the gospel, but he twists it. It’s like it’s there, but not there because of the twisting.

    He started out talking about Adam and Eve and the fall — but he didn’t really emphasize the sin part of it that much. He mentioned it, but he focused more on Satan gaining dominion and whatnot, so that the focus isn’t really on rebelling against God or on are sinful nature or the fact that we were separated from God.

    Then he started talking about Jesus. He did affirm that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and that His blood saves us — but he didn’t say very much about that either. It was literally in about one or two sentences that he stated that. He launched into more of the dominionism stuff and how healing is our right because of what Jesus did, blah blah.

    He had some good things to say about repentance, but it didn’t take him long to start twisting that, too. What made me really mad was when he started talking about poverty.

    There’s a lot that he’s said that I’ve been like “what???!!!”

    Oh…and he twisted John 3 and the conversation there to go along with his “spiritual” mumbo jumbo. He took a little bit of truth and then twisted it and ran in the other direction. He tied spiritual with his definition of faith. This spiritual mumbo jumbo stuff seems to be all about seeing into the spiritual realm and declaring what he thinks is our right because of dominionism.

    He thinks that the kingdom of God seems to center on people getting healed and God having dominion over everything…and us declaring things from “faith.” :(

  200. IWTT says:

    @Arwen4CJ… This is what a friend of mine said about Bethel and BJ after talking to him personally…

    …you know how I feel about the Bethel Church and Bill Johnson. The religious experiences that are ascribed to and promoted in the church are not supported by or evidenced in the Scriptures. I call them religious experiences because they are not spiritual experiences of the Christian. They are a quasi-self-centered euphoric fuzzy feeling imagination. The spiritual experiences described in the New Testament contained a Christ centered focus and often a directive element needed to guide the early Christians. I do believe those also exist today but not in the current prophetic/apostolic movement that is taking place today. I’ve talked to Bill Johnson when he preached here at [ ] years ago and he did not show me or explained to me that what was taking place in his church and through his preaching had anything to do with Jesus-discipling all nations.

  201. IWTT says:

    This friend has his Doctorate in Biblical Greek and teaches at a pentecostal/charismatic bible college. He knows of what he is speaking of….

  202. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ IWTT,

    Thanks for the info. Wow – so Johnson couldn’t even explain how any of what was going on had anything to do with the biblical faith.

    @ Craig,
    I’m now reading what Johnson says about baptism and “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” :(
    It appears that Bill Johnson denies that people are given the Holy Spirit when they become born again. This makes sense in his twisting of John 3 earlier in the book.

  203. Arwen4CJ says:

    Woooooow…..Billl Johnson states in the book that salvation wasn’t the goal for Jesus coming!! :(

  204. Arwen4CJ says:

    What…..Bill Johnson says that our ultimate purpose is to live in dominion over everything! :(

  205. peacebringer says:

    Arwen,
    sounds about right, I only gazed through about a chapter of that, started getting a headache and saw the subtle twists and couldn’t examine it further. I knew it was more work than I would be able to put in, thus glad for Craig and his ablity & willingness to do it. As I couldn’t tolerate reading through much of the junk.

  206. Arwen4CJ says:

    I’m going to read a little more of the book today, but then I’m going shopping. Hopefully I can finish the book before tomorrow. That’s when I’ll be meeting with the two people who are putting on this webcast.

  207. Craig says:

    The Lord be with you on your endeavor!

  208. peacebringer says:

    Arwen,
    Let folks know when you are meeting with them so you can be prayed for, that you may speak in truth and love and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

  209. Arwen4CJ says:

    I will be meeting with them sometime around 1:00 PM Eastern US time. There are having a baptism tomorrow at 1:00 PM, and it will be after that is over.

    Thank you! I would really appreciate it if a lot of people were praying :)

  210. Arwen4CJ says:

    I’m into the “Anti-Christ” chapter now….

    Wow….Bill Johnson seems to think that the intellect is completely divorced from the Holy Spirit. He also doesn’t seem to consider the fact that every single person who has trusted in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior has the Holy Spirit.

    I do not personally think that the biblical spiritual gifts have ceased, but I also don’t think that they are reserved for a certain group of Christians.

    Bill Johnson doesn’t seem to think that a Christian who thinks differently from him could possibly be used by God to do anything or has the ability to follow the Holy Spirit in any way. He also doesn’t seem to consider that God gave us our minds for a reason. He doesn’t seem to consider that the Holy Spirit could work through our reasoning.

    The spiritual gifts aren’t limited to healing and miracles, but Bill Johnson is writing as if those are the only real spiritual gifts.

    In effect, he’s calling everyone who doesn’t agree with him an Anti-Christ or someone with a “religious” spirit. He and his friends made up the term “religious spirit,” and use it on anyone who disagrees with them. I don’t remember a mention of “a religious spirit” anywhere in the Bible.

    Bill Johnson also fails to realize that “Christ” is interchangeable with “Jesus” in the New Testament letters. Sometimes He’s referred to as “Jesus” sometimes He’s referred to as “Jesus Christ” sometimes He’s referred to as “Christ Jesus” sometimes He’s referred to as “Christ.” Anti-Christ = Anti-Jesus. Sorry, Bill, it’s not talking about your definition of ‘anointing.’

    If Bill Johnson is consistent with his interpretation, he’d have to read all of the New Testament letters as referring to the anointing whenever the word ‘Christ’ is mentioned, but of course the context of the passage would show that it’s really referring to Jesus, and calling it ‘anointing’ would make little sense.

    Yes, Christ/Messiah does mean anointed one, but obviously this is referring to Jesus every time it is used because He IS the Messiah.

    Craig, I can see what you were talking about with the dominionism and Manifest Sons of God teaching and his belief about Jesus laying down His deity.

    Bill Johnson’s book is filled with theological errors — and I’m saying this as someone who does believe that all of the spiritual gifts are available today. I’ve been attending Vineyard churches since 2005.

  211. Craig says:

    Yes, you’ve got it! I’ve added a bit to the Amazon review; however, it takes some time for the site to make the changes. Here they are:

    While the Greek word ‘Christos’ is translated primarily as ‘anointed’ in the Old Testament, in the New Testament ‘Christos’ is translated each and every time as “Christ” referring exclusively to the person of Jesus Christ our Savior. To change the definition to “anointing” from “Christ” as in the person of Jesus Christ is to pave the way for all to be “Christed” as the “Christ anointing” quote in “Face to Face with God” makes clear.

    Johnson goes on to claim that all those against ‘the anointing’ – i.e., ‘the anointing’ as he defines it – are antichrist. This is illustrated in the following two statements: “The spirits of hell are against the anointing, for without the anointing mankind is no threat to their dominion” [p 80] and, “The spirit of antichrist is at work today, attempting to influence believers to reject everything that has to do with the Holy Spirit’s anointing” [p 81].

  212. Arwen4CJ says:

    Sigh…..Bill Johnson completely forgets about discernment. Jesus and the authors of the New Testament letters constantly warn about not being deceived. We are told to test everything. In the Bible, people were commended for searching the Scriptures to make sure what is taught lines up with Scripture. We are supposed to be vigilant. Almost every letter in the NT tells us to do this.

    Why?

    Because there are false teachers out there, there is false doctrine, we can easily be lead astray. We can all be deceived. No one is above being deceived.

    Bill Johnson is completely and totally wrong when he basically says not to worry about being deceived because we should trust in God’s ability to keep us. That is unbiblical, and what Johnson is proposing is very dangerous. I wonder what he would think if that was said in a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon setting.

  213. Craig says:

    Bill Johnson states that Jesus had the Holy Spirit and that the Baptism by John in the Jordan was the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ This is implicit in WHIE but explicit in his book Face to Face with God. In addition, he states that all believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit but not all have the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit. In stating that Jesus received His title of Christ at Baptism which provided the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit,’ and that mankind receive this same ‘bofHS,’ the logical conclusion is that all are ‘christed’ at baptism just like Jesus. This is made crystal clear in Face to Face with this statement:

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

  214. Craig says:

    I refer to that statement as ‘circular logic’ in an article on this site:

    “…What do I trust most, my ability to be deceived or His ability to keep me? And why do you think He gave us the Comforter? He knew His ways would make us uncomfortable first.”

    The “Comforter” comforts us in our afflictions; He doesn’t make us uncomfortable in order to make us comfortable!

  215. Arwen4CJ says:

    Bill Johnson’s book is getting me really angry right now. He is continuing on with his drivel about how he believes that you either follow the Holy Spirit or you follow your intellect. :(

    He never considers the fact that all theologically orthodox churches are trinitarian. That means that they all believe in the Holy Spirit, at least they’re supposed to. I have heard people from various denominations talk about how they have been led by the Holy Spirit. All true Christians experience God in some form. God moves in people’s hearts. The experience probably looks very different from what Bill Johnson is thinking, though…in fact, much of what happens at Bill Johnson’s church is extra-biblical.

    Most Christians are open to experiencing God and would testify that they have experienced Him. However, we should not elevate that experience as being above Scripture. It’s possible to experience God and yet hold fast to what Scripture teachings, something that Bill Johnson doesn’t seem to think is possible.

    Furthermore, he completely takes the following passage out of context,”You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they that testify about me.” That is a passage that talks about how they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. It has nothing to do with what Bill Johnson implies that it means. He’s trying to say that Jesus condemns those who search the Scriptures instead of relying on spiritual experience. :(

    Such Scripture twisting!!! And this wasn’t the first time he did it in this book…..

  216. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ Craig,

    But he doesn’t seem like he thinks that Christians that think differently than him have the Holy Spirit. Even if he says it one place, he makes it sound like he doesn’t actually believe it in his Anti-Christ chapter.

    The “Holy Spirit baptism” this is another of his false teachings…but anyway…yeah, I can see the implication of believing that Jesus got the Christ anointing at His baptism, and thus we can all be Messiahs, too…in the same way that Jesus was the Messiah.

    And I agree that the Holy Spirit doesn’t make people uncomfortable so that He can comfort them.

    And then he’s continuing by saying that embracing Jesus apart from embracing the anointing (Johnson definition) is the goal of the Antichrist (Johnson definition).

    Given all the superior spiritual ability he claims to have, he fails to read Scripture in context — and thus he fails to exegete that Scripture properly.

  217. Craig says:

    But he doesn’t seem like he thinks that Christians that think differently than him have the Holy Spirit. Even if he says it one place, he makes it sound like he doesn’t actually believe it in his Anti-Christ chapter.

    What he’s saying is that others don’t have the anointing which is different from the initial HS indwelling. This is the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ So, to Johnson, the spirit of antichrist is ‘anti-anointing’, i.e., anti-botHS – all as he defines it.

    Given all the superior spiritual ability he claims to have, he fails to read Scripture in context — and thus he fails to exegete that Scripture properly.

    Actually, I believe it’s mostly eisegesis rather than exegesis – reading into the text what Johnson wants it to say rather than extracting meaning from the text.

  218. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh, I know what he’s saying about the anointing thing. He’s saying that people who don’t agree with him don’t have the anointing — but that’s pretty much saying that no one else experiences God or is used by the Holy Spirit….thus implying that although other Christians might have the Holy Spirit, they can’t be led by Him….which to me pretty much means that he’s saying that those who aren’t in his little club don’t actually have the Holy Spirit in the same way that those who do belong to his club have the Holy Spirit.

    You wrote:
    “Actually, I believe it’s mostly eisegesis rather than exegesis – reading into the text what Johnson wants it to say rather than extracting meaning from the text.”

    My response — exactly — I was actually going to come on here and say that, and then saw that you did :) Yep…that’s what he does…he has a concept already in mind…then he looks for a Bible verse that could support that view, but he doesn’t care about the context. He’s reading his meaning into the text — so yeah…he’s doing eisegesis.

  219. Craig says:

    Here’s another example of obvious eisegesis:

    Adam and Eve were placed in the garden with a mission. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”3 It was God’s intention that as they bore more children, who also lived under God’s rule, they would be extending the boundaries of His garden (His government) through the simplicity of their devotion to Him. The greater the number of people in right relationship to God, the greater the impact of their leadership. This process was to continue until the entire earth was covered with the glorious rule of God through man.

    But in Genesis chapter 1 we discover it’s not a perfect universe. Satan had rebelled and had been cast out of heaven, and with him a portion of the fallen angels took dominion of the earth. It’s obvious why the rest of the planet needed to be subdued—it was under the influence of darkness.4

    This is on page 29 of the pdf, 30 in the 1st edition copy I have. The footnote reference #3 is Genesis 1:28 while #4 is 1:2. Obviously Johnson’s statement is not correct as the Fall was yet to occur and God Himself stated (as reported by Moses, the writer of Genesis) regarding the fish and animals at the end verse 1:25 “it was good” and after proclaiming that He gave all plants, trees, creatures – everything – to Adam and Eve [vv 29-30] He ends with, “God saw all that He had made and it was very good” [v 31]. Nothing about Satan’s rebellion having taken dominion over the earth at all! This violates other Scripture proclaiming God’s sovereignty over the earth [Psalm 24:1; Job 38:33]. This is what so frustrates me as I read some of the comments in the Amazon reviews stating how well Johnson exegetes Scripture!

  220. peacebringer says:

    Arwen,
    1st of all glad that you are seeing what is there, and am praying God is with you today as you speak with leadership at your fellowship.

    As to the intellect and emotion, that is a key element in a lot of deceptions. There is little understanding how they work togther. Examining even the Hebrew for heart, it is not striclty emotive. Hebrew is more complex and there is intellect involved and more of Hebrew heart can be intellect focused than emotive. Our understanding of heart is really a greek understanding. Still working on grasping that. You find the errors in this “seperation” of intellect and emotion as disjointed others in the “contemplative” spirituality side of things as well. I have read where they talk abuot the “Intellect” experience of God and the “emotive” experience of God that needs to transcend and meld together from being disjointed and contemplative is the “way” this is done.

    Scripture indicates that we are not to go seeking after proclamations that God is in the “Field” (an external) or “storehouses” (an internal) experience of “Christ.” Rather, He is with us, via the Holy Spirit. “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory” this is not the “anointing” as ascribed to by Bill Johnson. All who are “in Christ” are a new Creation. Again, not an external anointing, but following Jesus as the way. This also fails to understand or grasp what it is that Jesus is “The way, the truth, and the life.” No rather it is about this “anointing” and a focus on minimizing of suffering.

    Here is a question, was the “little faith” of the disciples in the boat about not believe God could calm the sea, or about not being content to trust in God regardless of circumstances, so that they could too sleep in the storm. Be at peace amidst. Rather, pain and suffering is something to be escaped and there needs to be the “healing” to escape it. There is a defined lack of understanding of the divine purposes that suffering plays out.

    At any rate, Arwen, my prayers are with you. May God fill you with wisdom, love, and truth. Often times when we engage in such leading of God the results do not go as wish and God then puts in a place that is uncomfortable.

  221. Arwen4CJ says:

    Bill Johnson has once again doing eisegesis when he uses the following passage:
    “You are wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor God’s power.”

    As usual, he is preaching his power gospel. First of all, he says that Jesus is attacking the Pharisees, but that is wrong. Rather, Jesus is addressing the Sadducees. The Sadducees only accepted the first five books of the Scriptures. They also didn’t believe in anything that was supernatural at all, and they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead — an event that was to take place at the end of the world.

    Since they denied the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures and denied that God would raise the dead , and that God could do anything supernaturally at all…and they were trying to trap Jesus with His words by posing a question about marriage after the resurrection…Jesus began His response by telling them that they were ignorant of both the Scriptures and the power of God.

    Sigh….i

  222. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Did you have your meeting today; and, if so, how’d it go?

  223. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yeah…I had the meeting today….it went okay….but not the way I wanted it to go.

    They refuse to see the bad in these people’s ministries….so…..I’m just going to pray that the Holy Spirit would convict them of truth.

    Thanks for asking.

  224. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig, I’m going to finish reading the “When Heaven Invades Earth” book just so that I can say I’ve read it and can talk to others who are influenced by Johnson.

    It seems like Johnson doesn’t believe that Christians can sin anymore or are susceptible to sin. I guess he can’t identify with the NT writers. (page 105)

  225. Craig says:

    That’s sad :-( but not surprising.

  226. peacebringer says:

    Arwen that is all you can do, and just seek the Lord as to being where He needs to you to be. We speak truth in love and leave the rest up to God. And your response to the meeting is fairly typical. I have been led a few times to directly confront someone, spoken words given by the Spirit and then watch them head down same path.

  227. peacebringer says:

    Oh and Arwen, I can relate. My dad is really into Jesus Culture worship and has “viewed” the Awakening telecasts and such. I have made comments to dad, pointed him here. But he quickly dismisses the issues. So, I have to honor my father, continue to speak truth and pray for God to make things clear and protect him. Heh, I have friends & family that are on edges of varied areas where deception can easily take root. God works in all. So, the challenge here for you Arwen, is what God has you do? Are you to stand in the gap at that church, speak truth in love and impact others, or something else. My sense just praying over what righting that it will not be a call out. But to work on buidling others up, even offering protection in prayer. I might suggest that you find some others and on that night of the telecast, you have a group praying. For protection, and for God to take hold. Not that the “see” the ill, but that ultimately they grow in God. For many are at some level seeking God truly. I know this of my dad, and there are things of God in the mix. It will be a tough task, but God will give you strength for such a time as this. And need also to say, that everything will be shaken. There is sifting going on. Do what God will have you do in the midst.

  228. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ peacebringer,
    Thank you. I still don’t think that the church leaders are aware of all that these people teach or all that goes on there. I do know that they are seeking after God, though. In my talk with them, I understood that they don’t agree with everything these people teach…but that they want to get the good parts. Although I wouldn’t personally choose such people to learn anything from, they are at least not full blown fans of these people. They do not seek out spiritual manifestations or some of the other excesses, which is good.

    I feel like I’ve done all I can so far.

    You’re right…it would be a good idea to get people praying at the time of these webcasts.

    It’s so hard — because they do love Jesus and do want to glorify Him. They’re just listening to people with questionable teachings. They accept some of the teachings and reject others….sigh….

    It’s possible to even listen to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons and other heretical groups and get “good” things from amongst the heresy. But why expose yourself to heresy?

    A person can even read the sacred texts of other religions and come across some good stuff along with just plain false teaching. Why expose yourself to those teachings?

    I personally would rather listen to a teacher who is generally biblically sound in all of the areas that they teach on.

  229. Craig says:

    My response would be: Just a Touch of Arsenic – how much arsenic would you care for in your meal?

  230. peacebringer says:

    What you describe sound a lot like my dad as well.
    I work in a profession where I got to sort the truth from the garbage. Unlike in some places where there is a little bit of garbage and a lot of truth, it is the oppossite. Lots of garbage and have to sift for the gold. The point is for all to test everything. I have gone on record as saying that some Jesus Culture worship focus on Jesus and seems Spirit directed and then gets mixed in with the garbage. I have not found one redeeming thing from Bill Johnson. I may or may not have seen Bill Johnson at work live. My dad now claims it was “another Bill Johnson” so I don’t know. The one I saw gave some “prophecies” that have now certainly proven false from what I recall. Although the picture of BJ seen, seem similar to the one exposed to, no idea for sure.

  231. Arwen4CJ says:

    Bill Johnson fails to acknowledge that there are other ways in which God displays His power besides the type of miracles that he has been talking about in his book.

    Salvation itself is a miracle — when a heart is transformed. This doesn’t have to be accomplished by healings or whatever. Of course it CAN be accompanied by these things, but it usually isn’t.

    Also, it is supernatural when God continues to work in a person’s life through life’s challenges.

    Again, Bill Johnson fails to note that Paul said “not all will speak in tongues.” It is not THE sign that someone has been filled with the Holy Spirit.

  232. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ Craig,

    Yes…I know….but I don’t know how much of it they see as poison….or how toxic they consider the stuff that they don’t like. Sigh….

    I’m disappointed and upset. Why does the Vineyard in my hometown have to be like this? Things aren’t at the point that I would leave — as they are not teaching these people or their doctrine from the pulpit, nor are they welcoming in any weird manifestations. Nor are they saying that I’m in the wrong or threatening me in any way. If they were doing any of those things, I would leave.

    I’m just disappointed in their lack of discernment about this.

    Vineyard has so many good things about it — they preached the gospel, reached out to the community through service, highly valued studying the Bible, the people in the church encouraged and loved one another, they had small groups in which people could grow in their faith, and they believed in the biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit. The people there want people to grow in their relationship with God and read their Bibles.

    It was a contrast (and still is a contrast) to the church I grew up in. The church I grew up in was a United Methodist Church. Thankfully, they do have a pastor that teaches sound doctrine now, but they haven’t always. When I was in high school, the pastors decided to start a contemporary service, but they thought that a contemporary service meant taking God out. They didn’t want sin, grace, or salvation to be mentioned. Although some people at the church were loving, most were not. It was like a big social club. They did things for the community, but only in the sense that civic organizations do things for the community — there was no Christian aspect to it. The people in the church didn’t read their Bibles, nor did they talk about their faith. Some of my old Sunday School teachers didn’t even know where Matthew was in the Bible, and I’m being completely serious. :( That church is getting a little better, but it’s pretty much a social civic club. I was helping my parents with a meal they were having there yesterday…and….when they had their chicken barbeque, I brought in a CD with Christian music on it to play. Apparently, people didn’t like that because someone made sure to bring in their own laptop in order to play secular music for the hog roast :( Why are people so opposed to the gospel?

    Sorry…I’m just angry about yesterday…and I’m angry at both churches :(

  233. Arwen4CJ says:

    Bill Johnson fails to see the multitude of Bible passages that refer to a great falling away of the church in the last days.

    There is no promised revival.

    Do I long for revival in the church? Yes. However, I am aware that it isn’t promised in Scripture. I want to see people come to Christ. I want to hear about people coming to repentance, turning to God, etc. I want a true revival to break out….but again no such thing is PROMISED in Scripture. That’s not going to stop me from wanting revival.

    Ultimately, I know that there will be a great falling away. Does that mean that there can’t be revival? No — but if there is a revival, there is also a great falling away. We can have the great falling away without revival, but we can’t have revival without a great falling away. Why? Because the Bible warns about it repeatedly.

    However, we don’t know the time table of this….so it is possible for there to be a great revival at any time….but I would say that the apostasy has already begun.

  234. Craig says:

    One of the central tenets of NOLR doctrine is a last day’s revival of a billion souls saved. Ponder on that one…

  235. Arwen4CJ says:

    While that would be wonderful if there there were a billion souls saved in a revival, it’s not found anywhere in Scripture.

    Plus….that would be like a sixth of the world population….

  236. mbaker says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I so understand your frustration and how sometimes you may feel like giving up. My one word of advice: Don’t. Both my husband and I, who is a Christian,in a Mormon family who more or less shuns us, and mine where my sister and her family are Unitarians, understand how hard it is to love them and yet see them go down the wrong path. It is truly heart breaking. I was once in the hyper-charismatic movement and deceived myself, and Craig has published my own story here, but the Lord in His mercy opened my eyes to see the truth. So hang in there, and pray for them that will happen. I truly believe the Lord honors prayer even when nothing else can get through to folks, because I believe with all my heart in the scripture that His word will not come back to Him void. Trust in that when you can’t do anything else.

    God bless.

  237. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ mbaker,

    Thanks so much for the encouragement. I will continue to pray. Sigh….I guess a big problem that I do have is that I give up way to easily. Thank you for telling me about yourself and your own situation. I will read your testimony.

    I wish that either the people in the United Methodist Church would get thirsty for God and the truth…or that the Vineyard church would use more discernment. Well, actually, I would like it if both things happened. I’ll pray for both churches. I’d love it if both churches taught biblical Christianity and that they were both places that were known for teaching the truth …and practicing it.

  238. Lafe says:

    People of God: The review of Bill Johnson is quite simple. First of all, you should not care if he even were to have has thirty degrees in Biblical studies and thus you give him a pass on theological error.
    The Bible says to examine and test all things and to examine what is said in light of the scriptures…not in light of what Bill Johnson says or believes. Bill Johnson is not our moral compass or your guide into all truth,
    but the Holy Spirit is.
    Bill Johnson has indicated enough and severe error that he is to be discredited and not followed.
    His biblical gibberish is farfetched and can not be supported by holy writ.
    Quit giving him any room for his errors…regardless of how likable or nice he may appear to be.
    Examining and following scriptures is not a popularity contest.
    If Bill Johnson is in error (and he is at many, many points), pray that the Spirit of God will have mercy on his prideful self and he will repent of his gross errors and return to humility and an
    understanding that Satan is using him to sow doctrines of demons.
    Contend for the faith! Test all things.

  239. zeemanb says:

    Pretty profound new quote from Bill on his Facebook page, and he always has a disturbing number of people who sing his praises in the comments…

    ” I find it fascinating to be criticized for not speaking on repentance more. Deep repentance is a supreme value in my personal life. Are you supposed to teach on “how to get pregnant” to a room full go pregnant woman, or “how to run a business” to multi millionaires? Neither do I need to teach on repentance to those who are already doing it.”

    I am far out of my league as far as scriptural refutation to back up the sinking feeling in my gut when I re-read it, but to quote one Mr. Nick Cave- “Who will be the witness when you’re all too healed to see?”.

  240. Craig says:

    That’s quite sad. :( I would say that since 1 John 1:8-9 states that we all sin then both sin and repentance should be stressed:

    8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

    But, then again, Johnson states:

    “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”[When Heaven Invades Earth, p 110]

    The Nick Cave quote is apropos. I’m thinking Johnson may have to, quoting Cave again, “run to the City of Refuge” – but it’ll be too late…

  241. Arwen4CJ says:

    More updates on the church I’ve been attending in my home town. :(

    I might end up having to leave that church. I’m going to wait around for a few more weeks, as there are other people in the church who don’t like the direction the church is headed in. I’m hoping that maybe we can get together and talk to the associate pastor about it or something.

    Okay, so they showed the Voice of the Apostles Webcast. Thankfully not very many people showed up for that — but they still showed it :(

    Today’s sermon was horrible. It was about prayer, but the senior pastor twisted it. He also managed to plug Dutch Sheets :( and revealed that he had attended a church led by Dutch Sheets when he lived in Colorado.

    The senior pastor talked about faith being a substance, the importance of speaking things out loud, then he talked about our authority, dominionism, etc. The ironic thing with that was at the UMC church that I grew up in, I learned that today is Christ the King Sunday — and that pastor talked about sin and disobedience being the thing that gets in the way of God’s kingdom on Earth. Sin, rebellion, and disobedience were not mentioned by the Vineyard pastor as he talked about God’s kingdom today. (He probably didn’t even know that today was Christ the King Sunday.)

    Last week, the Vineyard senior pastor had a fairly good sermon, but got off towards the end. He was talking about Elijah vs. the false prophets. He talked about the importance of sticking to God’s truth and not allowing false stuff into our belief system. The sad part is that he didn’t take his own warning, and this week he sought to promote everything unbiblical :( I feel like this congregation is being given a chance by God — that it is at a breaking point — it must decide who to follow — and it doesn’t seem to be following the real Jesus :(

    Since he’s promoting dominionism now…very blatantly, it’s really caused me to wonder — he’s doing a series on Elijah, saying how he was just a normal guy, and we can pretty much be like him because God has given us dominion over the Earth. :( Anyway, it’s caused me to wonder whether or not the false prophet of the Anti-Christ is going to use the account of Elijah confronting the false prophets and calling fire down from heaven to prove who was the real God — to promote the Anti-Christ. These people seem to twist Scripture, so it doesn’t seem to be far fetched to that the false prophet of the Anti-Christ’s “even cause fire to fall down from heaven” from Revelation would claim that he/she was equal or greater to Elijah, had all authority given to them, and then say that they will prove that they are a prophet by calling fire down from heaven, citing Elijah as the example to be emulated. I don’t know if that makes sense — it makes sense in my head, but I don’t know how good of a job I did in conveying what I mean.

    In case that wasn’t clear — there is a verse in Revelation that talks about the Anti-Christ’s false prophet being able to deceive people by “even calling fire down out of heaven.” The only other reference to that that I can think of off hand is Elijah when he confronted the false prophets. Elijah proved that his God was real by the fact that God consumed the sacrifice. I know that the false prophets and apostles claim that they have equal and greater authority than anyone in the Bible, and since God performed miracles through Elijah, he is a natural person for them to want to be like. So, what if the false prophet tried to claim that they were a real prophet for God — or that the Anti-Christ should be followed — because he is able to call fire down from heaven, citing Elijah as an example.

  242. Craig says:

    I’m sorry to hear that. You may want to try talking to elder/s if the associate pastor is not open.

    It’s fairly common for false teachers to do a series of good sermons mixed in with bad as a way to ‘test ther waters’.

    That’s astute regarding Elijah:

    13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. 14 Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. [Rev 13:13-15, NIV 1984]

    It’s possible that this could be done via holographic imaging. Remember also that Elijah was taken up in bodily form never having died. I do believe that’s a connection – MSoG. Part and parcel to Dominionism is MSoG.

  243. Arwen4CJ says:

    Well, I sent that e-mail out. The associate pastor never answered my e-mail that I sent to her, probably because the senior pastor sent his response to me out to all the elders and to the associate pastor. Another problem is that two of the elders are definitely pro dominionism and NAR, another one is pro TACF/NAR, one of them accepts being drunk in the spirit, and I don’t know about the last one. No one is drunk or anything during worship — but I know that the one has been drunk at a conference.

    The best hope I have is the couple in which husband was once an elder. They are still respected in the church, and they’re not really happy with everything going on. They didn’t like the “chew the meat and spit out the bones” response that I received and that was sent out to all the elders. I don’t think that that couple is the only one other than me that has issues with some of this stuff.

    Yeah…thanks. The senior pastor is doing a whole sermon series on Elijah, and I think he’s doing it in order to try to advance dominionism and maybe even Manifest Sons of God doctrine. The thought came to me last week as he was saying that Elijah was just a normal guy, and he repeated that again today. I think he wants to get the congregation to all want to be like Elijah and do things in power. Elijah’s confrontation with the false prophets (what was preached on last week), seems to be the pinnacle of what people think of when they think of Elijah. He actually used the phrase “Elijah called fire down from heaven,” and that immediately made me think of that passage from Revelation.

    Whether or not it is a hologram or actually using demonic power to call fire down out of heaven, I think a lot of people following the NAR could be deceived, especially if the event is used to compare the false prophet with Elijah.

    And yes…the prophetic crowd seems to hold the fact that Elijah was taken up into heaven in high esteem — something that they could easily twist for Manifest Sons of God purposes.

    The pastor seemed close to talking about Manifest Songs of God today as well, although he didn’t quite go there.

    I know where he stands now, and I don’t like it. He is a full supporter of at least dominionism (and probably Manifest Sons of God as well). He didn’t take dominionism all the way today either…but he went far enough that I can see where he’s going with these Elijah sermons, and where he is trying to take the church :( It was enough of a glimpse, especially at the end when he called up certain NAR supporters to give words/prophecies. :(

  244. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh yeah — I forgot that the senior pastor today talked about ‘birthing’ things in the spirit realm through prayer. Sigh. It was awful teaching. He took so many Bible verses out of context, reframed them in this birthing theology, they spit them back as a proof text for his prayer sermon. He claimed that the position that Elijah prayed in after confronting the false prophets was a birthing position. He claimed that Elijah was in labor, and that if he hadn’t labored, the rain wouldn’t have come. He also claimed that Jesus was birthing something through the power of prayer in the garden before His arrest, and he used some other passages that he mutilated in the same fashion. Ugh…..

    This was probably the worst sermon I’ve ever heard live.

  245. Craig says:

    Elijah in labor? Now THAT would be miracle!

    Actually, that’s very clear Latter Rain speak. This ‘birthing’ is the ‘birth of the man-child’ which takes Rev 12:5 out of context:

    http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/latterrain/manchild.html

    It’s referenced in this article on CrossWise as the logical conclusion to a ‘corporate Christ anointing':

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/kris-vallotton-and-the-%e2%80%9cmantle-of-jesus-christ%e2%80%9d-bill-johnson-on-corporate-anointing/

  246. cherylu says:

    Arwen,

    Believe me, I sympathize with the place you are in. Your church sounds like it is going down the same path that the church I was in a few years ago went down. In my case, it did just keep getting worse and worse until I had to leave. Just about everyone seemed to be soaking up all of that kind of teaching and not questioning it at all. I was hooked on it at first too–until it reached a certain point and then I started to see that there were major problems there. I had never even heard of most of this teaching before that time.

    It is really sad to see this happening to so many churches.

  247. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    The birthing language definitely bothered me and is not biblical. And, yes, I can see how it is related to Latter Rain. Again, I’m not exactly sure what the senior pastors actual beliefs are, but he didn’t quite take it to full blown out Manifest Sons of God teaching. He did not refer to Revelation 12:5, or speak of special people in the church birthing anything. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t believe it, but it doesn’t mean that he believes it either. I do wonder how much of the Latter Rain teachings he believes.

    He just introduced this birthing concept to the entire church (this was the first time he had preached on it.) As you suggested before, I think he might just be testing the waters, or trying to introduce the false doctrine in bite sized pieces. Or maybe he doesn’t take it to the level that Latter Rain does. I don’t know.

    So far, what he’s said is that individual believers need to be laboring and birthing things for God, and he cited verses taken out of context to suggest that people in the Bible birthed things for God in the past. These things would be prayer requests — the kinds of stuff that people generally pray about.

    The language the pastor used was dangerous, but he has not taken it to Manifest Sons of God/Latter Rain level publicly yet. He might have taken it to that level behind the scenes with other people that agree with the teaching.

    Because this was the first time that he ever spoke of ‘birthing,’ it is a key time for members in the church to stand up and say that this is false teaching. Maybe it can be stopped — but people in the congregation need to stand up together say something.

    cherylu,

    Thank you.

    Yes, I might leave soon….but there is still hope for the church. As long as this stuff is new teaching, there is time for people in the congregation to stand up and say, “This is wrong.”

    Thanks for sharing a little of your story with me.

    Yes, it is very, very sad to see false teachings creep into so many churches.

    I’m going to e-mail the couple who used to have elder roles in the church. I’m going to tell them what my specific concerns are, and then to see if they will take it further. If this garbage can be stopped, then we must try to do so now.

  248. Arwen4CJ says:

    Another update on the church I’ve been attending, and sadly the last update :(

    I’m going to have to leave. I sent an e-mail to the couple that I talked things over with. They gave a copy of it to the pastor. He read it and then e-mailed me.

    The second e-mail that he sent me was a bit condescending, and is the main reason that I am leaving.

    Here is a portion of the e-mail:

    “It concerns me whenever believers take on the mantle of “doctrine police.” It usually is a result of a perception they have of God and typically confuse theology for relationship. Believe me, having been steeped in the Christian faith for 30 years, I have encountered this innumerable times. It would appear to me that you, perhaps, are struggling with yourself. I have been there myself, so I know what it looks like. I do not want to stand in the seat of the Pharisees, who themselves judged Jesus when he did things outside the accepted parameters. You might be more closely identified with them than you like to admit. It’s worth considering.

    A classic response from those with legalistic tendencies is to label someone a heretic or a false prophet if they teach something a bit differently than what they are familiar/comfortable with. This is a very serious accusation. Beware of confusing opinion with orthodoxy. It would appear to me that you struggle with this.

    Personally, I have a tendency to become the “elder brother.” This is not a good thing I assure you. You too seem to struggle with this in my humble opinion.

    My experience has been that those who take it upon themselves to be “defenders of the truth” typically struggle in having a close, intimate relationship with God. Is this true of you?”

    (End of e-mail quote)

    Sigh…..This was in response to my e-mail in which I told him that yes, I do think that Dutch Sheets, Bill Johnson, and others are false prophets who teach false doctrine.

  249. iwanthetruth says:

    @Arwen4CJ

    Just want to say that I have enjoyed the conversations/discussions that you have been participating in here. I am very proud of you for standing up to what you believe and encourage you to continue to “seek” the truth of and in God’s Word.

    My only comment regarding the response you got is this, The statement that was made is not unusual. The pastor nor really anyone else on these blogs really knows the heart of each person. People don’t really know what is going on behind the scenes, in our homes, churchs that we may attend, the people we have fellowship with, etc. What kind of deep relationship we have with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The walk that many have and are going through.

    My response to you is that you be careful that what has been told to you does not put you in a “type” of guilt trip. Not rght for anyone to do that to you nor is it brotherly. Thank God for those who do take on the attitude of “doctrine police”, because if someone hadn’t, including Jesus himself, who knows what would be the foundation of Christianity today.

    Anyway, you’ll be missed and I pray the Lords Grace and Peace in your life and home….
    Tim (IWTT)

  250. Arwen4CJ says:

    @ iwanthetruth,

    Thank you :) I may be back from time to time :)

    I really appreciate your prayers and thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

  251. Craig says:

    Check out this interview with NT scholar Craig Keener, author of the two volume Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts:

    http://www.apologetics315.com/2012/02/scholar-interview-craig-keener.html

    At about 21:00 Keener starts speaking on healing miracles outside of orthodox Christianity

  252. adib hanna says:

    Pastor Bill Johnson is a man of God, and all the pastors in Bethel church are from God.
    they are anointed! whether you guys believe it or not.
    Go and read what David said about those who insulted the anointed person (back then he was talking about Saul)

  253. Craig says:

    adib hanna,

    Are you claiming the divine trait of omniscience? How can you know for sure that Johnson “and all the pastors in Bethel church are from God”?

    Here’s the deal: we are to know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-23). So, let’s run through the basic scenario of this ‘healing’ of Johnson in the post.

    We have a man whose leg was broken resulting in the leg being 1.5 inches longer than the normal leg. Then, Johnson, thinking most would like to be taller, commands the short, normal-sized leg to grow. Then it shot out past the other leg (which, remember, was already 1.5″ too long) “three or four inches” resulting in the man screaming out in pain. Can you cite any Scripture which indicates God or any of the apostles/disciples (working as agents for God by the power of the Spirit) caused pain en route to anyone’s healing? I didn’t think so. Are there any Biblical examples of God making anyone worse in the course of healing? Well, no again.

    But, hey, not to fear, God “covered” (Johnson’s own word) Bill Johnson’s healing error by shrinking the once normal-sized right leg (which, recall, was extended 4.5 to 5.5 inches beyond ‘normal’, i.e. “three to four inches” beyond the already 1.5″ too long left leg) so that it equaled the already too long left leg. So, the result is that the man is now 1.5″ taller than before.

    If you want to believe that, well, I’ve got this deal on a bridge in Brooklyn…

  254. adib, perhaps you’ll never return here, nor read what others have said (I’m thinking that’s the case because you are in danger of finding out the truth) but I find it incredible that you could read all that Craig researched and exposed without once diverting from your chosen path of believing these men “are from God”. As Craig said, how do you KNOW? Will you just go with what pleases you, entertains you, or maybe go with what other people say, or will you examine the facts? And as for reading what David said about Saul – have you actually read that passage of scripture, or did you quote from what others told you? Are you saying anybody who claims to have “an anointing” cannot be questioned, because they are too far above the ordinary person that they can do anything they please, without check? Why not sit down and think about what you are doing and saying and believing, for yourself, and get away from the lies you are being fed!

  255. Arwen4CJ says:

    @adib hanna,

    Can you please point us to Bill Johnson’s teaching on Jesus’ death on the cross?

    Does Johnson ever talk about real sin or the sinful nature?

    What does Johnson teach about salvation?

    What convicting messages do the Bethel pastors teach?

    In what ways do they expound upon Scripture? What percentage of each sermon is actually expounding on Scripture? What percentage of each sermon consist of stories about spiritual experiences? (There should be very little stories about spiritual experiences, if at all).

    If Bethel church pastors are from God, then they should have very defined teachings about these things.

  256. Omar says:

    In the bible, when the disciples of John (the baptist) came to Jesus to ask if he was the real christ, Jesus basically said “People are being healed!” The way I see it is this, Bethel church funds missions, people are being saved, people are being made whole and well. There’s the evidence. You think the Devil wants to make people whole and well, and bring them to faith in Jesus? Absolutely not. You know, when Jesus walked the earth there were Pharisees that knew their bible well! Then Jesus started healing people, and spitting in their eyes, and declaring forgiveness of sin- they stumbled! They knew their bible, but their hearts were closed.

  257. Omar says:

    So basically, I believe God is using Bill Johnson’s ministry to call Christianity back to its roots- experiential Christianity. rather than doctrine-laden Christianity. Although both are probably equally important, experience has been lacking in modern Christianity. And guess what? Experience is biblical, probably even doctrinally correct.

  258. Craig says:

    So, uh, Omar; about this post – do you think that God would make someone scream out in pain en route to a divine healing? Perhaps you can find Scriptural evidence for that. Chapter and verse, please.

    Oh, and can you find Biblical evidence of any case in which a person was actually made 1.5 inches taller – making an uninjured leg the same length as the injured leg (which was 1.5 inch too long as a result of the injury)?

  259. Steve B. (omots) says:

    “..a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

    This partial quotation from Proverbs is misused at the top of the description page for “Dream Culture”, which is one of the ministry “tools” at Bethel Church.

    http://store.ibethel.org/p4691/dream-culture

    I say “misused” because the first part of that quote, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick”, as is the rest of the surrounding text, is a warning against hoping for outcomes that are contrary to the will of God. This is not an insignificant omission on the part of Bethel’s ministry teams. The context of the full text clearly shows that man’s will, our own personal desires, are often contrary to God’s will, God’s desires.

    This so-called Dream Culture is worth taking a closer look at, if for no other reason than to understand what is really going on at Bethel Church. Dream Culture is an expansion/outgrowth of Bethel’s original “Dreamvesting” ministry.

    “Dreamvesting is a tool to help you, the Dreamer, identify the steps, processes and time lines that work toward the fulfillment of your dreams.”

    http://www.dreamvesting.org/

    Dreaming inducing exercises are used in Dream Culture to empower the individual to fulfill their own personal goals and dreams. Call it the “power of positive dreaming”, the goal is to make one’s dreams into reality. Contrary to what Bethel Church teaches, human beings were NOT put on this earth to fulfill our own personal dreams and desires. Nor is God simply a useful tool to help us fulfill our own aspirations.

    Of greatest concern to me is that “Dreamvesting” is being used in Bethel’s “Children’s Leaders Transformation School” to “equip” ministry leaders to teach children how to live in the supernatural realm.

    “Children’s Leaders Transformation is an opportunity for those who are called into children’s ministry to be equipped to create and sustain a supernatural culture for the children they minister to.”

    http://www.ibethel.org/events/2012/02/childrens-leaders-transformation-school-redding-ca

    According to Bill Johnson, “Bringing Dreams to Life is a wonderful tool in our mandate to partner with God for the impossible….Andy and Janine Mason [the authors of “Dream Culture”] take the reader on a journey through mind-stretching exercises…. This book not only shows us how to dream; it awakens us to our responsibility to live towards the impossible. Rare is the book that is so intensely practical yet so powerfully supernatural. Dream Culture embodies both beautifully. I look forward to seeing the effect this book will have on the hearts and minds of believers around the world.”

    I bet he does.

    So what’s wrong with Bethel’s “Dream Culture”? (Please feel free to add to this list):

    1. God is reduced to being a partner in an individual’s quest for self-satisfaction.

    Bill Johnson states:

    “The purpose of Dream Culture is to help you partner with Father God, unlock the dreams and desires of your heart and empower you to make them a reality. Our hope is that this book will be a catalyst and companion to you on your Dream Journey as you rediscover dreams and desires planted in your heart before time began, turn these dreams into simple action steps and then overcome challenges along the way.”

    2. “Dream Activation Exercises” are a common form of witchcraft. The use of training techniques such as visualization, meditation, and other dream enhancing and/or dream control techniques in order to achieve personal desires or become more “spiritually” powerful is self centered and evil.

    Deu 13:3 “Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

    Deu 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn [you] away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

  260. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Ecc 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words [there are] also [divers] vanities: but fear thou God.

    Jer 23:27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

    Jer 23:32 Behold, I [am] against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

    Jer 29:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.

  261. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Occult practitioners know that specific dreaming techniques can be used to enhance, consciously influence, or exercise control over an individual’s dreamstate. Practicing such techniques in order to get what one wants, gain spiritual or earthly power, gain insight or knowledge, or change one’s life course, or the life course of another individual, is the essence of witchcraft.

    Yes, God has, can, and still does, give dreams to whomever He wills for His purpose. But the scriptures are very clear that God discourages individuals from incubating, manipulating, or harkening to any dream which the individual has essentially created for himself, or, even worse, a dream which may have been created or influenced by some demonic entity.

    Bethel Church teaches the opposite of what the scripture’s teach. The promoters of Bethel’s Dream Culture claim their dream enhancing techniques empower practitioners into a closer relationship with God:

    “Our dream is to catalyze a Global Dream Culture where people everywhere join together in community…”

    http://idreamculture.com/

    Noted British Wiccan and author, Andrew D. Chumbley, considered the practice of willed dreaming essential as a means of interacting directly with the “higher” spiritual dimensions. Chumbley wrote that, “Dreaming and the mutual translation of dreamt ritual and ritual-as-dreamt form the basic rationale and context for our work. The active discourse between initiates and our spirit-patrons inspires and motivates this dreaming.”

    [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Chumbley%5D

    Read that last line again…and allow me to add clarification:

    “The active discourse between initiates [practitioners] and our spirit-patrons [demons] inspires and motivates this dreaming.”

    Madame Blavatsky put it this way:

    “The will of the outer man, our volition, is of course dormant and inactive during dreams; but a certain bent can be given to the slumbering will during its inactivity, and certain after-results developed by the mutual inter-action — produced almost mechanically — through union between two or more “principles” into one, so that they will act in perfect harmony, without any friction or a single false note, when awake. But this is one of the dodges of “black magic,” and when used for good purposes belongs to the training of an Occultist. One must be far advanced on the “path” to have a will which can act consciously during his physical sleep, or act on the will of another person during the sleep of the latter, e.g., to control his dreams, and thus control his actions when awake.”

    Blavatsky went on to claim that, “It is by cultivating the power of what is called dreaming that clairvoyance is developed.”

    [Source: Secret Doctrine Commentary (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge) by H. P. Blavatsky- APPENDIX on DREAMS]

    So let’s stop beating around the (mulberry?) bush and call a spade a spade. Bethel Church promotes several demonic doctrines across a wide range of ministries. And Bill Johnson will be held responsible for all of it. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes when he goes to meet the Lord.

  262. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Craig, please forgive me for ranting on about this “Dream Culture” stuff, but I believe it goes to the crux of the matter.

    Granted, the word “dream” has two connotations. One meaning is simply “aspirations, hopes, plans”, while the other meaning denotes brain activity during sleep. It is my contention that both meanings are incorporated into Bethel’s Dream Culture ministry.

    From the idreamculture blog:

    “We finished a Dream Class last week and at the end of the class we opened it up for questions. One lady was obviously worried that people could take our teaching and use it to justify their selfish pursuit of all sorts of things. So she asked the question “Is there any such thing as a wrong dream?” She elaborated by saying “You know, what if people just put on their dream list to own a fancy house and a Ferrari etc, is that wrong?”

    “My answer to her was that at the heart of every dream is the core desire and the desire itself is not wrong.”

    Source: http://idreamculture.com/just-one-thing/

    Oh really? Since when is fulfilling our “core desires”, which in the example above is something very shallow, selfish and fleshly, a good thing? [See: Eph 2:2,3]

    Please review this list of “Dream Starters”, intended to help get one moving towards fulfilling one’s dreams (aspirations):

    http://idreamculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Dream-Starters.pdf

    These are all self centered desires of the flesh and of the mind are they not?

    There are several books, branches, and offshoots and many other teachers involved in Bethel’s Dream Culture. Here’s a few quotes from Dutch Sheets’ book, “Dream”:

    “When we allow God to dream through us, we become His dream agents, representing Him and His plans on earth.” (pg 81)

    “Most of our dreaming is done on the shoulders of someone who went before us. Abraham’s altar at Bethel sanctified the ground, making it a bed on which Jacob dreamed.”

    “We haven’t dreamed successfully until the next generation embraces the dream and builds an altar next to ours.” (pg 139)

    “Our Designer dreamed unique dreams for each of us before we were even born. He skillfully wove them into our DNA, along with the gifts and abilities to achieve those dreams.”

    Except for the reference to Jacob’s dream, most of Sheet’s “dream” references seem to refer to plans, hopes, purposes, and aspirations. But wait, there’s more…

    Bill Johnson says this:

    “We’ve been given the capacity to dream and, more importantly, to dream with God. His language continues to be unveiled, [through dreams?]. His heart is being imparted [through dreams?], and permission has been given to try to exaggerate His goodness. We have been given the right to surpass the accomplishments of previous generations using creativity through wisdom to solve the issues facing us. Their ceiling is our floor. This is our time to run.” [Bill Johnson- “Dreaming with God”]

    What does Bill Johnson mean by “the capacity to dream” or “using creativity through wisdom to solve issues”? What does he mean when he says, “His language continues to be unveiled”? How can man “exaggerate His [God’s] goodness”?

    What we have here is a confusion of the plain and simple English meaning of words. One needs an interpreter just to try to unravel what Bill Johnson is saying. References to “Jacob’s dream” [Gen. 28], “dreaming with God”, “partnering with God”, etc. refer to deeply spiritual revelatory experiences, not just making plans and accomplishing set goals while awake. Obtaining, practicing, and using supernatural powers and abilities to make their own dreams real is the goal. They can call it a “god” thing if they want to, but if it smells like a pig….

  263. Craig says:

    Steve,

    No problem at all. I’m in agreement from what I’ve gleaned thus far. I’m just rather preoccupied at the moment; so, I’ve refrained from commenting.

  264. Omar says:

    @Craig, Would God allow someone to experience pain during a divine healing… or have someone’s uneven leg grow out to match their longer leg. Are you serious? No offense. It’s just that in the book of Kings (I believe), God empowers Elisha to raise an axe out of the sea. My point is, yes, when inclined (in accord with love and compassion) God basically does whatever he wants- in line with love and compassion. Jesus spit in someone’s eyes. Ever heard of a religious spirit? The pharisees had this. When Jesus started healing people, they hated it. Think about this, if God uses someone to heal another person- this is coming from God’s love. Its a compassionate, loving act. Jesus healed out of compassion at times. And for you to come along and say “That wasn’t God! God wouldn’t do that!” Its just… kind of pharisitical, is what I’m trying to say. Don’t you want people to be healed and made whole? God wants this!

  265. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Thanks for coming back and engaging as so many do ‘drive-bys’ and I never hear from them again (which gets tiring).

    Yes, I’m serious about the question. And, of course, as I knew, there is no Scriptural backup for this sort of thing, i.e. inflicting pain towards effecting a cure. I suppose you believe Todd Bentley’s claims of ‘healing by physical violence’, as well?

    You’ll see in my article that I do affirm God heals today; but, I also affirm that so does the enemy – with God’s permission and power of course (see Job 1 & 2 and Exodus 7 with Pharoah’s magicians mimicking some of God’s actions).

    And, don’t give me the “religious spirit” and Pharisee stuff. That’s tiring as well. There are enough articles on this site to question the validity of Johnson’s teachings and integrity for me not to take his claims at face value. I suggest you check them out. Here’s a short one:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-apparent-deception-of-the-roberts-liardon-library-acquisition/

  266. Omar says:

    I disagree with your attitude toward the compassionate miraculous. Like I said, just like Jesus told John’s disciples “People are being healed!” I don’t think the church has much to fear from counterfeit, demonic healings. The devil comes to steal kill and destroy, he’s not going to start restoring. I think consistent, beneficial healing has got to be from God. And there’s, I guess, shamanistic healings too- but I think that’s a separate case (I don’t think that’s demonic, Jesus said “your faith makes you well” those could be instances of human-spirit faith healing). But lets not get side tracked. God heals. The devil wouldn’t want to do a counterfeit healing. If someone says “In Jesus’ name be healed”- and the person is healed, its cut and dry. The bible says you can’t even say “Jesus is Lord” without the Holy Spirit participating. So no need to start shooting BIll Johnson down because he’s doing good works. If the fruit is good, the tree can’t be 100% bad. According to scripture this is impossible, in fact. At Bethel Church, people are being saved, and people are being healed. Why be stumbled?

  267. Omar says:

    One last thing, about a healing involving pain… where a person’s arm (I think it was arm) grew back. You’re stuck on the fact that it was painful? I’m excited that God restored someone’s limb! You can’t be stumbled over the fact that it made the guy scream. I don’t know why God didn’t make it pain free. Throughout the bible, God allows many prophets and OT saints to experience pain. In fact, every OT saint suffered. So I don’t think its a big deal for God to heal this man’s arm, and allow the man to experience pain. I don’t think pain is a big issue. Pain is kind of, all throughout the bible. In fact, God doesn’t shelter christians from pain. I don’t think the man that was healed, after being healed said “That’s hurt! I wish God didn’t heal me!”

  268. Craig says:

    Omar, you wrote, I don’t think the church has much to fear from counterfeit, demonic healings. Jesus’ words seem to indicate the contrary:

    15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

    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.’[Matt 7:15-23, NASB]

    You also wrote, The devil comes to steal kill and destroy, he’s not going to start restoring. See above.

    You wrote, The devil wouldn’t want to do a counterfeit healing. See above, again.

    For good measure we also have Paul:

    9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,[II Thess 2:9-11, NASB]

    Of course, the above corresponds to Jesus’ words in Matt 24:24-25

  269. Craig says:

    Did the person whose arm grew back scream out in pain in the Scriptural account? No.

    Again, I suggest you read the enormous content on this site critiquing Bill Johnson’s doctrine and practices. Wolves in sheeps clothing are rather hard to discern – they blend in and look the real thing. For me the most important thing is a person’s Christological doctrine; here Johnson fails:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

  270. Craig says:

    Oh, and before you tell me about the “fruit” at Bethel, please read this:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/look-at-the-fruit/

  271. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I think I may have missed one of your points. If your statement about the arm which grew back in Scripture is to be compared with Johnson’s purported healing in this article, I submit they’re apples and oranges. The man whose arm grew back was shortened from birth and it was subsequently lengthened to normal size. It wasn’t broken and too long as a result of the break and the OTHER arm made longer to match the broken one.

  272. Omar says:

    Craig, I’m going to restate that I just don’t think the current Church has much to fear from counterfeit miracles. You just don’t see people outside or in everyday like doing the miraculous. It’s not common. Moreover, Bethel has a steady stream of the miraculous, which is, like I said, an indication that God is showing them favor.

    As far as Matthew 7:22-23, I consider that for Pastors/Christians who had an anointing to do certain things, used God’s power, but did not live solid Christians lives, and did not have a personal relationship with God.

    The fact remains, that even to say “Jesus is Lord” requires the participation of the Holy Spirit. In a society where the miraculous is so limited, and to have radical healings in a place that preaches Jesus Christ crucified… it’s got to be given its credit. We should be praising God, not crucifying Bill Johnson.

    Here’s a good verse: “In the last days, people will act religious, but reject the power thereof” 2Timothy 3:1-5, NLV. That’s not an exact quote, but the passage carries this meaning.

    In the bible, the miraculous adhere’s to no set form. A divine healing does not have to be similar to one in the bible. In the bible, axes were floating, oil was being multiplied, Elijah (I believe) laid on top of a corpse and breathed on it-> raising the dead, handkerchiefs carried healing anointing, shadows healed, people spoke foreign languages, people were teleported, dotted sheep had pure white lambs, people got spit on and healed……. You can’t say “That miracle isn’t biblical” Lol, the miraculous from God doesn’t seem to follow a specific manual, other than a case-by-case, love underlining model.

    Lastly, let me say, you guys target isolated things Bill Johnson has said. Well, some of your criticism may be correct, because I’ve yet to see a perfect pastor that I agree with 100% on everything. But I have followed Bethel, more or less, for like a year now. Their hearts are on the right track. They love God, and live to worship. They are so praise-heavy, that its crazy. You can’t see a group of people that are All About Praising Jesus, bursting with the miraculous, and think- That must be demonic…

    I’ve even had run ins with their school of supernatural ministry people. Nothing major happened, just saying I met a few of them face to face.

  273. Craig says:

    Omar,

    First of all, you take the claims of miracles at face value, as true. I do not. My reason? If Johnson is willing to deceive regarding the acquisition of the Roberts Liardon library, then I take it he may well be deceptive in other areas.

    RE ‘God showing Bethel favor': So when shamans conjure miracles we should assume “God is showing them favor”?! Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 24, “if it possible” the elect could be deceived. Neither you nor I can determine who is and who is not “the elect”. We judge by “fruit”, but we don’t know for sure.

    RE your assertion as “fact” on someone claiming “Jesus is lord”: Let’s see what Gordon Fee (who is not a cessationist – nor am I) says about this. In his commentary on 1st Corinthians, Fee does not see this as a “means of ‘testing the spirits’…” because “…it would seem possible for anyone to say these words at will”:

    The presence of the Spirit in power and gifts makes it easy for God’s people to think of the power and gifts as the real evidence of the Spirit’s presence. Not so for Paul. The ultimate criterion of the Spirit’s activity is the exaltation of Jesus as Lord. Whatever takes away from that, even if they be legitimate expressions of the Spirit, begins to move away from Christ to a more pagan fascination with spiritual activity as an end in itself.

    What I see in Bethel is the attitude that we can be ‘just like Jesus’ in fact we can do “greater things” than Jesus. He’s not LORD, he’s a ‘model’ to follow into the supernatural. That’s cart before horse.

    RE your understanding of 2 Tim 3:1-5. You must put it in full context viewing verse 5 through 1-4. This looks more like a number of TV ‘preachers’ we see. They ‘deny the power’ because they’re not HIS to begin with – their focus is how to manipulate people into forking over their $$$$$ and otherwise taking advantage.

    RE you assertion that, as to the miraculous it’s a “love underlining model”. So, in your view “love” includes physical pain?!

    I’m not ‘targeting isolated things” with regard to doctrine. I’ve made a very long article about Johnson’s Christology comparing to New Age. There are striking similarities. I suppose you’re aware that New Agers claim miracles, signs and wonders as well?

    You say “their hearts are on track”. Are you claiming omniscience? Only God truly knows the heart.

  274. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I still think you’re missing the larger point of this post. In the first account Johnson admits that he messed up (“What have I done…”), then after figuring out the ‘right’ words to pray, the man’s is ‘healed’ (“God covered me”) and now 1.5″ taller.

    Because of my recent experience, for which God covered me, I took her leg and commanded the one with the metal rod to shrink. It yielded to the command…

    So, by whose power was it that the first man’s healing attempt was done? Obvious answer: NOT God’s but Johnson’s.

  275. Omar says:

    Craig,

    I probably disagree more with your critical attitude, than your words. We probably (most likely) have the same doctrines and attitudes about Jesus and who He is. Bethel Church, and Bill Johnson, from what I’ve seen, have a deep fervor for Christ. They worship a lot! The church is very worship heavy. I got an inkling of the general atmosphere of that Church by meeting some attenders, seeing some of their services online, and by seeing Bill Johnson and other Bethel-ites speak at conferences. I can attest: it’s not 100% about miracles. It’s about this deep, emotional starvation for more of God. These guys are emotionally desperate for God! It’s weird! Its un-worldly. In my opinion, that type of fervor for Jesus just can’t possible be of the Devil. Like I said, you guys say “New Agers are doing miracles, Shamins are doing miracles, etc etc”, I guess. That’s assumption, you don’t know that. You heard that. In reality, God is probably doing more “miracles” in the world than every other source put together. Bethel Church is ALLLL about Jesus. I see these guys on their knees begging for more of Jesus, declaring him as Lord, supreme, lifted up, exulted, etc. Worshiping for hours… sometimes Bill Johnson preaches for 15minutes and they just worship because a supernatural hunger for Jesus is there. And then there’s miracles. It’s just impossible for Satan to function like that. Moreover, the verse “Satan will deceive the elect if possible” (paraphrased), then its impossible. That verse seems to suggest, indirectly, that it is impossible for Satan to deceive the “elect”.

  276. Omar says:

    One more thing. The guy’s leg grew back and I guess he screamed in pain. How do you think God would do it then? Would the leg just… be there, suddenly? I was thinking about that. If I was missing a leg and then suddenly it was just there again, it would be like a dream, or unreal. Maybe God allowed him to feel the pain so the man would know God had done the supernatural. If you think about it, in reality, people believe/trust feelings more than anything else. If it didn’t hurt it would be un-real and he would question it, since it hurt God probably broke through a lot of unbelief-stuff by doing it that way. Intentional miracles!

  277. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I’m not so sure we agree on doctrine as, if you did agree with my views – what I’m putting forth here on this blog – you’d proceed with great trepidation towards Johnson/Bethel. I’m sure you are aware that Paul talks about “another Jesus” and “another gospel” by “another spirit”, right? [2 Cor. 11:4] Do you know that Eastern religions are also “desperate for God” as they do Transcendental Meditation to find their ‘god within’? If so, can you see that there may be a parallel with the ‘contemplative prayer’ that’s promoted within hyper-charismatic circles in general?

    We KNOW from Scripture that the enemy can do miracles as I’ve mentioned before: Pharoah’s magicians mimicking God through Moses; Satan inflicting harm by supernatural means to Job (Job 1 & 2). So, why would you think these sorts of things don’t occur today?

    Yes, it’s impossible for Satan to deceive the elect; however, we don’t know for sure who is and who isn’t the elect now do we? Is there a small possibility in your mind that the whole Bethel thing is not of God?

    As for worship, are you aware of the Bethel “fire tunnel” (of course, this isn’t unique to Bethel as this is prevalent within hyper-charismaticism):

  278. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I guess you just refuse to look at the facts brought forth in the article:

    1) Johnson claims HE is the one who caused the mans leg to initially grow “three to four inches” and “past the other leg” (the other leg was already 1.5″ longer than the right one meaning that Johnson’s claim is that this right leg grew 4.5 to 5.5 inches) and the man “screamed out in pain”.

    2) Concerned, Johnson then thinks ‘how should I pray to fix this’?; then, he prays a “shalom” prayer and God “covered” him for HIS, i.e. Johnson’s, mistake the first time. Thus the leg which was now 3 to 4″ longer than the other one (which was already 1.5″ too long) shrunk back down to match the left leg. Result: the man had a leg which was broken years before remaining 1.5″ too long and the other ‘normal’ leg now 1.5″ too long to match.

    Johnson is clearly claiming that HE is the one who did the first step in healing. In the second step in which God “covered” Johnson, there was no indication the man “screamed out in pain”.

    In the Biblical account of the man whose shriveled hand grew there is absolutely NO evidence of the man being in pain during this process [Matt 12:9-14]. Certainly, the Pharisees would have made a big deal out of that if so.

    We have two basic choices here: 1) believe this account in full to include that Johnson himself messed up the first part of this ‘healing'; or 2) Johnson is ‘pulling our (collective) legs’. Your choice Omar.

  279. Omar says:

    When I look at those clips, I don’t see mislead christians, engaging in sorcery. Which I’m supposing that you do. First of all its ALL ABOUT JESUS! I’m not sure you believe me when I say that, but I mean that. When you’re in one of those charismatic meetings and you feel this unbelievable feeling (known as His presence) wrap itself around you… the first thing you do is start praising Jesus. In fact, when that feeling comes over you, it supercharges your worship, worship of Jesus. The test of a doctrine or ministry isn’t how close it details an experience in the bible, it is how it causes you to relate to Jesus Christ. If you get healed and suddenly you can’t read the bible or pray anymore because “it doesn’t feel right”- that could be a demonic healing (although I’m not sure I believe that the Devil wants to heal anybody). But if you get healed and suddenly you are shouting praises to Jesus… then what else could it be? Besides at Pentecost everybody seemed drunk. And when the soldier’s came to Jesus they mysteriously fell down. And Paul’s handkerchief and Peter’s shadow… God isn’t doing the miraculous by a play book, it really seems to be specific to the situation and person. Also, David got filled with the spirit and started dancing around like a fool… just like some of those guys in the video, nothing demonic about an outbreak of joy-filled dance! Besides, the Devil doesn’t want us to be happy, or smile. The Devil wants us depressed, miserable, and feeling like crap all the time. Jesus came to give us life more abundantly. He didn’t just come to do the work of giving us life, he WANTS to give us abundant life.

  280. Omar says:

    Okay so about your comments about Johnson claiming to do a miracle- as if by his own power. Okay… so he claims he did it? If a lizard claims to be a bird, so what? Me and you both know Johnson can’t command a leg to grow out. Bill Johnson knows that he can’t command a leg to come out. Its always God working through us. Johnson preaches this, that power comes from the Holy Spirit. He just chose his words wrong. Or the words look different written out, than he meant it to sound as he was speaking. Plus it was on the spare of the moment, if you prayed for someone’s leg to grow out… and it jut out as the guy screamed, you might say “holy cr@p!” and then have to repent. So obviously Johnson doesn’t think it was done by his power.

    And about Eastern religions, I’m not worried about Eastern religions because “our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other”, therefore I’m not hyper-vigilant about who is demonic and who is not. For me, I can basically tell if an atmosphere or service isn’t right. And I know my bible well enough to know when a pastor I respect said something I don’t agree with. Or a pastor I don’t like, said something I do agree with. Or when someone just holds a lot of anti-christ views or whatever.

    Besides, as a matter of fact, Jesus didn’t come to shoot down peoples’ doctrines. He didn’t get in word battles about doctrine. He came to show the Father. The act of showing truth was his way of shooting down lies. In fact, the book of Mark has so little words of Jesus… just miracles. In fact, Jesus did more miracles than he preached. I heard that said; that may or may not be true. But at least we can say the Four Gospels are miracle heavy, as opposed to Sermon heavy.

    ^That doesn’t say we should be miracle-chasing, mindless fanatics that throw our bibles out the window in search of “Greater Works.” It just means that the miraculous is important to God, he WANTS to release a wave of the supernatural.

  281. Craig says:

    It’s all about Jesus? No, it’s about getting an “impartation” from the “Holy Spirit” so that they can feel ‘good’ and manifest strangely, i.e. rocking back and forth, falling (“slain in the Spirit”), etc.

    The test is how you relate to Jesus as He is revealed in Scripture. You cannot escape from doctrine, even though hyper-charismatics claim doctrine is subordinate to experience. Once you start speaking about Jesus, you are speaking doctrine.

    You are very mistaken about what the devil wants. He wants us to be happy and praise the false jesus. Look at what he offered (the real) Jesus in the wilderness. He wants us to have our “best life now” so that we can be his (the devil’s) in the afterlife. It seems your view of Satan is like he’s a red guy with cloven hooves, a tail, and horns. He’s much more deceptive as Scripture makes clear.

    RE abundant life: you must filter that idea through the NT. Look at Paul, shipwrecked, beaten and left for dead, jailed numerous times – is that the abundant life we see in these hyper-charismatic churches in America?

    I leave you to your deception.

    It seems clear you’re in hyper-charismaticism very deep. Therefore, we’ll end up just talking past one another. Let’s just stick strictly to subject of the post. Given that you’ve failed to grasp and/or address the main points of this article, I’m going to ask you to either address those concerns directly or just stop posting your comments.

  282. Omar says:

    Okay, I guess at this point we agree to disagree. I will stick to commenting on posts. I’m not hyper-charismatic though. I’m Jesus-seeking. I have attended services on both sides of the track.

  283. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Once again, your logic fails. I’ve already demonstrated that Johnson, by his own clear words, makes a distinction between his own attempt at healing and God’s.

    Jesus most certainly WAS concerned about doctrine. He was constantly lambasting the Pharisees for their extra-Biblical oral traditions, i.e. doctrine. He was against their hypocrisy. Don’t you get that “showing truth” by “shooting down lies” is all about doctrine?

    And, Johnson is all about the “greater works” than Jesus:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/

  284. Omar says:

    Its not all about Doctrine. If it was, Jesus would have had to have had a longer ministry in order to “train” his disciples in the exact meaning of the bible. No. Jesus allowed his disciples to mostly watch him do miracles, and then sent them out to do more miracles. I’m not advocating miracles- I’m trying to balance out your doctrine heavy stance. You have the Word and you have the Spirit, one for doctrine and one for experience. Besides, like I said, Jesus did a lot of miracles, if you want to say Jesus came to establish Doctrine… then miracles would be the doctrine… (Talking to you has put me in a position of advocating miracles, which is mildly distasteful lol)

  285. Craig says:

    We worship in Spirit and Truth [John 4:24], yes; but, look at the full context. Jesus was speaking more of the place of worship, i.e. it didn’t have to be in the Temple in Jerusalem (or any particular place, in fact) as we worship in Spirit as well as by the Truth of Scripture (doctrine) [cf John 8:31-32; 15:9-14]. John 14:15 – 16:15 detail the role of the Spirit. Do we see an emphasis on miracles? The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Truth”, Counselor/Comforter, and He bears witness to and glorifies Jesus – not bringing attention to Himself. Sure, miracles are done by the Spirit, but how/when?: “just as he determines” [1 Cor 12:11, NIV 1984] – not as WE will by a ‘fire tunnel’ (Scripture please for this practice). IMO, miracles are primarily for the furtherance of the Gospel; but, I understand not all will agree with that particular stance.

    The Spirit’s primary role is to guide us into Truth (doctrine).

  286. Carolyn says:

    Steve: Just read your posts today. What stands out to me is what you have to say about “Bethel’s Dream Culture” in these two points.
    1. God is reduced to being a partner in an individual’s quest for self-satisfaction.
    God is not a partner with anyone. Nothing is impossible with God. Why would he need us to “partner” with him. He is omniscient. It’s such a blatant lie if you read the Scripture with any discernment.

    and 2. “Dream Activation Exercises” are a common form of witchcraft. Witchcraft is a religion of self-actualization – reaching your potential. Faith in God does not need self involvement to manipulate God’s power. Faith is in the One who has the power…God. Faith in our own potential to generate power is a very different thing than Biblically based faith.

    Your quote: Bill Johnson says this:

    “We’ve been given the capacity to dream and, more importantly, to dream with God. His language continues to be unveiled, [through dreams?]. His heart is being imparted [through dreams?], and permission has been given to try to exaggerate His goodness. We have been given the right to surpass the accomplishments of previous generations using creativity through wisdom to solve the issues facing us. Their ceiling is our floor. This is our time to run.” [Bill Johnson- “Dreaming with God”]

    I just cannot find in Scripture where God dreams…I’m with you Steve. Something stinks. God speaks and it is done. I don’t read into the Word things that aren’t there. He didn’t have to ask for man’s input in creating the World in 6 days and he didn’t ask for man’s input when he thought up the mystery of godliness, the mystery of redemption, hidden from the world until the time of its fulfillment. If he has never required man’s input before, what makes Bill Johnson jump to the conclusion that God somehow depends on our input now? That’s fiction. What has been unveiled is not some progressive language of God’s dreaming…that’s simply Bill Johnson’s fantastical imagination. What has been unveiled is: 2 Corinthians 4:5-7 KJV
    5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
    6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

    God’s heart, God’s wisdom, God’s accomplishment has been fulfilled in Christ. Christ is God’s only answer to man’s problems. And our faith is not to a dream, not to an illusion, not to fiction…our answer, our faith is a spiritual reality. Christ IS enough.

  287. Carolyn says:

    Omar: If you’re looking to find excuses for Bill Johnson’s power crowd and his Bethel Christian Culture, you will miss the Truth of Christ. If you are looking for the Truth of Christ, you will be unable to excuse the error of Bill Johnson’s doctrine and the Bethel Imagination Station.

    I pray that you will find Truth as you read through the material that Craig has researched in which he brings to life an Orthodox Christology from the Logos Word, giving you a firm foundation for your faith. If you are serious about knowing the real miraculous from the counterfeit then you will heed Christ’s warning…Matthew 13:15
    For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

    One more thing. The hunger for Jesus that you are “seeing” is a result of drunken spirits creating ecstatic experiences and slayings in the “spirit”. These unholy spirits create atmospheres heavy with emotion and worship…but so do rock concerts…supernatural experiences prove nothing. I was born and raised in charismatic madness. And I’ll take doctrine any day. Christ said, Don’t be deceived. When you receive doctrinal clarity and a confident assurance of faith, those are the real miracles of eternal value. That’s the “fruit of the Spirit” that produces victorious living!

  288. Tricia says:

    Omar said “And about Eastern religions, I’m not worried about Eastern religions … I’m not hyper-vigilant … I can basically tell if an atmosphere or service isn’t right. And I know my bible… ” Dear Omar you have a heart for God but you are being misled – everyone else here has said what needs to be said, and now it’s up to you whether you can humble yourself to God and find out whether or not you have been deceived – can you do that? Or will you continue to proclaim yourself immune, or so clever that it will never touch you? Will you leave it until it’s too late? I sincerely pray not! We are not here attacking or criticising you but earnestly beg you to reconsider, and to find the TRUE power and presence of God, in whom we all believe and trust. The bible says: “if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” 1Cor 8:2

  289. Omar says:

    Thank you for your responses Tricia and Carolyn. What you guys are talking about don’t sound like Jesus’ ministry on earth. John the Baptist has a preaching ministry, he did no miracles, he simply preached the Gospel (Repent and become acceptable to the Kingdom of God, which is already here!). Now what I think is interesting is that most of Christianity wants to follow John the Baptist’s ministry, but Jesus’ ministry was not about preaching. Jesus came to display. So what ministry are Christians supposed to have? Now, I’m not advocating intentionaly advocating miracle-seeking, although I suppose I am in response to you guys. I’m just saying, I think God wants to do more than you guys think he does. I don’t think we need to be swinging from the chandelier, but if God wants to do something, lets just enjoy it and not shoot it down.

    You guys are so hyper vigilant, but was Jesus hyper vigilant? When did he tell his disciples “That’s a false doctrine, beware?” He warned them that false doctrines would come, but you don’t see Jesus on earth, jumping on doctrines? But he did have words against the religious people of his time, because they did not believe his miracles or his identity. Infact, there was a point where someone else was casting out devils in Jesus’ name, and his apostles wanted to rebuke him, and Jesus said “If he’s not against us, he’s with us.” So if Bill Johnson is proclaiming Christ, the bible says you can’t even proclaim Christ without the Holy Spirit being involved.

  290. Omar says:

    Carolyn,

    Its possible Bethel is taking Dreaming too far, but I submit to you that the core idea isn’t unbiblical. 1Kings 8:16-19. In there it says, God did not intend to have the first Jewish Temple built, but it was David’s idea. God liked the idea, but decided David should not build it, but Solomon should.

    Therefore, this is a way God might want to interact with his creation. Giving them an imagination, and then using it for his purposes, while also blessing the servant who has the idea. Hey, I have cats and I love interacting with my cats. Even though they are inferior to me, I like acting like they are equal to me. God wants to play with us, and give us ideas and see what we do with them.

  291. Craig says:

    Omar,

    You wrote, “So if Bill Johnson is proclaiming Christ, the bible says you can’t even proclaim Christ without the Holy Spirit being involved.

    That’s the 64,000 dollar question IF Johnson is: Is he proclaiming the Christ of the Bible? And that is the whole point of this. Oprah acknowledges “Christ”. Other New Agers acknowledge “Christ”. But which Christ? If their “Jesus” does not line up with the one in Scripture then we have a false one. Miracles are not the sign of Christ as witness Simon Magus (Acts 8), the sons of Sceva (Acts 19), etc. The preaching of Christ and Him crucified was the cry of Paul – not miracles. Miracles may or may not attend the preaching of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts of sin (John 16:8); this does not mean there will be miracles. However, the greatest miracle of all is the changed heart of a sinner. On that the angels rejoice!

    Johnson does not preach repentance as he believes “the sin nature has been yanked out by its roots”. There are enough articles on this site to question whether Johnson preaches the real Jesus. You should read them; I mean, really read them. If you’re not convinced, then just go your own way. As Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead”.

  292. Omar says:

    It’s good that you brought up the sons of Sceva, and Simon Magus, but you can’t cite those because in both cases the power of God radically overcame what they were doing. The Kingdom isn’t under threat by mysticism… mysticism is under threat by the Kingdom! Like Jesus said, “How do you read?” I believe the bible, wherever Jesus went, the works of the Devil were on the run. I believe that’s God’s intentions. Jesus did miracles. John the Baptist simply preached, and he jumped on people for their sins. You see what I’m trying to say? I’m saying the real Jesus, in the bible, wasn’t doing ministry the way you think he was supposed to. The Kingdom of God is a stronghold bashing presence. You can’t target doctrine; Paul said in effect “The Kingdom is underlined by Power”. Satan isn’t that powerful. Or if he is, he’s dwarfed by God. Johnson is just tapping into that. If you disagree, then you should tap into it too and then preach better doctrine, while displaying the Kingdom. Look, its God’s Kingdom, its not mine or Bill’s. God’s Kingdom is underlined by Power and Miracles, I didn’t make it up! Look at the book!

  293. Omar says:

    Bill Johnson said something good, you probably disagree, but I’ll quote it anyway “Proclaim that the Kingdom is here, then heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse the lepers. But [you might say] we don’t heal the sick, the Holy Spirit does it through us. Yes, I know… he just doesn’t say it like that. I know, I know, we can’t heal the sick, Jesus heals the sick. I know, he just doesn’t say it like that. He says: heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse the lepers. I’m still grappling with the way that he said it in the book.”

  294. Craig says:

    Omar,

    So then, with your thesis it should not be difficult to “Christianize” the world, right? We can just go to India, e.g., provide massive displays of miracles, and VOILA! conversions.

    Don’t put words in my mouth regarding ‘how Jesus did ministry’. I never said or intimated what you are purporting. Jesus had a unique ministry. We aren’t Jesus. We preach “Christ and Him crucified” as per Paul. Miracles may be evidenced (to us) or they may not.

    Doctrine is what separates Christianity from all other religions. You cannot separate doctrine from the Person of Christ or we have no point of reference.

    God’s Kingdom is made up of those who are in as opposed to those who are not. It’s actually quite simple. John 5:21-23 states Jesus came to save and to judge. We preach the Gospel and the individuals either accept or they don’t.

  295. Craig says:

    Yes, I’ve seen Johnson’s quote in more than one place. The thing is, New Agers proclaim the same thing using the name of “Christ”. New Agers are trying to “bring in the kingdom”.

    Here’s the deal: we DO NOT bring in the Kingdom. Jesus Christ will put everything under His feet (I Cor 15:25-27). That will be the end of the age. We don’t bring in the Kingdom; Christ does.

  296. Carolyn says:

    Omar: I beg to differ with you. No matter who you listen to or what you watch in life you are being indoctrinated. You are either getting the world’s doctrine, which is Satan’s doctrine (the broad road) or you are getting Biblical doctrine, which is Christ’s doctrine, the narrow road. Christ most certainly was ALL about doctrine. He preached Truth – every parable was doctrine, every sermon was doctrine. Even his healings were accompanied by doctrine for the purpose of showing us “doctrine”.

    1 Tim. 4:15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    1 Peter 5:7-9
    8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
    9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

    And faith comes by hearing….what? The Word of God…it does not come by listening to self appointed teachers with your itching ears to hear more self-motivating world views on mystical dream catching and power generating nonsense. When you read the Word, your focus will be on God’s manifest glory and power….not your own.

    Romans 10:17
    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Read this Scripture carefully and pay attention to it. Don’t re-interpret it the way you would like it to be. It means what it says and it says what it means. What’s the difference between mysticism and the work of the Spirit? Doctrine…focus…where do you end up???? ….in God’s court or in your own? Are you doing the work or is he? And don’t settle for double speak….

  297. Omar says:

    Carolyn, The issue IS doctrine. But this conversation isn’t necessarily about doctrine. I agree with everything you said. Well, I would add this: Jesus didn’t necessarily establish doctrine. Moses established doctrine, and Jesus lived it out, he lived it out perfectly. Then Paul defined the new covenant created by Jesus’ death, which was creating doctrine. More or less, anyway… Paul didn’t create anything. its really all Jesus, Paul and Moses were just blessed to be the ones to declare it.

    So yes, purity and being right with God (doing what the Word says) is paramount. Its the bread and butter of a christian’s life. Its how you please God. Absolutely!

    But I think the question here is, should a christian hunger for more? More relationship and more encounters with God? If so, what is wrong with the charismatics, who hold prayer meetings and worship until they feel the King’s presence? Not the weird charismatics… I mean, what’s wrong with say a church that holds a once a month encounter-themed worship meeting.

    Also, Craig, I haven’t read that article yet, but I have every intention to. In fact, I will!, God willing.

  298. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Keep in mind that Jesus Christ IS the Logos, the Word, the Message, made flesh. The Word of God IS the Person of Christ. Every jot and tittle of Scripture is “God-breathed” (II Timothy 3:16-17) with one not of any more or less importance than another. However, Jesus came to fulfill the Law of Moses with a New Covenant. No longer are we enslaved to the Mosaic Law; we are in saved by grace through faith in Christ. The question, of course, is: WHO is Christ? Which Christ does one serve? The Christ of our own making or the Christ as revealed in the pages of Holy Writ?

  299. Craig says:

    Omar,

    There are three occasions I can recall in which an evil spirit was (or spirits were) clearly present. One was while viewing a house and another was in the warehouse of an antique shop. The individual I was with both times felt this very strange and eerie presence which literally took our breaths away. The third time was at a home group of hyper-charismatics after which I was told the ‘holy spirit’ was “more subdued than usual” – presumably because I was not ready for this sort of experience. My firm belief is that it was because I was praying the whole time…

    Again, it all comes back to doctrine: Which Christ is being promoted?

  300. Craig says:

    I should also add that when I was a kid my brothers and I had a ouija board and we even hosted seances (this was in the late ’60s / early ’70s) at the house. There was DEFINITELY spiritual presence which I did not always find uncomfortable or unpleasant. HOWEVER, I was NOT a Christian, either. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14-15)

  301. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Since you concede doctrine is important (glad to hear that!), I think it important you read this particular post in which Bill Johnson defines and then re-defines both Christ and antichrist in his popular book When Heaven Invades Earth:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

  302. IWTT says:

    Omar says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

    You referenced a quote by BJ on this thread. IMHO, Bill Johnson has misquoted/mis-interpreted the verse that I believe he is referencing. He seems to be focusing on Mark 16:17 but JESUS preceeded that with this statement to the 11 that were sitting there with Him… Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    Jesus didn’t say to seek the signs and wonders but said “..preach the Gospel…” and in this verse(s) the things that would follow those who believe, He was speaking to the 11 first, as they went out and preached the “doctrine” of the gospel these things would also accompany them.Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

    I don’t believe (correct me if I am wrong Craig) that Craig is saying that “signs” cannot happen, but, it is by Jesus words first, that the “gospel” must be preached and then, (I believe) that if these signs are needed, they will occur. These signs are not for believers but for un-believers. Those who do not accept the gospel. Those who believe are in no need of the signs, for they believe by faith, by hearing and THAT is salvation. Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    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.

    Signs and wonders IS NOT the way of preaching the gospel, but rather the “extra” God uses, when needed, 1Cr 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

    I don’t know if Bill Johnson will be saved. That is NOT MY CALL or Judgement, but by golly, what if, just what if this whole area falls under the judgement of Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Where is the FEAR OF THE LORD in these matters? Where does the line get drawn? When do we really look at what Jesus said and take it seriously? Who do you think these people could be in the verses of Matthew? Is it not even possible to be those IN the church?

  303. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Your assumption about my stance re: ‘signs’ is correct. I did state that somewhere here in these growing number of comments.

  304. Omar says:

    @IWTT, I understand what you are saying. Your concerns are reasonable. I disagree with your interpretation of Mat 7:22. I don’t think Matt 7:22 was put in the bible (by God) to keep the charismatics in line (lol). I think Matt 7:22 is saying “if all you want is the power, and never grow in brotherly love or community, you are worthless to me”, there are many charismatics who function in the power, but are not decent people overall :/

    If that’s the case, if Matt 7:22 is God’s way of keeping the charismatic fire down, then why are their verses like “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit” and “In the last days, many that are religious will deny the Power thereof” and “the Kingdom of God isn’t interested in words, but displays of Power” and look at the book of Mark, its a book of miracles…

    This is my point, you can’t take a miracle working Jesus out of the bible. You can’t “put the miraculous in it’s place”. It’s obviously something. Now a good christian will not chase miracles, he will strive to be faithful, and the Holy Spirit’s gifts will catch up with him. This is, in my opinion, the most honorable path to the supernatural. But you can’t say, the miraculous isn’t necessary, or its not the way God WANTS to operate. You have to, in my opinion, you must (on basis of scripture) admit that God is a supernatural God, who tends to and DESIRES to work in that way- supernatural ways, there just isn’t much of it these days. And Bill Johnson is tapping into God’s power. Okay. I’m not a hardcore Johnsonite, he’s not my preference, but God is doing stuff at Bethel and I say “Yahoo God” to that. You guys say “it’s not God” and I say “you missed the Kingdom, it passed by”.

    I’m not sure if this verse supports what I’m saying, but I like it, and it may support my point. Luke 5:17.

  305. Omar says:

    Also, I my stance on Matthew 10:7-8, is the same. The Holy Spirit is for a believer, available (a present help?- Luke 5:17). Waiting to be used, like it was used by Jesus. I believe Matthew 10:7-8 is a command to those who would “make room for it” to use this power. Why? To help others and bring glory to God. Therefore, it is arguable not biblically wrong for Johnson to say “what have I done?” when Jesus would tell his disciples, in essence, “you do a miracle now.” Hey, this may ruffle you, but its in the book!

  306. Craig says:

    Omar,

    To answer your question posed in the 2nd paragraph, Matt 7:22 is speaking of individuals who are NOT using the power of God in the first place. This is why Jesus closes this section with “I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!” [NIV 1984].

    The Holy Spirit points to Christ and NOT to Himself. Those who “deny the power thereof” are either working by the flesh or they are working by another power altogether and their emphasis, by looking at the full context (as I mentioned earlier), is greed.

    You seem to miss the whole point here – we are NOT Jesus! We imitate His humility in coming to earth as God while assuming the limitations of man (while yet still functioning as God and being fully God) in order to serve others. We imitate Him in our service; we are not to imitate Him as a miracle worker. Miracles may or may not attend the preaching of the Gospel; and, as IWTT states, miracles are signs for unbelievers, not believers. This does not preclude miraculous healing by God’s sovereignty. His ways are not our ways.

    Jesus came to make Atonement for our sins. His miracles were signs the He was who He said He was (John 10:37-38). He came to ‘heal’ mankind of our ‘sin sickness’ in order that we may have life. The hyper-charismatic claim that all are to be healed is proven false on a number of fronts. The Apostle Paul had sickness. Timothy had sickness. Most importantly, they all eventually died and were not subsequently resurrected – resurrection being the ultimate in healing.

    God will not be mocked. If someone is preaching a ‘different Jesus’, God is not going to be there.

  307. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Really now. Look at the context of Johnson’s quote.

    “What have I done? This guy thinks he hobbled in here…wait until he tries to walk out!”

    Then, Johnson admits that he made a mistake with his comment “God covered me”.

    I don’t understand your disconnect on this one. In my view, this is one of the easiest posts on CrossWise to understand regarding the aberrant practices and theology of Johnson.

  308. IWTT says:

    “Miracles may or may not attend the preaching of the Gospel; and, as IWTT states, miracles are signs for unbelievers, not believers. This does not preclude miraculous healing by God’s sovereignty. His ways are not our ways.”

    Understand Omar, that I am coming from the premise of predestination. If God makes some vessels for honor and others for dishonor or if he has predestined some since before time, then all I have to do as a believer, (one saved by hearing the word of God, faith being appropriated or better said as referred in my earlier post, Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God) is be obedient to what JESUS SAID that being, (Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature).

    When I say that signs are for unbelievers that is because some will hear and not respond, but there is always that chance that a sign to follow the preaching might help build their faith to believe if the sign is manifested at the will of the Holy Spirit who will always point to Jesus and why He came to earth as a bondservant.

    You see I am not a cessationist, I am a continuist that follows reformed theology. I have been there and done that, a worship leader for a deliverence ministry and was part of the beginnings of starting Harp and Bowl and my church. I was into prophecy, was called upon to pray and prophesy over the graduates of the young peoples (sort of like) Masters Commission. Taught many a group on prophetic worship, until one day I believe the Holy Spirit gave me a caution a “red flag” and I began to look biblcally what I was taught, what I taught in return and what I was getting involved in. I was brought to my knees in repentence and to this day I will stand for or “contend for the faith” with those who think Bethel or IHOP or any other hyper-charismatic-NAR-istic, group is “teaching/preaching” a true gospel.

  309. Carolyn says:

    Omar…just had a chance to read your comment. In reply to your question:

    But I think the question here is, should a christian hunger for more? More relationship and
    more encounters with God? If so, what is wrong with the charismatics, who hold prayer meetings and worship until they feel the King’s presence? Not the weird charismatics… I mean, what’s wrong with say a church that holds a once a month encounter-themed worship meeting.

    To hunger for more of God is not wrong…of course! But what is real food and real drink?
    John 6:54-56
    New International Version (NIV)

    54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

    As Craig said Keep in mind that Jesus Christ IS the Logos, the Word, the Message, made flesh. It’s the Word, not encounters that feeds our spiritual hunger.

    I bring you back to just after Christ left the earth. What was the first thing that the apostles did with the 3000 new converts? Notice the order of first, second and third:
    Acts 2:41-43
    New International Version (NIV)
    41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

    The Fellowship of the Believers

    42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

    43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.

    It’s precisely the cart before the horse if you seek Him through encounters. First things first.
    2 Timothy 2:15
    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth

    In conclusion, I think we aren’t seeing a lot of spiritual reality today because we aren’t eating real food…that is, devoting ourselves to the basics of the faith. We’re being fed a diet of junk food that has temporary highs and terrible cravings for highly-sensational-encounter-type fructose snacks with the inevitable crashes into a brain dead functional paralysis until the next junk food high encounter starts the cycle all over….

    Let’s hunger for God…his Truth, his Way, his Life. And accordingly, we’ll see a different result.

  310. Omar says:

    Carolyn, I agree with what your saying. That’s how I feel about it. Like Paul said, “We make it our goal to please him.” I see the teenagers, and Jesus Culture-ites begging for an emotional experience, which I don’t look down on… but Jesus himself said “they except the Word with great joy and then after a while wither away”. So yes, we agree on that. This is where we differ, try to follow me, I think those emotional lifting experiences are a part of serving God. God doesn’t mind giving those things, of course that’s not our goal, “our goal is to please him”, but what type of gifts do you think the Father gives to his servants? “The Kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace, and joy”- those are readily available. Why do i say this? I’ve gotten high on God in my room, I’ve gotten high on God in worship meetings, I’ve gotten high just talking about Jesus to friends. Once I saw a guy at a bus stop and asked if I could pray for him, and he said “I can feel God right now” and there has been other occasions. What am I saying? It’s not our goal, but it happens, and it should… but its not our goal, but its readily available, but its not our goal… so don’t frown upon it, let God frown.

  311. Omar says:

    IWTT,

    I’m sorry that you have had bad experiences with charismatics……… I hate the term charismatics (I used to like it) but what else do you call christians that practice the gifts?- new testament saints?……. anyway, I’m really sorry that you broke away from God’s plan for you, and became a pharisee. Listen, the gifts are readily available. You don’t have to be like the nut jobs out there, you can use your gifts that God has given you with better character than the maniacs you’ve seen before. It doesn’t have to be weird…….. well, lots of prophetic preachers say “it doesn’t have to be weird”, but Jesus was a little strange at times…….. anyway, it doesn’t have to be extremely weird. But, guess what, the gifts used right are encouraging. Who says the gifts aren’t ever for believers? Why in New Testament did a “prophet” give Paul a prophecy, and etc. If the gifts are for unbelievers, then God would have spoken to Paul directly. Or when Peter was freed from jail because people prayed for him. At one point God shook Paul’s prison and the doors swung open, and Paul didn’t even leave. The bible says “desire the greater gifts”, so if you don’t want to be miracle-seeking, the least we can agree on is not to be miracle-hindering.

  312. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I see we’re at least a bit closer to agreement. I am not opposed to emotional experiences at all; I have had emotional experiences in a variety of ways: in worship meetings, when a door is opened to preach the Gospel to someone (not by something I would have contrived), when the answer to a perplexing theological question is answered “out of nowhere”, etc. However, I think we demean God by using the phrase “got high on God” – I think you mean well, but it sounds a bit sacrilegious to me. Let’s use the Scriptural terms you used, “righteousness, peace, and joy.”

    You wrote, “…let God frown.” I see your point – but only to a point. We are to defend the faith as Jude was diverted into doing (Jude 3-4). However, certainly, there will be tares amongst the wheat and goats amongst the sheep. Scripture says we are not to ‘pull out the tares’ but rather to let them grow with the wheat. However, we are also told to separate from the Godless. We can only separate from those “who have secretly slipped in among you” (Jude 3, NIV 1984) by identifying them. We identify them by their faulty doctrine and practice – not that all are expected to have perfect theology, of course. But, when there is evidence straight out of their mouths of either a false/occult healing or a fabrication about a healing as we have here in this article, then it is our duty to expose it for the sake of the sheep.

  313. Omar says:

    Craig, I disagree with your stance, brother. You say “we are not Jesus”. That’s a bad statement, man. I hope God will correct the attitude that generates that statement. Doesn’t the bible say “we are being transformed into his image” and “He is the first of many brethren”? So if the bible makes it clear that I’m supposed to look to Jesus as the example of who I am to be… how can you say, in bold, you are not Jesus.

    Jesus himself said “you don’t know the power of God”. Basically, Craig, when you read the bible and see the things God is willing to do, you say the power comes from the Holy Spirit. Then when a believer commands someone’s leg to be healed, you say the power comes from a demon. Well, how can you read the bible and then not believe its fulfillment? The bible pointed to Jesus, then Jesus came to earth and all those versed in the bible denounced him. How is that even possible? How can people so versed in the Word, be so stumbled by the manifestation of what is written about? These guys studied the bible night and day.

    The bible is extravagant, God just does huge things in the bible for his pleasure. We are recipients of God’s pleasure. The verse “a father gives good gifts” isn’t a small scale verse, it means “the Father gives amazing things”. So lets not have a small scale about what God wants to do and what his plans may be. I think the scale should be big, the God in the bible is big, so I’m anticipating that God in my life will be big. They say “don’t put God in a box”, I think we should at the very least not hinder him.

    Also, don’t reprove the Gospel. Its big, its supposed to be big. We were made in God’s “image”, Jesus came in “display” the Father. The least we can say is Man has potential, through the cross and the Holy Spirit. The bible says one of the gifts of the spirit is a pension for miracles. Not all christians are the same, some have been equipped to do miracles, by the Holy Spirit.

    Phillipians 3:10, and Romans 8:17: “If we share in his sufferings, we also share in his glory”. You may say, God alone is worthy of glory, he doesn’t share it! Well, we aren’t worthy, and its a new covenant. So guess what, Jesus was glorified, and any believer is in a position to receive the same glory as well, according to the Father’s pleasure. So don’t reprove the bible.

  314. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed that I use the term “hyper-charismatics” – this is to differentiate between them and “charismatics”. In theory, or at least as per Scripture, all NT believers should ‘practice’ the gifts. By that I mean:

    11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. [1 Cor 12:11, NIV 1984]

    Let’s dispense with the pejoratives, Omar. No more name calling, i.e. “pharisee”. First and last warning on that.

  315. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Not a single person will ever be the theanthropos, the unique God-man, God the Word in the flesh. We are to imitate Christ in service to others, humble ourselves as Paul states in Phil 2:3-7. The problem with many is they want to go from being a mere man and become God and simultaneously demote Christ from God to man, while Christ who was/is God added humanity to Himself for our benefit.

    You make the assumption that Bill Johnson is a true believer. I don’t start with that assumption as I cannot know who is and who isn’t a believer. What I can do is study an individual’s doctrine and practice. If these don’t line up with the plumb line, then I have ‘reasonable doubt’about their position in the Christian faith.

    No, you are mistaken; Jesus was not glorified as if He didn’t have glory commensurate with the rest of the Godhead – He always had the same Glory as the remainder of the Trinity, even if was veiled under flesh during His earthly ministry. We share in His glory as partakers of the divine nature; HOWEVER, we do not actually attain the same glory as the Godhead and by sharing in the divine nature we don’t actually become divine.

  316. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I’m pulling this quote out because we are going ’round and ’round on this and I want to put it to rest. You wrote, “Craig, when you read the bible and see the things God is willing to do, you say the power comes from the Holy Spirit. Then when a believer commands someone’s leg to be healed, you say the power comes from a demon. Well, how can you read the bible and then not believe its fulfillment?

    You draw faulty conclusions based upon an agenda or blindness.

    1) I look at a person’s doctrine and practice and if they don’t line up with Scripture, I have reason to doubt their position in the Christian faith. For anyone with eyes open and ‘ears to hear’, this short article, using Bill Johnson’s own words, provides serious doubt as to Johnson’s position in the Faith.

    2) Given Johnson’s words that “God covered me” for his (Johnson’s) mistake, then, logically, Johnson is claiming HE, rather than God, is the one who initially botched this healing. This is very plain.

    You claim you’re not a Johnson follower yet your continued defense of him seems to contradict your words. Johnson’s statements are clear; so, either his initial healing which God subsequently “covered” was an occult/false healing or Johnson is fabricating. You can take your choice between one of these two options as there flat-out are no others. Which will it be, Omar? Do you believe Johnson is fabricating this, or do you believe Johnson’s initial healing was of the occult?

    I want a straight answer to this question before I will release any more of your comments.

  317. IWTT says:

    Omar,

    I’m sorry that you have had bad experiences with charismatics……… I hate the term charismatics (I used to like it) but what else do you call christians that practice the gifts?- new testament saints?……. anyway, I’m really sorry that you broke away from God’s plan for you, and became a pharisee.

    1st) – You are sooooo off base here. Nobody has hurt me. I haven’t been offended by anyone. You have just used the oldest response in the book. You have assumed that I had been offended by what people have done, and then label me a Pharasee. Slap your hand, you bad boy! Frankly, IF I were to be offended, I should be offended with God for taking me out of a situation that I whole heartedly was involved in, believed in.

    Nobody hurt me, no body, offended me, no body did me any wrong, personally. I have been free-er in Christ since I left (as Craig said, notice the word), HYPER-CHARISMATIC camp and just allowed the Holy Spirit to show me truth from His word. I am more in love with the One who saved me than I ever was being involved in, what was suppose to be the moving of God.

    I have had more REAL moments with the Lord and seen real miracles in my 44 years as a follower of Christ that I cannot deny, but I can also say with peace, no blame on anyone else, that I have seen the FLESH become more important than the Lord in many churches today.
    Those who have taught me the things that are unbiblical I Love and they are wonderful people and I pray for them often, but what they have taught is wrong. I hold no animosity at them. I was deceived as they are and only God can rectify that. My responsibility, “rightly divide the word”.

    I hate the term charismatics (I used to like it) but what else do you call christians that practice the gifts

    2ndly – I, personally have no problem with the term charismatic. When I first came in contact with that, I can truely say that many were teaching a word that was truth, so being charismatic is not the problem. It’s people letting the flesh rule.

    3rdly – People DON”T practice the gifts. They are used in the gifts as the Holy Spirit wills. Here is the mistake that many make. You and I have nothing to do with it. We don’t go to some Supernatural School of Ministry to learn the gifts because unless the Holy Spirit manifests them then it is all flesh. There is no need to practice a gift. The Holy Spirit is already perfect and can do just fine without our help. We on the other hand abuse these gifts by thinking that WE can learn how to and daily use them. You realize that scripture actually speaks of the abusiveness of the gifts and how services are run, right? Paul wasn’t applauding the Corinth Church but chastising them for what they were doing. Look at the book, it was a correction, was it not?

    Craig says:
    September 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Thank you Craig…

  318. IWTT says:

    Omar says:
    September 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Who says the gifts aren’t ever for believers? Why in New Testament did a “prophet” give Paul a prophecy, and etc. If the gifts are for unbelievers, then God would have spoken to Paul directly. Or when Peter was freed from jail because people prayed for him. At one point God shook Paul’s prison and the doors swung open, and Paul didn’t even leave.

    I’ll concede this point to you. I was making the statement in light of a point I was trying to make. The gifts ARE for today and can be mainifested for believer and/or non-believer.

    I’d like to ask this, Is Bethel method of the “supernatural” for real evangelism, of turning a wicked heart, sinful heart of the sinner to believing and following after Jesus in obedience? Do they REALLY preach “Christ crucified” or are they just expecting that the “experience” or “encounter” of some supernatural event is enough? What differenciates that from the pagen “supernatural” event? How do you really know the difference? What if God, in reality, has taken His hand off of these “experiences” and they are no more than “flesh” yet man says they are of the Holy Spirit? How can you tell the difference?

    People say they want to be a fool for Christ. I say, being “foolish” for Christ is biblically the opposite of what these folks are doing.

    Proverbs 15:7
    The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.

    Proverbs 15:14
    The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

    Isaiah 35:8
    And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.

  319. Omar says:

    In response to Craig, what went wrong with Bill Johnson’s “botched” miracle. In my opinion, in that particular situation, God gave Bill a gift of power. What Bill spoke would occur. So Bill said “right leg grow” and it did. Then he told the other leg to grow and it did. Christians already know that words have power, they say “speak over your situation”, well this is what we already know just to a higher degree. Also, I believe, God is intellectually involved in the miraculous, He “sets us up”, He has certain things go a certain way for a higher reason. That’s my opinion. Remember when Elisha told those bears to kill those kids? You think God wanted that? I doubt it, the power just went out with his words. Elisha probably learned something that day too.

  320. Omar says:

    [Omar, I'm letting this one through since 1) it's an apology for an offense you caused; and, 2) IWTT can address the rest.]

    IWITT, well I apologize if I was wrong about your being offended. In truth, I’m astonished that God told you to step away from charismatic circles. I prize revelation in my life and others… and for you to get revelation, from God, to step away from using the gifts… that really doesn’t vibe with my belief system (lol). I’m going to seriously think about that.

  321. Omar says:

    Two more things, if I may, where do you guys get your doctrine from? I know the bible alright, but I don’t know formal Doctrine very well. Where do I learn Doctrine?

    Also, what are you guys’ views on the verse “desire the gifts, especially that you may prophesy”? The bible says to want the gifts, making it not quite an option.

  322. Craig says:

    Omar,

    With all due respect, you have a very seriously distorted view of God’s sovereignty. God doesn’t give anyone power (stated correctly, it would be the Holy Spirit’s power working through the person) unless it’s in accordance with His will. Johnson purportedly attempted to ‘grow’ a perfectly good leg, while the other leg which had been broken, resulting in it being 1.5″ longer than normal, was left alone. Why would God ‘fix’ a leg which was not injured? And, the point you keep missing is that Johnson said “God covered me” – indicating it was NOT God in this initial healing at all. Additionally, Johnson’s account specifies the man screamed out in pain. If you think that God would inflict pain in healing, again, you misunderstand God’s nature. God doesn’t make someone worse in a healing attempt. How does that glorify Him?

    God is not obligated to do anything that we ‘command’ or ask. He alone is sovereign. I’ve prayed in Jesus’ name, fervently, and some of those prayers went unanswered – at least in the way I thought they should. His ways are not our ways; but, He will not go against His character.

    A related question: Do you believe that the enemy can do the miraculous (as Scripture makes clear as I’ve pointed out earlier)?

    I will not release any other comments of yours unless and until you see this clearly; so, please do not post any more until we hash this out.

    A true story: I prayed specifically for the healing of an individual as it was made clear to me I was to do so. It had been on my heart for a while; and, when the opportunity presented itself, nothing happened…except…Immediately after I laid hands on him (as per what I truly felt I was to do), he turned to me and said, “I know why I’m sick. It’s my prejudice…” He went on about his prejudiced beliefs. I told him God could remove that belief system if he would pray about it. I’ve asked him a few times afterwards and he has never prayed about it. And he’s still not healed.

    Just after I did what I felt God wanted me to do in that circumstance, my burden for him lifted. It’s now on him to repent and pray about it.

    You wrote, “Christians already know that words have power, they say “speak over your situation”, well this is what we already know just to a higher degree.” You are entrenched in the faulty Word of Faith aka Word/Faith theology. I’m sure you don’t realize this, but this is what occultists do. They believe ‘as above, so below’ – that what happens in the natural affects the spiritual and vice versa, that we can command things to be. And there are demonic powers who are glad to oblige them.

    Yes, there is ‘power’ in the tongue as James says. But, it’s because words can either build up or tear down an individual. We must be careful with our words.

  323. Omar says:

    Craig, I like that you were obedient to God, I find that exciting, cool. But sometimes you say things that seem to clash with scripture… you said “as above, so below”, that’s not occultist… that’s the Lord’s prayer. I’m not familiar with the occult or New Age stuff, as far as I know.

    Let’s look at the Lord’s prayer, the first part:

    Father, may your Name be glorified (the number one way God receives glory is through miracles, Psalms 77:14),
    Your Kingdom come (God’s Kingdom is purity, a feeling of peace, and a feeling of joy; Jesus said “Declare that the Kingdom is now and then heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and cleanse the lepers”),
    Your will be done on earth as in heaven (as above, so below).

    You can’t deny that there’s truth in that.

    Also, do I think the Devil can perform miracles? I do. But only with God’s permission and only for the purpose of eventually “stealing, killing, or destroying”. I do not believe that Satan is free to bring restoration to families or beneficial healings, for the purpose of misleading. I think he’s a stealer, killer, or destroyer. If the fruit of the action isn’t destroying something in this life, the Devil wouldn’t do it. I don’t see the Devil on a long chain, doing as he pleases, I see him defeated. Easily crushed. If a miracle brings healing to someone that was suffering, the Devil didn’t do it. God did it. There’s nowhere in the bible that the Devil is shown to be that powerful and cunning, to actual heal a person in order to promote a false doctrine. In the bible, healing is the main miracle/sign that Jesus was Christ. Restoration is God’s M.O.

  324. Craig says:

    As above, so below is from The Emerald Tablet of Hermeticism:

    http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/a/below_above.html

    The phrase is NOT akin to “on earth as it is in heaven” even though this is in Eugene Peterson’s New Age perversion The Message.

    For commentary on the Lord’s Prayer, see here:

    http://www.studylight.org/desk/?l=en&query=mat++6%3A9-10&section=0&translation=nas&oq=&sr=1

    Click on “Study Resource List” on the right. Most are orthodox, but some are a bit more liberal than others.

    You’re getting closer with your understanding of the enemy. But, pay particular attention to this one:

    14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. [II Cor 11:14-15]

    This implies that Satan will do many of the things true Christians would through his ‘servants of righteousness’. Also, keep in mind Matthew 7:15-23, especially taking note of the last line, “I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!” Our adversary is not omniscient, but he’s much more crafty than any mere human. We can never match wits with him in our own strength. This is why we are primarily told to “stand” in Eph 6:10-18.

    There are reports of occult healings all over the globe in various false religions, some of them claiming it was “jesus” or “the holy spirit”. And, of course we know the enemy has done the miraculous in Job 1-2 and Exodus 7:10-12 (turning staff into snake) and again in 7:22:

    20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.

    22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.

    I suggest you read over the actual post (it’s short) taking note of the things Johnson states in his book. So, is it an occult/false healing or is Johnson pulling our collective legs?

  325. Omar says:

    Well, I’m not sure about Bill Johnson then, your comments cause me to question him. I heard a sermon he preached last month on Jesus’ Blood, which cleanses us of sin… so he’s not all bad. At times he preaches things that are surprisingly basic. Like he preached once on how reading the bible changes you, your changed just by reading it. And he preached another time on us being pure, and how we should hate sin, and how our hate for sin is connected to our love for God. I was surprised to hear him preach like that, because he usually has some kind of new insight. So he’s not all bad. I think some of the other guys at Bethel are more out there, they say things I think are plain incorrect at times.

    Sorry, I kinda went off on a tangent there, I wanted to ask you what charismatic preachers you agree with? How about Graham Cooke, or John Wimber?

  326. IWTT says:

    Omar, I accept your apologies…

    I prize revelation in my life and others… and for you to get revelation, from God, to step away from using the gifts… that really doesn’t vibe with my belief system (lol). I’m going to seriously think about that.

    I DID NOT get revelation from God to step away from the gifts. I got direction through His word to step away from the false teaching of those that are a part of the hyper-charismatic camp (see that word again?) What I also got from the Lord was to put the gifts in their proper perspective and I got that from His word.

    Look, I have a whole testamony of how God did this. I had to bring it before the leadership of my church as I questioned the teachings. It was with a different ministry but Bethel Church falls in the same camp, therefore, the same scripture applies. I met with the pastor(s) and I typed up 2 or 3 letters at their request of why I was so concerned. I did and guess what? The leadership of the 4Square Church I went to agreed with me. They said yes, these guys are teaching a theology that was and is considred a heresy.

    I eventually did leave this church, under no duress or animosity from any one or myself. It was the leading of the Holy Spirit and it hasn’t been the 1st time that the Holy Spirit has led me away from one body to another.

    You and I probably won’t agree on this but I believe that Deuteronomy 29:29 clearly states that the secret things of God belong to Him and that anyone who says they are receiving secret revelation/knowledge outside of what is written in His word is not receiving knowledge from God. All we need to know is from His word, studied in proper hernmanuetics in context of the whole of scrirpture. If single verse are used to support a belief, it is improper discernment if that verse. If the bible is silent on a matter then so should we.

    I share these verses with you…

    I Timothy. 11 “I urge you… Command certain men not to teach false doctrine any longer nor devote themselves to myths and endless geneologies These PROMOTE CONTROVERSIES rather than Gods work…” “… which is by faith. The goal of my command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience…” “… and whatever else is contrary to SOUND DOCTRINE that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” (Paul)“…watch your life and DOCTRINE CLOSELY. Perservere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” “… Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from Godless chatter and the OPPOSING IDEAS OF WHAT IS FALSELY CALLED KNOWLEDGE, which some have professed and in doing so have wandered away from the truth.”

    Matthew 24: 4 & 24 “… And Jesus answered them, ‘”Take head that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray’”… “…For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect…” (RSV)

    II Timothy 4:1-5;

    “In the presence of God and of Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word: be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

    Titus 1:9;

    “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”

    Titus 2:1;

    “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

  327. Craig says:

    False teachers don’t always teach falsely. If they did, it would be obvious that they are a false teacher. They mix good with bad. They may have a few sermons which are spot on. Then, they may say something like, “Did you know Jesus was born again?”

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-ii/

    And:

    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”

    Basically, Johnson – and many other hyper-charismatics – teach that Jesus did everything by the power of the Holy Spirit only. Given this faulty perspective, they’ll say that if you totally submit to the Spirit, you too can be sinless. That just is not true.

    Here’s another Johnson doozie:

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

    There is only one Word made flesh and He is the second Person of the Trinity, God the Word/Logos.

    Please don’t try to answer for Johnson on any of these quotes; they’re just to get you thinking about him overall. Let’s keep this thread on point. So, back to the subject at hand, given the numbers of biblical passages warning of false teachers/prophets, what about the question I keep asking regarding this post:

    Is it an occult/false healing or is Johnson pulling our collective legs?

  328. Craig says:

    As for “revelation”, I have an occult book by Alice Bailey titled Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle in which she advocates the same practices as hyper-charismatics to get “new revelation”

    The truly telepathic man is the one who is responsive to impressions coming to him from all forms of life…but he is also equally responsive to impressions coming to him from the world of souls [spirits] and the world of intuition.

    and:

    The thought-directing energy has for its source a Thinker Who can enter into the divine Mind, owing to His having transcended human limitation; the thought-directed receiver is the man, in exoteric expression, who has aligned his brain, his mind, and his soul.

    Esoteric thought claims that the word repentance means “going into the larger (divine) mind”. Look at Johnson’s definition of repentance:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/learning-etymology-with-bill-johnson-a-new-age-repentance/

    Yet, Scripture states we’ve already received all the revelation we need – it came in the Person of Christ:

    1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors 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 also he made the universe. [Heb 1:1-2, NIV]

    You had asked about prophesy/prophecy in 1 Corinthians 12-14. In it simplest form, to prophesy is to speak for God, to speak the very words of God. That is, it is to be God’s spokesperson. It can mean, as in the OT, to foretell future events; but, in the NT that is no longer needed as Christ has given us all the revelation we need in the form of the Biblical texts of the NT. We prophesy by being led of the Spirit and preaching/teaching the Word in context and in His timing to individuals who need to hear this particular word at that particular time (see I Cor 14:3-5 and 14:19 – “…I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct…”; and 14:9 – “…Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue…”).

    Now, again, I direct you to answer the question posed earlier regarding this specific post before you ask any more.

  329. Craig says:

    Omar,

    A suggestion: Stop reading any and all the books you have for a time and stick with strictly the Bible. Pick a particular book, say, Galatians, for example. Start by reading it all the way through the first time. Then go back and read more slowly a chapter at a time; in this way you get the full context. If there is something not clear, try:

    http://www.studylight.org/

    Once you plug in a particular passage, for example Galatians 4:19-20, you can find associated commentary:

    19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— 20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

    OK, what does it mean “until Christ is formed in you”? Click on the STUDY RESOURCE LIST on the right for answers to that. Try the MHC – Matthew Henry Commentary:

    “…and the great thing which he was in so much pain about, and which he was so earnestly desirous of, was not so much that they might affect him as that Christ might be formed in them, that they might become Christians indeed, and be more confirmed and established in the faith of the gospel….”

    Interestingly, according to Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, there is a Jewish idiom: “If one teaches the son of his neighbor the law, the Scripture reckons this the same as though he had begotten him.” Apparently, this is what the Apostle Paul had in mind in describing himself as being in “labor” (or “travailing” in KJV) for “my dear children.” Presumably, the Galatians would be familiar with this idiomatic phrase; so, the point would be made. This metaphor is also used in I Corinthians 4:14-15:

    14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

    If you don’t have a good study Bible with parallel passages in the middle, I suggest you get one. For example, in my NIV (1984) Study Bible, for Galatians 4:19 it refers to 1 Thess 2:11, Romans 8:29, and Eph 4:13. This helps to see how the Bible answers itself- how it’s one cohesive whole – with Scripture interpreting Scripture.

  330. Steve B. (omots) says:

    “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.’” [Matthew 12:24, Mark 3:22, Luke 11:15, etc.]

    HOW CAN WE TELL BY WHAT SPIRIT BILL JOHNSON PERFORMS, OR HAS PERFORMED MIRACLES?

    Those of us who question the “anointing” as promoted by Bill Johnson (among others), or who cast doubt or even refute the notion that such men are acting by God’s power, should expect to be called “Pharisees”. Anyone who questions Bill Johnson’s version of the “facts” should expect to be called an “anti-christ”. What defines “anti-christ”?

    The Scribes and Pharisees were the most learned men of the day. They not only had the history of their people and the prophets as recorded in the scriptures to study, but they had practical experience with a variety of surrounding pagan traditions. They believed and taught that the prophets performed miracles by the power of God. But they also understood that people who practiced sorcery did not perform supernatural works by their own power, nor by the power of God, but with the help of demonic forces.

    The Pharisees claimed Jesus was a sorcerer. They claimed Jesus was acting by the power of the devil. They had to try and prove their claim because the only other possible explanation was that Jesus was doing these things by HIS OWN POWER AND/OR BY THE POWER OF GOD. They tested Jesus against scripture, and tried to trap him by demonstrating he was acting contrary to the law and the prophets. But they could not find/prove any discrepancies because Jesus was indeed the VERY WORD OF GOD.

    If the Pharisees had acknowledged that Jesus could do such things by HIS OWN POWER OR BY THE POWER OF GOD, they would have had to acknowledge HIS DIVINE AUTHORITY and accept the claims He and his disciples were making. This they refused to do even though Jesus passed every test they threw at him.

    So what makes my/our accusation against Bill Johnson any different from the accusation the Pharisees made against Jesus? Does Bill Johnson actually pass the test of scripture, the test of a prophet, but we are acting like blind guides (Pharisees) by stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the truth?

    Shaman’s study the creation (cosmos) looking for ways to gain influence over it, and spend a large amount of energy trying to convince others that they have acquired the ability to tap into, or “channel” supernatural power. A shaman may even claim such power emanates from God, but that does not make it so.

    Craig has written many pages explaining how Bill Johnson’s “Christ” differs from the Christ of Scripture. Contrast this with the Pharisees who failed to demonstrate that Jesus was acting contrary to the Law, or that Jesus did not match the prophecies and the scriptures perfectly. Jesus not only fulfilled all the prophecy and all the law, but with the NT as our witness, He did it so all those whom believe on Him, could experience grace, mercy, redemption, hope, and eternal life.

    Neither Jesus, nor the disciples, needed to practice channeling in order to perform miracles. Jesus needed no helpers, no angelic beings, no hidden forces to do what He did. Jesus needed no “partner”. As Christians we believe that Jesus performed all the miracles/works that are recorded in our Bible BECAUSE HE WAS GOD.

    The disciples also performed miracles. Did they claim to have the power to do these things in and of themselves? Did they claim to be tapping into or acting in “partnership” with God? NO! The disciples were able to do the same things Jesus did because Jesus gave them HIS DIVINE authority for the purpose of glorifying Him. Jesus was the source for every healing, every dead raising. It was all about who Jesus was/is, and what He was doing /has done for us.

    Can people still be given these same gifts today? Sure, but it’s always for the purpose of glorifying God. The disciples were not given Jesus’ authority and power to build up their own ministries, or demonstrate some sort of special “anointing”, or to fulfill their own destinies, or construct the Kingdom of God on earth.

    I submit to the reader that there is enough factual information and scriptural comparisons exhibited on this blog to convince any sincere individual the truth about what kind of spirit is behind Bethel’s “anointing” and specifically, Bill Johnson’s ministry.

  331. zeemanb says:

    Sorry to just jump in to the middle of a great conversation, but just one thought in case it’s one that hasn’t been shared recently….

    My feelings about Bill Johnson aside, I think his game is far simpler than potential sorcery…his brand of “miracles” are more about prosperity. In short, I think that the belief he is performing actual miracles in the name of any power is giving him far too much credit. Calling him a heretic or sorcerer assigns a level of importance to him that requires the rank and file at Bethel to defend him without question…you’re throwing stones at their Papa Bill. I’m not saying stop, or that he should be ignored, I’m just saying that a solid opposition is as simple as pointing out the fact that no actual miracles are coming out of Bethel. I read a lot of hearsay accounts, have seen plenty of questionable videos, anonymous testimonies, have been told time and time again I just have to trust the unimpeachable sources, and most recently saw a still picture of a gold tooth courtesy of Healing Herald that was evidence of a “dental miracle”. For a Bethel miracle, all you apparently need to prove that your arm grew back after a car accident is a picture of you with both of your arms. For such a tech and social media savvy organization, they put zero effort into providing an accurate accounting when it comes to the miraculous. You can purchase Bill’s latest works on Kindle, but miracle reports are relegated to Big Chief tablets, I guess.

    Granted, it’s not as interesting as discussing doctrine when they start in with the “trying to prove a miracle can put you in such an analytical frame of mind that it minimizes God’s glory” argumentation, but it cuts straight to the heart of the matter. If I were in leadership at Bethel, I’d breathe a sigh of relief to see people arguing doctrine as long as it kept them from auditing the miracle reports. Miracles don’t have to actually be happening at Bethel for the organization to prosper, you just have to create a cult of personality complete with theme music that SAYS miracles are happening and sell a concept of faith that says “as long as good things are happening and we keep growing, how can the miracles NOT be real?!?!”.

  332. Craig says:

    zeemanb,

    I don’t disagree with your opinion on this. However, it becomes a non-starter as those who support Bethel make all kinds of claims, believing the hearsay. And since there IS no documentation one way or the other, those on the ‘pro’ side believe them carte blanche while those skeptics among us sit in disbelief. Bethel refuses to provide documentation when pressed citing HIPAA laws or claiming we just don’t believe in God’s power. But, hey, if it were me who was healed, I’d be telling EVERYONE, providing proof, etc. to give glory to God. But, that’s just me I suppose.

    This sort of thing has been happening in Benny Hinn’s ‘ministry’ for years. Are there any bona fide, proven miracles? Nope.

    My main reason for doing this article is to show that with this particular one there is no middle ground. There are only two options: either this botched healing of Johnson’s is of the occult or he’s pulling our collective legs. Either answer is not a good one. Once the reader recognizes the possibility of occult healing and that this ‘healing’ account does not align with Scripture, they may well defer to the side of fabrication instead. Again, either way, it’s not good.

  333. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Z,

    You believe there is no evidence for any of the claimed “supernatural miracles” at Bethel Church. Fine. I certainly do not dispute what you are saying. I applaud your reasoning and fact checking. You may be absolutely right.

    The question then is this: What if feathers and/or gold dust actually materialized and fell on you during a Bethel worship service? What if Bill Johnson or one of his minions actually manifested power to do something supernatural, something no one could explain rationally? What if supernatural stuff was really happening at Bethel church, or began happening tomorrow?

    Would this validate Bill Johnson’s version of Christ? Would this prove Bill Johnson was a prophet of God?

    My point is that sooner or later, no matter how skeptical you/me/we are, we will have to deal with real signs and wonders, and not be deceived by the show of power.

  334. Craig says:

    Hmmm. It seems I read zeemanb’s comments a bit too quickly. In doing so, I thought the point was strictly about the ‘healings’. But, now I see he’s not believing any of the signs and wonders. While I’m unconvinced of the reports of miraculous healings, I do recognize the possibility of either true or false ones.

    However, I don’t disbelieve the gold dust and ‘angel’ feathers falling at Bethel; I just don’t know if they’re dubious or a false sign. Of course, there ARE no angel feathers. Bud Press checked another claim of angel feathers with samples provided to an ornithologist (bird expert) who found them fowl instead – bird feathers. And, I’m quite sure in this case that birds of a feather, flock together…

  335. Omar says:

    It’s getting hard to keep up with this convo now, because everyone is at different levels.

    So I just wanted to say this. Bear with me. The Pharisees knew the bible better than the back of their hands. They had it memorized, and they even decorated their clothing with bible verses (they had cords with bible verses written on it, hanging from their clothing.) But when Jesus came they didn’t recognize him.

    Jesus said “You search the scriptures, but I am the scriptures” and Jesus was furious with them. Now follow me… the bible says “The Holy Spirit leads us into truth… anyone led by God’s Spirit is a child of God”.

    Therefore, you got to be lead by a spirit, God’s Spirit (by God’s decree, you’re going to be led by a spirit anyway you look at it… just choose to let it by the Holy Spirit). The bible alone is not good enough, you need to be led by God’s Spirit! And I love the bible, but thats what the bible makes clear: be led by God’s Spirit in addition to searching scripture. I mean, this is concrete stuff, its the words from the Word.

    Also, you say a bible verse out of context can not be used to imply a revelation? Acts 1:20, Peter takes a Psalms out of context to apply to the situation of finding a new 12th Apostle. My point, you CAN use scripture out of context IF the Holy Spirit is leading you to. (Sorry for the caps, I’m just trying to clarify my point).

    And I’m not trying to sound occultic or whatever, I’m telling you what the bible makes clear. I hope I said it alright so that you won’t be stumbled by the wording I used.

  336. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I don’t see the Acts 1:20 verse as taking other verses (two different Psalms) out of context. It’s merely making application of those verses. But, here’s the deal: the NT is already canonized as Jesus was the last Prophet (of a foretelling nature) as Hebrews 1:1-2 makes clear. Now Jesus speaks to us through his Word – the complete Bible.

    Yes, the Pharisees had their Bibles memorized; however, their hearts were not in it as Jesus well knew. They added to the Bible via their oral traditions and made these a burden no one could possibly bear. Just their mandates on the Sabbath show how ridiculous they took one of the commandments. They were hypocrites, not living by the Law of Moses they proclaimed. They were not led of the Spirit of God.

    John 6 makes it clear that no one comes to the Son unless the Father enables them (John 6:27,44,65). The Pharisees in Scripture (excepting Saul turned Paul) were not drawn by the Father. This doesn’t mean that all Pharisees were not enabled (again, except for Paul) – only the ones we read about in Scripture.

    [FYI, to make bold, use the left arrow key below the K, type b, then use right arrow key to start bolded section; to finish, use left arrow, /, b, right arrow. I can’t show the example here since it will default to bold text without showing the html tags, so I’ll substitute brackets instead: [b]bold portion[/b] (again using left-right arrow keys instead of brackets) = bold portion. The same for italics except use i instead: [i]italics[/i] = italics]

  337. Craig says:

    Omar,

    Your point on being led by the Spirit in order to ascertain the truths of Scripture is a very good one. With this in mind, why do we have Johnson proclaiming a different Jesus from Scripture on numerous occasions as this blog shows in myriad articles? Using your own (correct) words, wouldn’t you conclude that Johnson wasn’t led of the Spirit?

    As just one example:

    The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [“Christ anointing” by the Spirit after water baptism] there could be no title. [Face to Face with God; p 109]

    So, Jesus couldn’t be called the Christ until the ‘experience’ (anointing) of Baptism?! I’m sure you’re unaware, but this is precisely what some occultists teach. As but one example:

    The word Christ means “the anointed one,” and then it is an official title. It means, The Master of Love. When we say ‘Jesus, the Christ’ we refer to the man and to his office; just as we do when we say…Lincoln, the President…Lincoln was not always President, and Jesus was not always Christ. Jesus won his Christship by a strenuous life…we have a record of the events of his christing, or receiving the degree Christ. Here is where he was coronated…

    Both quotes contained in this article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iiia/

    Of course, if these occultists who are perverting Scripture truly did understand the Scriptures, they’d understand the gravity of their actions and not do so and repent of any previous doings in this regard.

  338. IWtt says:

    Therefore, you got to be lead by a spirit, God’s Spirit (by God’s decree, you’re going to be led by a spirit anyway you look at it… just choose to let it by the Holy Spirit). The bible alone is not good enough, you need to be led by God’s Spirit! And I love the bible, but thats what the bible makes clear: be led by God’s Spirit in addition to searching scripture. I mean, this is concrete stuff, its the words from the Word.

    Omar, above is quoted from you from earlier post… I will approach this small testamony based on what you have just written.

    I was in a deep discussion and disagreed with something that a dear brother in the church wanted to get involved in. We were in deep prayer… looking for God direction for us.I want to share something from a journal entry I made regarding the direction we were looking at…

    Journal 1/17/07 –

    I wrote a pretty clear letter to { }that I could not attend the seminar on “Growing in Christ” nor lead the worship for it. I felt that my warning and request to hold off until all research could be done was a good compromise. Why teach things to a group of people that could be potentially wrong thereby “leading the elect astray”. Why not search for truth and then when all are satisfied teach in the things that are sound and true. Later, I was beginning to feel pretty bad what I had written and sent to { } by the time bed time came along, but I had to just leave it in the hands of the Lord.

    Then this morning I awoke at 4:45am and started praying as I lay in bed asking God to show me if I had made a mistake. I began to get a small thought, which I believe to be through the Holy Spirit “..read I Timothy”. I finally got up and began to read. Here is what I believe to Lord showed me…

    Chapter 1:3-11 “I urge you… Command certain men not to teach false doctrine any longer nor devote themselves to myths and endless geneologies These PROMOTE CONTROVERSIES rather than Gods work…”

    Apparently one of the signs that Paul writes to us to look for when false teaching is presented is CONTROVERSIES. There is a great deal of controversie between { } and I and in the church at large over the teachings of { } and the { }. Paul goes on to say,
    “… which is by faith. The goal of my command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away…”

    At this point Paul specifically talks about the teachers of the law. He then describes what and who the law is for and he finishes this specific thought with,

    “… and whatever else is contrary to SOUND DOCTRINE that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” (Paul)

    Chapter 2 – Instructions on Worship
    Chapter 3 – Overseers and Deacons
    Chapter 4 – Instructions to Timothy

    Timothy is told in this chapter verse 16…
    “…watch your life and DOCTRINE CLOSELY. Perservere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

    After further instruction Paul finally closes his thought with verse 20-21 of the last chapter,
    “… Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from Godless chatter and the OPPOSING IDEAS OF WHAT IS FALSELY CALLED KNOWLEDGE, which some have professed and in doing so have wandered away from the truth.”

    I think this morning has been a clear indication from the Lord that I just might be on the right road when it comes to my discernment that something is not right about the foundational teachings and beliefs of { } and those who teach it and the { }.

  339. IWTT says:

    Omar,

    I sought the guidence of the Holy Spirit,, and He guided to the the truth… the bible… how do I refute this word of scripture when I sought the truth from the teacher of truth and He takes me to the the truth His Word….. was I not lead by the spirit, God’s Spirit ? How do I argue this and also the leading to 2 Peter 2 in the matters of Bethel AND other such ministries? Are these lies from God? I think not.

  340. Omar says:

    Well IWTT, what you are saying is actually exactly the point i was making. Be lead by the Spirit, so yes that’s what I’m saying. But sometimes being led by the Spirit goes beyond the type of instance you’re talking about. For example, you may be wondering if you should buy a house, and you pick up the bible and you read a verse like “Jeremiah bought the potter’s field”. Or you might feel like you should talk to someone, or you might get a word of knowledge about someone and feel led to pray for them. Being led by the bible doesn’t always take you directly to doctrine, but it always vibes with whats in the bible (which is doctrine, as I understand the word doctrine). What I guess I’m trying to say is being led is, biblically, action orientated. Many Christians I think are constantly checking in with God, “Am I 100% right? Am I 100% right?”, but I think sometimes God’s heart is in spreading something. Spreading restoration, spreading knowledge. I actually believe that action takes precedence over correct doctrine. Although, correct doctrine is vastly superior to incorrect doctrine. When we get to heaven we will know everything, right now we won’t. The Great Commission is action orientated, not “get it 100% right”.

    Somewhere in there is my point, good luck finding it.

  341. Craig says:

    Omar,

    I won’t disagree with your comment here as I do think people are led by the Spirit in various ways, although there are those who attach prophetic signficance to just about anything. As regards ‘perfect doctrine’, take a look at this very short post:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/are-you-a-heretic/

    The Christian faith is certainly not some sort of exclusive club only for those who can intellectually grasp the finer points of doctrine. I know of individuals whose faith I do not question, but their knowledge of some pretty basic doctrine is very minimal. No one is saved by perfect theology; however, bad theology can well be the mark of someone worshiping ‘another Jesus’.

    But, again, when a pastor/teacher is putting forth doctrine which is strictly at odds with Scripture regarding the Person of Christ (such as the quote of Johnson I used at 7:26 on 9/4) I have to seriously question whether they are in the faith. A slip of the tongue is one thing, but continued teaching which perverts the Person of Christ and His work puts one by definition outside the faith. Certainly, you’d have to admit that the Spirit leads us into Truth about Christ as that’s His primary role (John 14:26, 15:7, 16:8-11); we are not saved apart from (the real) Jesus. How can one pray ‘in Jesus’ name’ while having a basically faulty conception of who He is?

    So, then, a prayer for healing ‘in Jesus’ name’ in which a teacher has a faulty conception of Jesus Christ (as in He didn’t receive His title of Christ until Baptism) resulting in an initial botched healing in which a man screams out in pain would be highly suspect, would it not?

  342. IWTT says:

    Omar,

    I got your point and I don’t disagree with you. But I also agree with Craig. It’s been said to me that in reality one’s theology drives whom they are preaching about and share the gospel.

    There are many theologies out there, Purpose Driven Model Churches, Dominion Theology, Manifest Sons of God, Word of Faith, etc. etc., and when you really become berean about what they are teaching, the question has to become, “Is this the same Jesus as in the scriptures?” It really does make a difference.

    I was given a clear warning, being Spirit led to stay away from these teachings that we are discussing, not only here, but other sites who discuss issues about these same camps. I have to be obedient to what I have been instructed through the very Word that has been given to me. I believe that the Lord was showing me through His word that Bethel is full of false teachers, false prophets that are teaching damnable heresy. The following verse was given to me as well at the same time I wrote that jounal entry.

    2 Peter 2:1-9
    English Standard Version (ESV)

    2 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

    I am not just some fly by guy in this. I have been there, done that and did this for 30 some years before my eyes were opened. I have to say Omar, you have come to this site, hopefully read the posts/articles and haven’t you wondered why God has brought you here?

    Is it possible that God is trying to save you as it states in the 1 Timothy “…watch your life and DOCTRINE CLOSELY. Perservere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” We are told to seperate ourselves from such as these. Is it possible God is trying to tell you to STOP and move on to a better way?

    Matthew 7:22 I take very seriously….21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    Look at this, He calls those who performed many miracles “in his name” evil doers. I would think that would put the fear of God in any one who walks this road of the “signs and wonders” camp. Apparently, even those who are mentioned in this verse thought they were doing the “works” in the name of the “right” Jesus. I guess not.

    Indeed, it’s been an interesting discussion here…

  343. Steve B. (omots) says:

    I am interested in doing research on the gold dust cloud formations claimed to be signs of “the presence” at Bethel Church. Supposedly some of this gold material sprinkles down upon the onlookers, so I’m thinking somebody out there should have some of it in their possession. I understand that the feathers have been tested already, and they turned out to be less than angelic. Anyway here’s a video of Bill Johnson discussing one of these “clouds”:

    Please note: Pastor Bill says this sort of thing is increasing in frequency to the point of being quite common at Bethel. He even promises the crowd that it will begin manifesting in people’s homes and places of business. Hmmm…..interesting.

    So if anybody has any of this golden cloud material laying around, please send me a vial. Place your name on the container, date it was collected, and return address on it. If it’s really gold, I’ll let you know, but I won’t promise to return it. Gold is just way too valuable these days. If it turns out to be something else, I’ll send it back. Maybe.

    All joking aside, I do have a theory. From some angles the clouds at Bethel appear gray in color, smoke-like, while first hand accounts describe the clouds as sparkly and golden in hue. I think it is very likely that this material may turn out to be some sort of fine ash that glitters like gold under certain lighting conditions.

    I think Bethel’s “gold dust” may actually be very fine ash. I say this because ash is very light and easily blown about and can reflect light and appear golden, red, or any other color depending on lighting. I fought forest fires so I know this is a fact. Just watch a smoke obscured sunset during the forest fire season for examples of brilliant coloration.

    Another interesting fact is that ash manifestations are very well known occurrences surrounding the devotion of certain Indian gurus, specifically Sai Baba. Ash is cheap and easily produced, but it is also a very sacred material in the Hindu cosmology.

    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sathya_Sai_Baba

    The ash is called “Vibuhti” for those who may be interested in this sort of thing. Click on this Youtube video link of the guru Sai Baba as he gets his hands dirty cranking it out:

    Now for those who think all this smoke and mirrors stuff is just a bunch of cheap parlor tricks, all I can say is you may be right. Or you may be wrong. However, we cannot discount the possibility that something “supernatural” is indeed really happening at Bethel. Of course, even if there are real miracles happening, as I’ve said before, that does not mean it is of God.

    For all the skeptics out there, let me just say that I knew a woman once who actually met Sai Baba at his ashram in India. The floppy haired guru was gracious enough to pull some “holy ash” out of thin air and sprinkle it into her hand right before her eyes. She wore a vial of the stuff around her neck as a token of the miraculous power of the swami. She was convinced it was sacred stuff.

    As for me, I’d rather have real gold.

  344. Omar says:

    Steve,

    I’ll tell you something, take it how you want. I have a friend who goes to this Healing Ministry, called a Healing Room. It’s christian, all about Jesus and using Jesus’ name to bring healing to people who really really need it. So I went once, not for prayer, but just to get to know the guys there….. so to try to make this story short, the leader told me they prayed for my friend and when they opened their eyes she had gold flakes all over her clothes.

    I asked my friend, she said it was true, but she didn’t want to tell anyone because she didn’t want to be prideful (haha). So I believe this stuff happens. With Bethel its on such a big, flashy scale that you want to doubt it. But this stuff happens, I believe.

    Another thing, I went to that Healing Room another time, and they prayed for me. I didn’t feel nothing. And the man there hit me in my forehead with his palm and I was startled and fell backwards. Lol, I don’t considered this a legitimate slaying in the Spirit. So when it was all said and done I felt normal, completely normal, and I thought “these guys are kinda weird”. Okay? But here’s the interesting part: When I left the building to walk to my car I felt soooo… the word I would use is “groggy”, I’ve never felt like that before. My mind was just dull, I felt like my thoughts had slowed down. Felt like I had molasses in my brains because my thinking was just really slow. And I felt super calm. I don’t do drugs so the best word I have for this feeling is “groggy”.

    So my point is that, God does stuff. I think the problem is that when we assess the world and what is possible, we forget one variable: the Holy Spirit. We say, people are like this, and the laws of nature are so, and there are consequences…. and we have a world view that is missing one powerful variable: a mobile Holy Spirit that does what it wants according to an intellectual plan, and enormous love for humanity.

  345. Craig says:

    Omar,

    M’Kayla here was formererly a part of the ‘healing rooms’. See her testimony:

    http://mkayla.wordpress.com/a-trip-in-charismania/

    Pastor Paul Gowdy was involved in the so-called “Toronto Blessing”; see his testimony:

    http://iftruthbeknown.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/the-toronto-deception/

  346. Omar says:

    Okay, but if you’re terrified by all the deception in the world, you’ll just stay in your room with your bible- because everyone is deceived and all the spirits are out to get you. Jesus called us to the offense, not the defense. We have armor, we have the word of God, Jesus said go out and do damage to enemy territory. The question is: does Jesus want to come back to a pure, novice-in-warfare church, or a bloody-stained church that’s victorious in battle. Neither is completely right, but a person has to decide what God wants to see when he returns.

  347. Omar says:

    Another thing, the scriptures say “You lack nothing as you await Christ’s return”. Therefore, I believe that I lack nothing. I’m not hiding from the enemy, terrified about being deceived because I may lose my salvation. I’m going out to the front line. Jesus gave a call to arms. The bible says “be anxious for nothing”. If you don’t have faith, everything is going to scare us. You can’t be planting these seeds of doubt in everyone’s mind. We’re called to fight and win. I’m not scared of Bill Johnson or Latter Rain, I read my bible and let the words and the Spirit teach me.

  348. Steve B. (omots) says:

    I’m not afraid either. And I will be visiting Bethel (again) in the not to distant future. Lord willing.

  349. Omar says:

    Steve,

    This may sound random, but I get the impression that God is happy about you. He likes you. There’s lots and lots of scriptures all over the bible saying “seek God”. God likes people that are out to find Him, its one of his favorite things. And He seems to be pleased with your decision to seek Him.

    Also, I want to suggest that maybe you should ask God a question and then patiently wait for an answer. I think many people ask God a question and then wait 30seconds, God is silent and they say “okay there’s no God”. But we need to be patient with God because He is patient with us. So I think you should ask him for whatever your heart is really desiring to be revealed to you, and wait an extended period, like a week or a month, or even a year. And you may even want to set a specific time frame, “God… I’m only human, so I can only stand to wait two weeks to see if [blank] is true about you. Show me what you have in store for me.”

    And God is pleased by faith, so believe what he has already shown you.

  350. IWTT says:

    Yep, we learn to wait upon the Lord… Did that because I was given a personal word from the Lord, never told anyone about it but my wife and waited. The word was a three part word and two have come to pass and the third is close at hand.

    You see most of us here are not afraid for we know whom we believe in. We know about the armor and that Jesus has defeated the enemy all ready. We keep our eyes on HIM and we learn about the wiles of the enemy from Gods word and we know how to do spiritual warfare, biblically.

    Tomorrow I want to ask a question with a following thought. Time for bed..

    Good night all

  351. Carolyn says:

    Steve: about the video. This is an excellent example of empty, meaningless talk. Why, I dare say, Spongebob has more substance than this silly message. Bill Johnson thinks that the offences we must bear are watching feathers come down around us and trying to explain gold dust clouds to potential converts? Come on! What??? How??? do people get saved from experiencing some feathers settling down around them? What a mockery of the gospel!!!

    It’s the offence of our sins that the Bible is concerned with…not feathers and gold dust:
    Isaiah 59:11-13 (New International Version)
    12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
    and our sins testify against us.
    Our offenses are ever with us,
    and we acknowledge our iniquities:
    13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD,
    turning our backs on our God,
    inciting revolt and oppression,
    uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

    and the offence of the cross is our hope for redemption for the offence of our sins:
    Galatians 5:10-12 (New International Version)
    10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offence of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

    Paul had some serious warnings for preachers who abolished the offence of the cross because of a wrong emphasis:
    Galatians 1:8
    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

    The cross is the central message of God’s grace and Satan has this counterfeit “offence” that he portrays as something important. This man is deceived and deceiving others…

    Omar: I no longer have an appetite for heresy. On the other hand, I am excited about what the Lord is doing…, but this is not it. This is deception. You are wasting your time trying to persuade me that Bethel has some good things happening. Even if an angel with feathers flying in all directions, preaches any other gospel than the one you have accepted…let him be accursed!

    Emotional lifts are not the thing. Faith is the thing. Facts, faith and feelings….in that order. We’ll get our emotional lifts if we keep it in God’s order. Otherwise, we get the cart pulling the horse again.

  352. IWTT says:

    Yes, I got up this morning, was going to ask a question about the healing Rooms, knowing what the answer would be, and then bring some scripture to the front to make a point. BUT…

    I was syncing my iPad this morning and it dawned on me that what these people do is nothing more than another form or POWER EVANGELISM. I suppose this would be the steps..

    1) A non-believer would visit Bethel
    2) Bethel would have a “worship” service
    3) emotionalism is attained
    4) “supernatural” manifestations” would occur (feathers, gold dust, glory cloud, gold teeth)
    5) non-believer would get caught up in the “experience”
    6) Bethel will attribute the “experience” to the “manifest presence” of God
    7) Non-believer would decide this is “real” based off of the “experience”

    Oh look, I will be “prophetic” here. The decision to “believe” falls on gods perfect number 7. This is “supernatural” it must be the holy spirit that has done this. (yes I am being suficious here)

    8) new convert (hasn’t heard the gospel) gets involves and goes to
    a) Supernatural School of Ministry – must learn how to be “supernatural” as well so that power evangelism will occure through them as well
    b) Sozo will be attended so that they can regress to their past and re-interpret the “hurts” so as to be healed of these hurts.
    c) Why not throw a “Cleansing Stream Ministry” (a deleverence ministry) in there so that we can learn to blame satan for all of our addictions and sins. That way we won’t have to take responsibility for our own “sinful heart”.

    9) Go to more Bethel services so continue to “experience” the “supernatural” and continue the cycle.

    I have been there, I have participated in this stuff, I rarely hear the gospel in these types of service.

    Boy, I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I have a close relationship with my Lord, that He would see fit to save me from this stuff. I feel absolutely “free in Christ”, I enjoy being able to pray with others, fellowship and study the scriptures that are powerful even unto salvation, meditate on His word, and know without a shadow of a doubt whom my identity is in. I have been made new in Christ, my mind is being transformed into the mind of Christ on a daily bases, I see Gods wonders and miracles all around me everyday and the Holy Spirit is alive and well guiding me and directing my paths. HE trueling has started a good work in me and HE will bring it to completion one day. I am an ambassador of another Kingdom that Christ reigns over. My faith is in Him and He will providentially fulfill His purpose in me as I trust in him each day.

    Halleluia

  353. Carolyn says:

    Good comments IWTT. I think you have the steps down in perfect order.

    This morning I read this commentary off DITC by Larry DeBruyn:

    http://guardinghisflock.com/2012/09/06/getting-high-on-god/

    which fits in well with what we are talking about in that: the fleshly nature of souls, have in the fleshly nature that is their soul, become duped on dopamine![38]

    How can we make sure our spiritual experiences are genuine and not some cultic/occultic counterfeit that has transcended our real needs only to fulfill some mystical entrancement of our soul?

    Although we should have a healthy fear of being duped by dopamine and/or mystical ministry, what we should fear most is the dishonesty and darkness of our own souls and the end that awaits us if we neglect so great a salvation. The Word/Logs promises to identify and cleanse us from our sins if we will but confess them as they are exposed to us by the Holy Spirit. That is true freedom and true transcendence!

  354. IWTT says:

    Carolyn,

    I read that as well. It was linked by Beyond Grace site. How can we make sure our spiritual experiences are genuine and not some cultic/occultic counterfeit that has transcended our real needs only to fulfill some mystical entrancement of our soul?

    Isn’t this really the 64 million dollar question? I mean , I can certainly answer some of this but when you have a bunch of people who are looking for a “tangable experience” it’s hard to get them to get both feet on the ground and really think about what they are doing. And if there has been no real discipleship going on before their “experince”, (assuming they are believers at the time they experience this stuff) then how can they know the truth? What they experience IS the truth to them. It’s hard to show that there is something amiss.

    I took post graduate bible courses in my earlier walk and I still fell in the trap. I was taught from a man that had a real handle on the scriptures yet, when I started having “experiences” they over rode my sense of right regarding the truth of scripture. Basically it became about ME. PRIDE! i want to be just like Jesus and do the things Jesus did without the boundries God established in His manual. In fact there is even a book out there titled, “Doing What Jesus Did” and there is a several week class that goes with this where you “practice” the things that He did, based on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    This, of course, then eludes to the thought that Jesus couldn’t do anything until He was Baptised in the Holy Spirit when he was baptized by John….NOT. These are the very things that Craig has been addressing in his articles regarding Jesus divinity.

  355. Craig says:

    BTW, that article of DeBruyn’s was picked up by Herescope (they pick up most of them).

  356. Carolyn says:

    Well, IWTT, this is what I mean by the darkness of our soul. We really don’t know how dark until the Word/Logos penetrates it and shines the light on our motives and character, etc.

    I can look around and I’m sure you can also and see a hundred different cultures, at a glance, that people I know are entangled in. And here’s just a small sample of a host of them….be it the “weed” culture, the beer and hockey culture, the yuppie culture, the homeschooling culture, the philanthropic culture, the Mennonite culture, the baby boomer culture, the child centred culture, the technology culture, the bar culture, the mega church culture….and since I was just visiting a fairly newly hatched mega church in Washington, this article by LD was of particular interest to me.

    It just seems that in the natural, we cannot escape the hunt for that perfect drug that dumps dopamine into our brain or some other hormone like oxytocin that gives us the momentary high and sends us seeking for the next one. I remember as a charismatic, we were always hunting for that next experiential meeting or retreat or conference or group where we could feel like part of the Christian “culture”.

    Here’s a thought. The 64 mill answer…when it becomes just the individual and God…when the group fades, the need to belong to something bigger than yourself dies, the dialectic is rejected and/or the group or “culture” mentality is denied…. in favour of a one on one relationship with the Bible, the Word of God/Logos and ourself…we become born again. This is commitment. This is spiritual living. And out of that we begin to manifest His life.

    It’s never about the group again…it’s never about entertaining our flesh or selfish ambition or supernatural encounters. It’s about faith, obedience, discipleship and trust and Truth. It puts the individual on a pathway of holiness and submission…something the flesh is unable to do no matter how hard it tries apart from grace and fellowship in the Spirit.

    And I agree…this is why we are interested in what Craig is bringing to light with the teaching on Christology. We have a clarity of eyesight (our eye is single). We have an ear that is open to the divine purpose and the importance of who Christ is and why He came. We sense our need and we are seekers of Truth. J’ai raison, n’est-ce pas?

  357. Carolyn says:

    IWTT: Pardon my French….My last question was, “am I right?” (about the 64 mill answer).

    I was discussing this question of genuine faith with someone else about a week ago: When was I saved: when I grew up in the church? when my brain connected with my reasoning power at 6 or 7? when I made a decision for Christ as a child? when I went to the altar for the sixteenth time to get saved? in an emotional decision at camp? how about a new commitment to Christianity at a retreat? or an emotional excitement in Bible study? experiencing a mystical “knowing”? convicted by a dream? moved by an inspirational book? prophesied over?

    I think, none of the above. I believe it was when I turned from the world, took up my cross and followed Christ…when I turned off the TV and made the decision to listen to The Word alone. Certainly, there were steps forward and steps backward from that moment…but I believe that was my real born again experience. The rest was playing church, taking part in a Christian culture and having a form of religion.

    You said: “What they experience IS the truth to them. It’s hard to show that there is something amiss.”

    Precisely…and isn’t this their own version of the truth according to their religious belief? I don’t think it’s possible to show anyone that their truth is amiss, unless they have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. He is the only one that can “change their reality”.
    Hebrews 4:12 (ASV)
    12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    You also said: “What Jesus Did” and there is a several week class that goes with this where you “practice” the things that He did, based on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    This, of course, then eludes to the thought that Jesus couldn’t do anything until He was Baptised in the Holy Spirit when he was baptized by John…”

    The confusion about Christ’s divinity that Craig has been addressing…also makes me think that people who are trying to understand the Word/God with their minds (religion) are blinded by their own agendas or they’ve been lied to be an angel of Light. I think it’s hard to miss the virgin birth/divine incarnation/sinless lamb of God/perfect sacrifice in the Scriptures. That would be the first thing that is illuminated by the Holy Spirit for a complete understanding of how our sins can be forgiven. I know it was for me. I didn’t need Craig to tell me that Christ was God come in the flesh…although he has expanded on it and broadened my perspective due to his research and discussion on the subject.

    Which brings me to the part of the confusing teaching about “practicing” the gifts and “developing” the power of the Spirit supposedly at our disposal “the same as Jesus”… this has indeed become the devil’s playground for opportunists and false teachers. I won’t even attempt to start on that one tonight.

  358. IWTT says:

    1st, thank you… this is great… Here’s a thought. The 64 mill answer…when it becomes just the individual and God…when the group fades, the need to belong to something bigger than yourself dies, the dialectic is rejected and/or the group or “culture” mentality is denied…. in favour of a one on one relationship with the Bible, the Word of God/Logos and ourself…we become born again. This is commitment. This is spiritual living. And out of that we begin to manifest His life. AMEN!!!

    The confusion about Christ’s divinity that Craig has been addressing…also makes me think that people who are trying to understand the Word/God with their minds (religion) are blinded by their own agendas or they’ve been lied to be an angel of Light.

    And isn’t this really the issue, from the beginning of time, the lie (in the Garden) that we can be just like God? There truely isn’t anything new under the sun. The angel of light has been spreading this lie since the first day of disobedience.

    Yes, yes and yes!!

  359. Craig says:

    In the video Steve B. supplied with Johnson’s explanation of the ‘glory cloud’ and other ‘signs that make you wonder’, Johnson states (@ around 11:35) “He [God] adds an offensive element” in each new ‘move of God’. Johnson mentions Toronto specifically meaning the so-called ‘Toronto Blessing’ (which Pastor Paul Gowdy calls a ‘mixed curse’ in the link supplied earlier). Bill Johnson goes on to state (11:50), “But, I know this: If we remain presence-centered it won’t bother us.” It’s always about ‘His presence’, according to Johnson.

    As I’ve mentioned in the “New Age Christ?” article and elsewhere on this blog, this looks like the Eastern Transcendental Meditation (TM) in which the goal is to unite oneself with the divine. In Brahmanism (a subset of Hinduism), to chant “Om” over and over is to invoke the powers of their god known as Brahma or Brahman. Similar practices are involved in ‘contemplative prayer’ – the repetition of words or phrases. Most are unaware that the term yoga literally means “union” in Sanskrit. This looks to be the same goal within hyper-charismaticism – a union with the divine.

    Here’s my Webster’s definition for yoga: “in Hindu philosophy, a practice involving intense and complete concentration on something, especially the deity, in order to establish identity of consciousness with the object of concentration: it is a mystic and ascetic practice usually involving the discipline of prescribed postures, controlled breathing, etc.”

    It seems hyper-charismaticism has readapted this practice, no?

  360. Carolyn says:

    As I see it Craig, this is just one more emotional appeal to something that isn’t Christian. What is the identity of “the Presence”? …which I think is the point you are making… Is it the same New Age Christ Presence that is leading literally millions astray? Although dressed up in Christian language, (and not even much of that), the invitation is to accept the stigma or offence of (false) signs, to be the sign and to unite oneself with The Presence. Pretty vague…pretty creepy….

    Yes, you have it right. The Christ of the apostate, hyper-charismatic churches is more and more matching the identity of the New World Order Christ, the Catholic mystical Christ, the gods of other religions and the New Age Christ where a union with the divine is the goal.

    Matthew 22:12-14
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

    What are the wedding garments? What is Christ’s point about many called, but few chosen? What are we called to…contemplative connections? following some pied piper? uniting with a divine force? responding to an emotional plea?

    No, we are called to come to the true Light, who is Christ Jesus, to the One who can clothe us with his righteousness…it has nothing to do with our performance…we are called to follow the risen Christ the One who has overcome, the One who is The Narrow Way.

    I believe many are being called, as I was being called…for years, before responding by coming….

    I think this is Paul’s point in testing ourselves to see if we are in the faith…which Christ are we following?

    2 Corinthians 13:4-6
    New International Version (NIV)
    4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
    5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

    Are we following Bill Johnson’s chameleon Christ or are we following the Christ of the Cross?

  361. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Omar,

    Bill Johnson may be many things, but a man of God he is not.

    My intention in posting the videos of Johnson and Sai Baba side by side was to show the similarities between the two men. Even more importantly is the similarities in the mindset of THEIR DEVOTEES! If you knew anything about the tools of deception, you would know that Sai Baba’s devotees said exactly the same things about him as Bethel’s devotees say about Johnson. The ministries have multiple parallels, too many to describe here. Do your own research.

    It is the devotees of both men who are being deceived and in need of the truth and light of Jesus Christ. Those of us who know the truth of Christ crucified need not fear these deceivers but should do everything in our power to awaken others to the danger such vain philosophies pose, and try to pluck those who can be plucked out of the fire.

    If there is one lost sheep wandering around at Bethel, I don’t mind leaving the comfort of my own sheepfold to go looking. Omar, maybe you are that one? I’d love to chat with you over a cup of coffee when I visit Redding. But I don’t drink kool-aid.

  362. Craig says:

    But I don’t drink kool-aid. LOL!

  363. Omar says:

    I’m going to step away from this site, you guys seem hard hearted and determined to be faith-drainers and joy-drainers. Some of you know way more about mysticism and psychic-mumbojumbo than you should. The bible says “be innocent towards evil”, you shouldn’t know that stuff. You should test things in your Spirit, not do thorough research on the magic arts. Moreover, I have used lots of scripture in conversing with you guys, and you guys have used few, or the same verses repeatedly. You’re hard hearts will be a barrier between you and God. Luckily, Christ came to remove the “middle wall of partition”. Some of you know more about Doctrine and mysticism/occult, than the actual words of the Bible.

    Phillipians 1:15-18:
    15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

    I would like to somehow soften your stony hearts in some way, but this is probably not possible for me. The scriptures say (above) to rejoice when someone comes to Christ, even though its not in the most favorable circumstances. You guys see young people being saved, jumping for Joy, screaming the name of Jesus… and you’re full of resentment, and say criticism. I want to submit that this isn’t a Christlike mind frame. Jesus said “let them come.” If someone is happy about Jesus, don’t steal their joy, by vocalizing your critical spirit. If you do, you will surely answer for it to God.

    The bible says ‘You can’t say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit’ and the bible says ‘Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus was raised and you will be saved’. The bible makes salvation easy. God isn’t looking for super-elite, doctrine mastered, saints. He’s looking for joyful, “laid down lovers” (i.e. obedient, submitted seekers). God made Salvation super easy, you guys make it 10times harder.

    One can not make a ministry from criticizing the ministries of others. My faith has actually been decreased since coming here. I used to think God wanted to do more, now it seems like His will is to do less.

    You guys have no idea what God is like. Or what God wants to do. You say “God does what he wants to do.” But what does God want? The bible makes it clear. God’s will never has to be an open question. His timing is a question, but his will is clear. The blind man said “if its your will, you’ll heal me.” And Jesus basically said “Of course its my will, be whole.”

  364. Craig says:

    Omar,

    As becoming increasingly evident, you miss the points. Is Johnson really preaching the Gospel? As to your “be innocent towards evil“, let’s look at the following for proper context:

    14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. [Matt 10:14-16, NIV 1984]

    Jesus’ point about Sodom and Gomorrah is that they did not have the benefit of hearing the Messiah, whereas those who are preached to in the NT era have this opportunity. Therefore, their guilt is greater.

    You seem to selectively forget the myriad Scriptures which warn about false prophets/teachers. If you really think God is under some obligation to protect you from false teachers and their deceptive practices, you are severely mistaken. His warnings are all over the NT, yet he will not violate your own free will. If you wish to follow false teachers/prophets, it’s your prerogative.

    Paul was not unaware of the pagan religions of his day, but he used it to his advantange to evangelize (cf. Acts 17:16-34).

    You wrote, “The bible says ‘You can’t say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit’ and the bible says ‘Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus was raised and you will be saved’.

    I’ve already covered that; apparently you only read or intake what you prefer. But, for the sake of other readers, I’ll post it again. This is from the Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ, part II article:

    However, Johnson does proclaim Christ’s eternal deity in most of these statements, doesn’t he? As regards this ‘affirmation’ issue, this proclamation of Christ, we must look at some Scripture such as 1st Corinthians 12:3, “…and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit”. Gordon Fee, in his commentary on 1st Corinthians, does not see this as a “means of ‘testing the spirits’…” because “…it would seem possible for anyone to say these words at will.77

    The presence of the Spirit in power and gifts makes it easy for God’s people to think of the power and gifts as the real evidence of the Spirit’s presence. Not so for Paul. The ultimate criterion of the Spirit’s activity is the exaltation of Jesus as Lord. Whatever takes away from that, even if they be legitimate expressions of the Spirit, begins to move away from Christ to a more pagan fascination with spiritual activity as an end in itself.78

    As to the 2nd part of your comment, one must state these words with real conviction, not lip service. As we don’t know who’s being sincere and who is not, our gauge is how closely they follow truth. Continuing in the ‘Johnson: New Age Christ’ article:

    Following is Craig Blomberg expounding on Matthew 7:15-23:

    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 spokespersons 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.

    Verses 21-22 enumerate some of the ways in which individuals can masquerade as Christians. They may verbally affirm that Jesus is their Master, perhaps with great joy and enthusiasm…some [may] work various kinds of miracles…We are reminded that signs and wonders can come from other sources other than God…It is worth emphasizing, however, that one can never know with absolute certainty the spiritual state of any other individual.”79

    Both scholars cited have PhDs and are well-respected, with Fee being particularly sympathetic to charismatic issues.

    If you wish to believe that God wants all to be healed, then continue in your delusion despite the clear facts. Facts are: even the 1st century Apostles (the REAL ones) got sick and died; Stephen was not resurrected. The only two indivuals who actually escaped death (that Scripture makes clear) are Enoch and Elijah; all others have died. Yet, of course, there WILL be a resurrection of both the dead and the living. Some will go on to eternal life while the others will go on to eternal damnation.

    God can still heal, as I state at the beginning of this article, but it is by His divine sovereignty.

  365. Craig says:

    Omar,

    You wrote, “One can not make a ministry from criticizing the ministries of others

    Oh, I get it. But, in your own hypocrisy, you are allowed to criticize the ministry of others by selectively using Scripture and even taking some of those out of context. Look, I’ve had to delete your “Pharisee” comments of which you’ve been forewarned. Don’t you understand that the Pharisees primary problem was their hypocrisy and adding to Scripture (taking out of context) via their oral tradition?

    Unless and until you have a change of heart, don’t bother coming back. And, if you do come back, rest assured I’ll scrutinize every jot and tittle deleting anything remotely in violation of the parameters set forth in the Before You Comment tab.

    Some of the folks commenting on here in response to you were formerly part of this dangerous movement and wish to warn others. I, myself, was nearly led that way; but, I decided to do some checking first. I’m thankful I did. You can heed the warnings or go your way. Your choice.

  366. IWTT says:

    Phillipians 1:15-18:
    specifically verse 17 “…The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.”

    Interesting, at least they preached Christ! I think what I question is whether or not Bethel REALLY preaches the Christ of scripture, or is 90% of the goings on based on poor worship services based mostly on song worship using songs that are meant to appeal to emotionalism with lots and lots of repetition and expecting that “manifestation” of the “presence” to be the evangelistic power. Is this really Christ crucified? I’ve been there and done that.

    You guys see young people being saved, jumping for Joy, screaming the name of Jesus… and you’re full of resentment, and say criticism. I want to submit that this isn’t a Christlike mind frame. Jesus said “let them come.”

    And again, not getting the point. NO ONE here has made the accusation that these young people aren’t saved! We cannot make that judgement call. No one can make that determination, because in the end, only God knows. Not even you OMAR can make that call. You are attacking us in the only way you know, by ad homiem, accusing us of attacking their salvation. Is that perhaps because in reality, you cannot defend Bethel and what they “preach” or “do not preach” as the gospel? Is it because you do not want to admit that just possibly you are wrong? I again think God is trying to save you out of the mire and you are not listening. You are “caught up” into the “signs and wonders” movement and it’s just too much fun.

    We have not excluded that God CAN and DOES perform miracles today. We believe that scripture gives us the model of how that actually works and it ain’t the hyper-charismatic way.

    We have used much scripture as you have done with us. So do not make that ad-homiem attack as well. I think the Holy Spirit has been speaking to your heart about this, and just like those of us who have had the same “talk” with God about this, you are having a hard time accepting the truth as I did. But God shall prevail, if you will but allow His truth, through proper textual reading of His word via the speaker of truth, the Holy Spirit, teaches you.

    Side note, I have a friend who is going to a Bethel affilated church in my home town. I saw him at Wal-Mart one day and he admitted to me that he attended and graduated from the Bethels Supernatural School of Ministry (whatever its called) and as we are standing there a lady walked by obviously in physical ailment. He says to me under his breath, “Ladt, get your %$# over here so I can heal you!” Then he laughed. Hmm is this what they teach! 1) the disrespect and 2) the I in healing? I am not impressed…

  367. Charlotte says:

    To Omar!

    I just read your post and my heart were crying together with you. I used to be so sad when people (in my ears) were talking negative of what I loved. Even if I had questions, I wouldn’t ask them because I was so afraid to quence the spirit. I only wanted to go to the prayer room and cry to God for more of Him, more of this and more of that – and I still think that my heart were 100% after His heart! I put all the questions or prophesies that I didn’t understand up on the shelf and stretched my hands out for more. I wanted and I belived in the end that I could take this joy and atmosphere out in the streets and blind eyes would be open because my faith in Him was so strong.

    Then when, after being in mission for a while, I saw that I had put faith into my own faith in Him…and not put God where He belong – as the Souvereighn God – I needed to check why I believed what I believed. And to discover that alot of my influenses or experiences were half gospel, half Gnostisism, half occultism, little of Jesus suffering, alot of His glory…well my heart were crying….Just like your heart were crying in that post.

    I know that alot of what I have learned through the years is good, and I do not call everything I have experiensed occult…rather minor. But what this guys that search the scripture do is helping me to open my eyes for what the whole bible teach. You know our Heavebly Father and allmighty God have his eyes searching over the earth to fully support those whose heart are wholy after Him…(free translation from The Cronicles), so do not be afraid to search for the truth, not only for what sounds nice in our ears, like I used to think was only the liberal theology, but it is really nice to hear a great prophesy in our ears isn’t it :) why was I so blind for the all the false preaching. A burning heart and joyfull shouts is not an evidense of Gods presence…but it’s not nesesary wrong either – but we should not call it the glory of God maybe, and put it on film? That is what the world is searching for isn’t it?

    Well, I just wanted to say, that I totally recognise your heart and cry! You want the truth and you will find the truth! Just an observation: He will turn the fathers heart to the sons, and the sons heart to the father! – let us not be sons that does not turn our hearts to the fathers, as far as I have read Craigs stuff, He really conserns about where the sons are going…I would listen. I have done it and, I have fallen in love with the Word again!

    God bless you Omar, hope you find peace in the midst of this storm!
    – love from Europe

  368. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Omar,

    There is no shame in comparing Bill Johnson’s version of “Christ” with the Christ of scripture, nor in comparing what is going on at Bethel Church directly with paganism and the occult. The shame is all on those who propagate a culture of deceit, and on all those who turn a blind eye to what is really going on. We are called to exercise discernment, and while not practicing them ourselves, we should not be ignorant of the tactics of our adversary, the devil.

    I’ve seen shamanism up close and personal, so when I see it displayed under the banner of “Christ”, you bet I will speak up and not be silenced. I am also a very rational thinker who prays to God that what I share with others will not be a hindrance, but instead, glorify God and edify my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    So read on, or not, it’s up to you.

    All the evidence seems to indicate that the “gold” dust which forms “glory clouds” at Bethel Church is a common mineral know as mica. Powdered mica glitters like gold and is light enough to rise upwards on thermal air currents.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mica

    In a quick internet search of mica’s occult/ceremonial uses I learned that powdered mica is still used during Hindu rituals in northern India. As a student of archaeology, geology, natural resources management, history and religion, I was intrigued to learn that there are layers of powdered mica a foot deep (30 centimeters) on the floor of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_the_Sun#Recovered_artifacts

    http://archaeology.asu.edu/teo/intro/intrteo.htm

    It is relevant to note that Teotihuacan was the center of an ancient religion that worshiped the Plumed Serpent, a beautifully arrayed, very imposing, and extremely violent deity, whom the Aztecs referred to as Quetzalcoatl, but whose roots go back centuries earlier.

    It should also be noted that many people connected to the New Age movement and paganism today are awaiting the return of Quetzalcoatl’s “divine” presence. Mormon’s have even tried to equate the serpent deity Quetzalcoatl with Jesus Christ.

    Former LDS Church President John Taylor wrote:

    “Some Mormons believe that Quetzalcoatl, who has been described as a white, bearded god who came from the sky and promised to return, was actually Jesus Christ. According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus visited the American natives after his resurrection.[14]

    “The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source.” [15]

    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl

    So, let’s recap what we know: Worshipers at Bethel Church are being bathed in a common mineral that is/was used by pagan cultures for centuries to indicate a divine “presence”. This “divine” presence became so strong that the floor of an ancient pyramid erected by followers of a Serpent worshipping religion is covered with the stuff. Bill Johnson claims that this “glory cloud” is a manifestation of the “presence”. Anybody really think this cheap confetti “glory cloud” is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit? Anybody really think that Jesus Christ has chosen to return to earth in powdered mica form?

    C’mon Omar, Bethel’s manifestations are either an elaborate hoax perpetrated on the unwitting, or real evidence of some ancient supernatural, and deceptively evil “presence”.

    Test the spirits, or suffer the consequences.

  369. Steve B. (omots) says:

  370. Carolyn says:

    Steve…thanks for posting this video. It reminds me of what IWTT said…”nothing new under the sun”….first comes the Quetzalcoatl movement, then comes the “When Heaven Invades Earth” movement, and then comes Quetzalcoatl again… with the same gold dust. As I was watching the video, I thought about the words of John…
    3 John 1:3
    It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.

    How do you measure faithfulness to the truth with respect to being caught up in this sort of awe and ecstasy for a bit of gold dust? This is not the gold of the Scriptures, which speaks about the refinement of our faith and character that is so important to the Jesus Christ we serve. What paltry bits of strange fire…being offered on this altar of worship….

    We must be so near to the time of being caught up to meet the Lord in the air. With scorners of the “promise of his coming” and people all around us being caught up into temporal imaginings of the flesh…it just may be that this is the time Jesus referred to (Luke 12)
    42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?… 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

    Could the Lord be speaking of these very elitist leaders who have taken on drunken spirits in the midst of the Christian community and are making fun of other Christian leaders who will not take part in their idolatrous dance?

    I’ve heard it suggested by a few lately, that Rosh Hashannah, the Feast of Trumpets, where the phrase that Jesus used in his commentary on the signs of the end of the age…“no one knows the day or the hour” holds true for this particular feast because of the elusive timing of the appearance of the New Moon. Is there a connection between this feast and the Lord’s reference to his coming?…I am aware that we are not Israel but the promises are not about Israel only, but about Christ…remember the Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled by the Promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The next event which is promised appears to be the Second Coming with the Resurrection of the Church Age just prior to that event.

    It’s all very interesting…even if it is not Rosh Hashannah and not 2012, His coming is soon. And even though we’ve been saying it for years…the Word does not lie.

    Watch and be ready.

  371. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Craig has laid out the scriptural and doctrinal errors, as have others, but such words are falling on deaf ears precisely because those who are being deceived are caught up with, consumed, blinded, by the signs and wonders. Or, if I may paraphrase what Carolyn wrote, these folks appear willing to exchange the truth of the gospel “for a bit of gold dust.”

    Searching “gold dust manifestation” on Youtube returns around 357 video results. Searching “gold dust manifestation Bethel” returns 39 results.

    This young man provides a typical testimonial:

    We don’t need to see very many of these video “testimonials” before we start noticing several common threads. It is significant to note that the majority of these manifestations reported to be occurring at Bethel take place very late at night, usually around midnight, when only the most “faithful” (or most impressionable) remain in the audience.

    During one of the Bethel videos, singer Jeremy Riddle butchers the Lord’s prayer in his song, “Our Father” by repeating incessantly:

    “Let heaven come to earth. As it is in Heaven, let Heaven come.” .

    Riddle leaves out the part that asks the Lord to, “forgive us our trespasses…..lead us not into temptation…and deliver us from evil”. Riddle is not praising the one true God who has the power and authority to forgive sin, but asking one that refuses to acknowledge sin to manifest it’s presence. And as the music builds to a thunderous crescendo, the “glory cloud” appears. Right on cue.

  372. Carolyn says:

    On my way home last evening I had the radio tuned to a Christian station. I was half listening to one upbeat song until the words “he’s in me like a roaring lion” penetrated my consciousness…wait a minute…who is a roaring lion? not Christ. The Bible says…Satan roams about as a roaring lion….I tell you…we need to stay awake to what we are listening to…

    Watching this latest testimonial from Bethel, the seduction of these spirits is remarkable. Our only defence is the Word of God from the mouths of the tried and tested OT prophets and the mouths of the apostles who walked with Jesus. My heart is heavy for those who are in the midst of and have loved ones in the midst of this deception.

    2 Peter 2:19
    They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

    Here’s a verse which stood out to me this morning and I have copied it in three different versions. It reminds me of the idolatry that God hates. A little bit of kundalini? A little bit of false prophecy? Songs that glorify lying spirits and doctrines of demons? God doesn’t mind, does he? Yes…he does mind. It does matter to him.

    Hosea 9:10 (DRA)
    10 I found Israel like grapes in the desert, I saw their fathers like the firstfruits of the fig tree in the top thereof: but they went in to Beelphegor, and alienated themselves to that confusion, and became abominable, as those things were, which they loved.

    Hosea 9:10 (ERV)
    Israel Is Ruined by Its Worship of Idols
    10 “At the time I, the Lord, found Israel, they were like fresh grapes in the desert. They were like the first figs on a fig tree at the beginning of the season. But when they came to Baal Peor, they changed. So I had to cut them off like rotten fruit. They became like the terrible things that they loved.

    Hosea 9:10 (ESV)
    10 Like grapes in the wilderness,
    I found Israel.
    Like the first fruit on the fig tree
    in its first season,
    I saw your fathers.
    But they came to Baal-peor
    and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
    and became detestable like the thing they loved.

    Perhaps this is a word for someone today who is thinking that the Lord doesn’t mind mixture. They are thinking that not everything is perfect with Bethel or with the Fire Tunnels or the Deliverance Ministries, etc. but God is still among them. According to his Word…he is not. They are called to come out of the midst and be separate. Now is the time to repent of this delusion and come out of it.

    2 Corinthians 6:16-18
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
    “I will dwell in them and walk among them;
    And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
    17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
    “And do not touch what is unclean;
    And I will welcome you.
    18 “And I will be a father to you,
    And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
    Says the Lord Almighty.

  373. Craig says:

    Here’s a sad commentary from David Alan Black, NT Greek scholar, on our want of perfection from a pastor:

    Within the kaleidoscope of my youthful memories in Hawaii is the image of a disabled pastor. His stroke had left him limping and speaking with a slur. In the place of what was once freshness and vigor was weakness and care. I cannot remember his name but I will never forget the love and compassion he showed a young man groping his way through middle school.

    The church fired him because of his slurred speech. I will never forget that. It broke my innocent heart.

    Had Becky’s [Black's wife] stroke produced permanent paralysis, would people have sidelined her? God would not have. He delights to display His greatest power in the midst of our human frailty. My pastor was doing just that when he was let go. Here he was, the perfect example of power-in-weakness, and the church sidelined him.

    How was it that I could understand every word he said? Did I listen harder than others? Or did I love him more?

    Honestly, sometimes I wish I could just throw my childhood kaleidoscope away.

    Yes, in our weakness we/He is strong.

    Why would this church fire a pastor who was being used of God?

  374. Nathan says:

    Craig,

    I read this entire discussion (as well as other articles on Bethel / Bill Johnson) and found it fascinating. You certainly know how to make your points. I find it distressing that so few choose to respond to your questions and instead entrench around a few basic talking points that skirt the issue entirely.

    As a person struggling to find a clear path forward (out of a hyper-charismatic church background) and towards something founded in truth, I found the discussion very rewarding.

    Kind Regards,

    Nathan

  375. Craig says:

    Nathan,

    I think that those who skirt the issue may well be suffering from cognitive dissonance, which I’ve discussed in two separate articles. If one is entrenched in this sort of teaching, one may likely resort to one of the conclusions below:

    This is not unlike the way in which cultists work; i.e., making a series of orthodox statements and then concluding with an unorthodox sentence. The mind is prepared for a logical, orthodox conclusion so that when what seems to be an illogical or unorthodox conclusion is reached instead, the hearer/reader may reject it assuming he just did not hear or read it correctly or some other such reason. This is known as cognitive dissonance, the uncomfortable feeling in holding two conflicting views at once, which results in some sort of action to alleviate this feeling in this case, which may be either by 1) rejecting the negative thought that the conclusion is unorthodox or illogical while mentally inserting one’s own orthodox or logical conclusion instead; or, 2) just dismissing the conclusion as a misunderstanding on the reader/hearer’s part; or, 3) assuming the speaker simply misspoke.

    By this I mean, they ‘hear’ Bill Johnson and choose to fill in what they wish, while they do not ‘hear’ me. It’s much less painful emotionally. No one likes to admit they’re wrong. This is especially true in matters of love and faith. One must make a substantial commitment in either case, therefore, it’s much easier emotionally to look past any ‘faults’. And, if one has an inclination that the other is ‘unfaithful’, one may concoct all sorts of excuses rather than face the truth. The way I see it, the ‘betrayal’ of false teachers/teachings is very much like the betrayal of a spouse. I believe that fits the Biblical metaphor (and metaphor only!) of Jehovah and His bride Israel / Jesus Christ and His bride the Church. [Notice "bride" is NOT capitalized!]

  376. desean says:

    Excellent assessment. I have seen this so many times. Logic is useless against emotions. It really does take the Holy Spirit to change the heart/mind, to open blind eyes, unstop ears. desean

  377. Arrie says:

    I wanted to go to bed early, but my, my, it’s half past midnight now and I too, like Nathan, red all the comments. I too, found them fascinating to read. Deep and respectful. One thing struck me on a personal level: “not ev’ryone who calls me Lord Lord etc.”. I now realize that I always took that very superficial. Now I see that it says: LORD. What does that mean in my life?
    Thanks for the thought provoking discussion. Loved it.
    Arrie,
    The Netherlands.

  378. Craig says:

    For anyone who is unsure of the validity of miracles being done outside of Christendom, here’s a selection from Essek W. Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus [1927, West Coast Publishing, Los Angeles, CA, pp 110-111] (- yes I have the book, and I was looking specifically for something else when I found this):

    We cannot ignore the amazing growth of Christian Science, Unity, New Thought, and Spiritism.

    The people who are flocking to them are not the ignorant masses, but the most cultured and wealthy of the land, and their strongest appeal is the supernatural element of their so-called religions – the testimonies of healings by their followers are their strongest asset.

    We cannot close our eyes to the fact that in many of our cities on the Pacific Coast, Mrs. Eddy [Mary Baker Eddy, founder of CS] has a stronger following today and a larger attendance at her churches than have the old line denominations; and the largest percentage of her followers have at one time been worshippers [sic] in the denominations – they have left them because they are receiving more help from Mrs. Eddy’s teaching than from the preachers.

    They will tell you how they were healed and how they were helped in the spiritual life by this strange cult.

    This is libel upon the modern Church – it is not only a libel but a challenge.

    This goes to one of D. R. McConnell’s theses in his book A Different Gospel in which he reports that Kenyon borrowed some of the methods of these metaphysical cults, while denigrating them at the same time.

    ADDED: LOL! Now, I just found this very quote verbatim in McConnell’s book! – though without the paragraph spacing. Kenyon had a penchant for one sentence paragraphs.

  379. John says:

    If you listened to Bill Johnson and his teaching, you will clearly hear him say that he can not heal anybody. This is more or less of a no-brainer.

    However, one of the mysteries of God is that we can co-labor with the Lord. The Lord does things through his people.

    In the instance you reference, Bill was working with the Holy Spirit. Based on his spontaneous exclamation, it sounds like Bill wondered if perhaps he did not cooperate with the Holy Spirit 100% correctly. Then the Lord took care of everything and made it perfect.

    How many preachers preach an anointed word of God? But how many preachers make some mistakes while preaching? Probably all of them.

    it sounds like Bill thought perhaps he made a mistake while trying to work with the Holy Spirit. However, although Bill thought perhaps he was wrong, he was mistaken. God took care of it all.

    Bill cooperates with God to bring healing to many people. This is how the Lord works. He wants to use all of His people in similar manners.

    Yet, only God can heal people. He is the “Lord Who Heals” (you). Bill clearly knows this and repeatedly teaches this.

    It seems unnecessary to nit-pick about such obvious things like this. Bill is not a heretic. Like Jesus, nobody could do what the Lord is doing through Bill if the Lord was not with him.

  380. Craig says:

    John,

    I’ve listened to plenty of his teachings and read a number of this books. But, I don’t think you are quite comprehending the point of this particular article. By Johnson’s own words he claims God COVERED HIM for his initial error in the first part of the man’s botched healing in which he screamed out in pain as the leg grow out 4 to 5 inches. Do you think the Holy Spirit would make a mistake like that? Does the Lord make mistakes through His people?

  381. Arwen4CJ says:

    John,

    Here are some thoughts I have on the subject.

    I understand someone saying that we don’t heal anyone, but rather we make ourselves available to be used by God. I don’t see anything wrong with that, in and of itself. However, if we are not careful, our pride can rise up and say, “I made myself available to God…because I did that, God worked in me. Or “Because I did that, I took part in the healing.” “Or I healed.” The problem is that God can be thought of as a force that we can tap into or use.

    What you said about Bill working with the Holy Spirit, possibly wondering whether or not he had cooperated enough with the Holy Spirit, etc……that sounds a whole lot like healings (and other miracles) are based on our works. Did we cooperate enough?

    This is a bit sticky for me. I do see some Scriptural evidence for holding to such a view, but at the same time it doesn’t quite seem right. I think people in modern charismatic and Pentecostal churches sometimes give bad theology about this topic, and it can hurt a lot of people. There’s a fine line between talking about people’s faith, and talking about faith as a force that people can tap into.

    There’s also the danger where people think that they can command things of God — assuming that it’s in God’s plan to heal every single person all of the time, so therefore, if we have enough faith, or if we cooperate enough, we can tell God what to do, or make it happen, or help make it happen.

    And then there is the factor of turning God’s work into entertainment, putting people on stages and having them heal in these settings. That isn’t very dignifying to the people who want to be healed, and the healings can be conducted in a very irreverent way.

    I firmly believe that God does do things through people. However, it is God who does all the work, not us. If He wants to use someone to heal another person, then it is God alone who does the healing. Not mostly God and a little us, and not half and half, etc.

    So if God is the One who is the healer, then how can there be botched healings?

    And stating, “like Jesus, nobody could do what the Lord is doing through Bill if the Lord was not with him,” is making Jesus and Bill on the same level.

    Jesus is and was God in the flesh, fully God and fully human. Bill Johnson is simply human. Also, the statement ignores the fact that not all miracles, signs, and wonders are of God. Pagans, wiccans, New Agers, those in Eastern religions, and others involved in the occult can perform miracles, including healings, too. Does that mean that God was with them?

    I know that you are using Scripture that people spoke about Jesus here — but that’s just it — it was about Jesus….and Jesus’ theology lined up with God’s character and identity, and so did His actions. His miracles pointed to who He was as the unique Messiah and God-man.

  382. Craig says:

    I’ve a feeling John was a hit ‘n’ run commenter. He did not subscribe to the comments on any of the posts on which he commented. I’d be surprised if he comes back. Given that, I’d save all comments unless and until he decides to actually engage here.

  383. Pingback: Iosif Țon și Bill Johnson – Răspuns pentru un prieten | B a r z i l a i – e n – D a n

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