Another Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters

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

-   Bill Johnson, 08/20/2011

Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, tweeted the above this past Saturday.  Pondering this, I could only construe it in a heretical manner.  But, maybe I’ve been doing this sort of thing too long.  Perhaps this can be interpreted in a Biblically orthodox way.  Perhaps Bethel members or attendees, other Bill Johnson fans or, even better, Bill Johnson himself could explain his meaning.

So, here’s the ‘challenge’ which is simpler in format than the first one.  You may choose from any one or more of the four options below in your response:

1)      In your own words explain what this means to you.

2)      Assuming this is based on Scripture, please identify which one or ones.  Potentials could include but, of course, are not limited to the following: Colossians 1:18 (1:16-22) / Revelation 19:7, 21:9 / I John 4:17 / Ephesians 4:11-13 / Ephesians 5:31-32 / II Corinthians 6:14 / Galatians 4:4-7 / Romans 8:14-25, 28-30 / I John 3:9.

3)      If not based on Scripture but instead based on a ‘prophetic word,’ please identify which one and the messenger from which it came.

4)      If by any other method not identified above or in combination of the others above, please explain.

Before posting a comment, please view the Before You Comment tab.

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Other related posts:

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

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

Bethel to Feature Bob Jones at Upcoming Prophetic Conference

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71 Responses to Another Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters

  1. Marc Metz says:

    This comment and tweet of Bill’s is from an Old Covenant Mindset teaching that the reason Jesus has not returned yet is because the Bride of Christ has not been perfected especially according to their dominant revival teaching “belief” of walking in supernatural healing power. Bill believes the Bride must walk in supernatural power[mostly healings] in order to be complete for Jesus to return.Chapter and verse, Please? The Body of Christ must not be smaller or be bigger than it’s head which is Jesus but be proportioned just right. I don’t think even Bill could tell us just what that looks like? Yo Bill “as He is so are we in this world!” He is spotless so are we! He is righteous so are we.He is power so are we!If he is healing so are we. So forth and so on. It is a wrong concept of the Cross and it’s full redemption and true revelation and who Jesus really is and His finished work at the Cross that messed up Johnson’s teachings.He is filled with mixture teachings, confusions of many false beliefs. Thus he is veiled being asleep and blinded due to being raised a 5th generation pentecostal.But hey the Lord’s grace and mercy is still healing the sick through gifts given to even those who are blinded. History proves this. The whole Pentecostal Movement is filled with mixture of performance religion and grace.They don’t need a revival they need an awakening to true grace and the full revelation of the Cross.They need a grace revolution.Johnson and all his “Revival Alliance cohorts” and “Global legacy Networks” need a grace awakening especially concerning the gift of righteousness and finished work of the Cross.So much of their teachings are leavened with so much “mixture of performance and grace” just as this tweet implies a works religion perfectionism unfulfilled as yet.Because jesus has not yet returned.The sleeping giant still sleeps unfortunately!

    Jesus return has everything to do with the times of the Gentiles being fulfilled not the perfection of the Church. “The heavens must receive Jesus until the restoration[ fulfilling] of all things[Acts 3:21 speaking of prophetic words of scripture. So where is the return of Christ prophecied in association with the perfection of the bride or Body of Christ?". So what does that look like Acts 3:21 and just what does that mean? According to Johnson it is mainly a restoration of the supernatural power of God [mostly healing] in and through the Church to the world and its self. Woah but wait! Bill how about the other 6 victories of the Cross? Why are you majoring 90 percent of the time on just one of the 7 redemptions mainly “healing power”? I bet Bill cannot tell us the full 7 victories of the Cross all supported by specific scripture? Acts 3:21 is a much deeper concept than Bill’s tweet of implied supernatural perfectionism of the Body of Christ inorder for Christ to return for her.What utter nonsense and blindness of who Jesus Christ is and who the Body of Christ really is.He is looking at the Body of Christ through the wrong side of the Cross, the Old Covenant side.Bill has on MIXTURE EYE LENSES! Bill this is not about revival this is all about Jesus Christ being unveiled.Awake Bill johnson! Awake to the gift of righteousness and grace 1Cor15:34! Return to a Jesus centered gospel Bill!Eph 5:14

  2. Hi Craig, more pseudo-biblical statements from dear ole Bill I see. Hmmm – what could this mean, apart from the belief that the “church” (which usually means the anointed ones who get with the program of glorification before the Return) will be EQUAL to Jesus.

    However, a simple moment’s thought gives the game away – even in human terms, the body is never “equal” to the head since the Head (as the bible states) is the Ruler of the body. If all the inspiration, wisdom, motivation, energetic action and planning derives from the head, in what way is the body equal? She is subservient in every way, a servant!

    If not, a situation of anarchy breaks out. Imagine it. My head decided to rise early this morning and have some serious prayertime, but my body overruled because it wanted to stay in bed. My body thought that would be more pleasant, but guess what – my head knows best!!

  3. Craig says:

    Marc,

    I forgot to put Acts 3:21 under #2 in the body of the article — and I even looked at Earl Paulk’s book Held in the Heavens Until…, recognizing this tweet as being like Paulk’s material, and read this reference (again) on the back cover.

  4. Craig says:

    Tricia,

    Seems to me that Colossians 2:19 applies:

    19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. [NIV 1984]

  5. Martin says:

    Quote from BJM

    All of this serves one purpose – Jesus is returning for a bride. For this to happen the harvest must be brought in, and must be “cleaned.” He’s not returning for a bride that He has to heal up and put together like a puzzle in heaven. He is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head, and whose parts work together in coordination. It’s called a “glorious church, without spot or wrinkle”10 in scripture. Anything less is an illegitimate vision.

  6. Martin says:

    I believe it’s referring to Ephesians 5:27

  7. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Please explain further your belief that Ephesians 5:27 means the bride of Christ will be perfect when Jesus returns — or that Jesus cannot return until the bride is spotless.

  8. Martin says:

    I think this site lacks a lot of credibility for the simple reason that it does not present a balanced argument. Not one person has even tried to look at the statement positively or how it could be viewed objectively. How is this even credible? I could do this with any subject. It is not a fair method by which to evaluate anything. Unbelievable.

  9. Martin says:

    Craig you have assumed that this is my belief.

  10. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’m affording you and any others the opportunity to present a counter-argument. Let’s hear it.

  11. Craig says:

    By both of your posts on here, yes I have. If not, please explain your position..

  12. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Re: your comment @ 12:49pm. Do you have a link for the BJM quote?

  13. Martin says:

    I havent really thought about it a great deal tbh. I suppose i really rely on this verse –

    I John 3:2

    Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

    I guess what Bill Johnson is trying to communicate is Jesus isn’t coming for a bride that is out of proportion with who he is(in the sense of it being a reflection of him, the head) It’s no big deal as far as i can see.

  14. Craig says:

    Martin,

    The point is that we do not see Jesus at the 2nd Coming unless and until we have our glorified bodies [see 1 Cor 15:42-58]. Believing otherwise is the Manifested Sons of God heresy.

  15. Craig says:

    Thanks for sending the link. I’ll have to check it out later.

    I did not phrase my last comment very well; so, I’ll restate. We do not receive our glorified bodies while on the earth in the here and now. We are either Raptured or raised from the dead first. We are perfected at the Rapture / resurrection and not until then. So, when we see Jesus in heaven [or "in the clouds"] we will be perfected; however, we are NOT perfected prior to that time. Therefore, to believe that Jesus is returning for an already perfected bride is heresy. It is the Manifested Sons of God teaching.

  16. cheryl u says:

    So, would someone please tell me, is BJ saying in the article that Martin linked above that we will have glorified bodies while yet on this earth? It certainly sounds that way to me. And if he is, that is truly Manifest Sons of God belief and is indeed heresy.

  17. Craig says:

    I’m swamped right now; but, I do note that his footnotes reference some of the ones MSoG adherents use (and some were referenced under item #2 in the post).

  18. Bill Fawcett says:

    “All of this serves one purpose – Jesus is returning for a bride. For this to happen the harvest must be brought in, and must be “cleaned.” He’s not returning for a bride that He has to heal up and put together like a puzzle in heaven. He is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head, and whose parts work together in coordination. It’s called a “glorious church, without spot or wrinkle”10 in scripture. Anything less is an illegitimate vision.” -BJ

    This is funny because a popular saying in the A/G was that we catch the fish and the Holy Spirit cleans them. No wonder he had to leave.

    I’m kinda hung up on this eminency thing. Guess I’ll never get it.

  19. Craig says:

    Here are some questions to ponder. Who makes up the bride of Christ? Is she only those in the ‘last days triumphant church’ on earth? What about the already departed saints including the real first century Apostles? How about Abraham and all the others listed in Hebrews chapter 11?

  20. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Having read through the Johnson article — just to make sure I didn’t take him out of context — it’s clearly teaching that we will have glorified bodies on the earth before Jesus returns. This is the Manifest Sons of God (MSoG) heresy.

  21. ruthsongs says:

    Well I can’t say exactly what Mr Johnson is trying to say with this tweet, which underlines one of the main problems with this tweeting-facebooking mode of ‘teaching.’ The current popular practice of quotable quotes and cheeky tweets and catchy slogans is getting on my nerves.

    One could make many things out of said tweet, ‘action must be equal to knowledge,’ ‘church must be equal to Jesus’… who knows? It really is one of the dangers of some of these ‘movements.’ People walk away with their own assumed interpretation because what is said is so vague and therefore untestable.

    @ Craig, right on re “who is the church?” So few ask this question of this teaching (including me). They talk about the last-days church as if there isn’t thousands of years of history behind us. Thousands of years of faithful believers giving their lives even unto death. Thousands of years of faithful brothers and sisters who have lived their lives for Him.

    They say God ‘saved the best for last.’ That is so arrogant I don’t even know what to say.

  22. Craig says:

    ruthsongs,

    I do believe the link that Martin sent over puts this tweet in context and shows it to be the Manifest Sons of God heresy — which is how I understood it before I viewed the link. And, I firmly agree with your statement re: “soundbyte theology” as another has quipped. It creates its own pretext in the reader.

  23. Bud Press says:

    Martin wrote: “I think this site lacks a lot of credibility for the simple reason that it does not present a balanced argument. Not one person has even tried to look at the statement positively or how it could be viewed objectively. How is this even credible? I could do this with any subject. It is not a fair method by which to evaluate anything. Unbelievable.”

    Martin, it is extremely difficult to view anything Bill Johnson says as positive, especially in light of his teaching that Jesus was “born again” and that Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead. These two false teachings spit in the face of Jesus Christ, and strike at the core of the gospel.

    False teachers are notorious for twisting Scripture, manufacturing fables, and flat-out lying. When dealing with false teachers, objectivity includes correctly quoting what they say or write, then comparing it with what God has already said in His written word. Afterwards, we are to guard the flock and warn the body of Christ (Acts 20:27-31).

    As Christians, we are not to play the game of “pick-and-slide” with what false teachers teach (i.e., pick out tidbits of truth and let the false teachings slide). To do so constitutes fellowship, compromise, and playing nicer than God. Give a false teacher too much rope, and he will hang you!

    Jeremiah chapter 23 warns us that God is against those who teach falsely. Nowhere in Scripture does God view false teachers in a “positive” manner. Jesus and His apostles warned against false teachers, named names publicly, and provided easy-to-understand instructions on how to deal with them.

    It needs to be restated over and over again: Throughout the Bible, God has ZERO TOLERANCE for false teachers and false prophets. There is no fellowship between God and those who teach falsely (Deuteronomy chapter 13; Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 23:31-32; Ezekiel 13:9; Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew chapter 24; 2 Corinthians chapter 11; 2 Peter 2:1).

    False teachers condition and manipulate their followers to become false teachers. They are NOT members of the body of Christ, and they will have their day of reckoning with God at God’s appointed time (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 20:11-15).

    False teachings are like ooey-gooey rotten tomatoes in a huge barrel. The longer they sit (or go unchecked), the more putrid and dangerous they become. When Bill Johnson taught that Jesus was “born again,” he disqualified himself from being a Christian, and graduated into blasphemy.

    But does this mean that ALL false teachers are doomed? No. God has demonstrated His mercy and compassion throughout Scripture. Confession of sin and repentance is the key factor. There is a way out for false teachers, but only through a serious encounter with the real Jesus of the Bible.

    Bill Johnson is a smooth talker, whose teachings are rotten with Manifest Sons of God filth-ology. If we give him an inch of sympathy, he will take a mile of advantage. Johnson’s “Jesus” has not the ability, authority, or power to save, sanctify, and redeem the lost. Yet, we are supposed to view everything else Johnson teaches in a positive and objective manner?

    “But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you” (Galatians 2:4-5).

    “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds” (2 John 1:9-10).

    This site has earned its credibility by telling the truth in love, which is a calling that is rapidly dwindling within the body of Christ.

    In Christian love,
    Bud Press

  24. Martin says:

    Actually thats not the way i viewed his teaching at all. Above, you have also pulled scripture out of context to support your own viewpoint. I think he has some valid points. Some of his facebook comments are very good actually(heretic or not) – i use some of the things said to aid my own personal relationship with God. But you might not hear about those positive and helpful things here because – only the negatives are posted!

  25. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Have you ever seen a con man on TV or in a movie? The reason they are good at what they do and are able to con people is that they gain their confidence. How do they do that? They look like the real deal.

    I’ve read that Jeffrey Dahmer was viewed as being a nice guy by his neighbors and they were shocked at the horrors found inside his apartment. Dahmer was effective at concealing his very dark side. Should we use the con man or Dahmer’s good points as evidence of the way we should live?

  26. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’m curious which Scripture you believe Bud Press took out of context and why.

  27. Bud Press says:

    Martin wrote: “Actually thats not the way i viewed his teaching at all. Above, you have also pulled scripture out of context to support your own viewpoint. I think he has some valid points. Some of his facebook comments are very good actually(heretic or not) – i use some of the things said to aid my own personal relationship with God. But you might not hear about those positive and helpful things here because – only the negatives are posted!”

    Martin, here are a few questions. Please feel free to be specific:

    A. To whom are you addressing your last comments?
    B. What “teaching” are you referring to?
    C. What Scripture has been “pulled…out of context”?
    D. Who has “some valid points”?

    By the way, do you think that Bill Johnson’s teaching that Jesus was “born again” is “valid” and aids your own “personal relationship with God”?

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press

  28. Bill Fawcett says:

    George Warnock, in the Latter Rain classic “Feast of Tabernacles” posited that the Lord would return again when we no longer have a Head in heaven and A Body on earth but we would have one new Perfect Man who would fill both heaven and earth.

  29. Craig says:

    Um, that’s a big one there…

  30. Martin says:

    A recent Bill Johnson comment.

    It’s hard to calm a storm you’re not in. But being in the storm makes fear very accessible. Keeping ourselves in the quiet of God’s Love settles the issue as perfect love casts out fear, and the faith that calms the storm works through love.

  31. Martin says:

    A lot of scripture was written in a totally different world to the one we have today. So to try and use it today in the modern world is totally incompatible and quite frankly, stupid. Women used to cover their heads. People were stoned to death. Everything was different. So why try to pull scripture from another time and place and make it compatible with today?

    Bud press, my comments were obviously aimed at you, which is why you responded, albeit it a little frostily.

    2 John was written because people were saying that Jesus had not come in the flesh as verse 7 says. Also John highlights the love for each other that we are supposed to show! Not a dispute of words and meanings.

    I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

    You have pulled out a verse in which John condemns these particular deceivers. The ones which say Jesus did not come in the flesh!! Has Bill Johnson said Jesus has not come in the flesh? No.

    Absolutely no correlation between this verse and your use of it. Misuse of scripture and twisting it for your own point of view i’d like to suggest.

  32. Craig says:

    Martin,

    What is the significance of the recent Bill Johnson comment you quoted?

    As regards 2 John, verse 7 states, “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world…” The key word is “Christ.” With Johnson’s Christology being that “Christ” is a title/name Jesus received at John’s Baptism, this denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. So, Bud’s comment is right on the mark.

    I should add that Johnson’s claim that we all receive the same “Christ anointing” Jesus received is also an implicit denial that Jesus Christ came in the flesh [cf Bill Johnson Face to Face with God p 77]

    Martin, in your view which Scriptures are applicable for today and which one’s are not? How do we know the difference? I’d really like to know your answers.

  33. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Perhaps you may wish to reflect on 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

    16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. [NIV]

  34. Bud Press says:

    Martin:

    It never ceases to amaze me how deception breeds deception. New deception slithers in on the lips of self-proclaimed prophets and teachers, and is always under the disguise of “new revelation”.

    The hyper-Charismatic movement, which encompasses the Word of Faith and Prophectic movements, is being eaten alive by individuals who claim to have a direct pipeline to God. In their self-imposed exclusivity, their words are equal to or superior to what God the Holy Spirit spent thousands of years inspiring.

    Martin, you have gone from one extreme to the other. Now you are trying to convince us that “a lot of scripture” isn’t compatible for today, and using it today is “quite frankly, stupid.” You are not only mimicing what the cults teach, you are revealing what you truly believe.

    How dare you say that about your Creator’s holy word! It’s scary, and I am deeply concerned about your spiritual welfare.

    Why bother using the Bible in the first place? After all, you have men and women who dictate what “God” has for modern-man, and use the Bible to appear “Christian”. But, in reality, they honor God with their lips, because their hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:6).

    In the twisted world of “new revelation,” there is no need for you to read and study your Bible, because what you hear from your leaders today will change tomorrow. Nothing is carved in stone; everything is subject to change. Those who listen to corrupt leaders constantly wander around in circles searching for answers. But the answers of today give way to the answers of tomorrow. It’s a never-ending whirlpool that causes the gullible and innocent to drown in their own ignorance, and pulled down into eternal separation from the true God of the Bible.

    What truly matters is what God says about His word:

    “The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” (Psalm 12:6)

    “Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” (Proberbs 30:6)

    “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

    “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47)

    God places a tremendous emphasis on His words. When God speaks of His words, He is not referring to the words spoken from the lips of false teachers. God has made it crystal clear that He is against false teachers (Jeremiah chapter 23; Matthew chapter 24; Acts 20:27-31). Unless they repent and are born again, they will go to hell.

    Martin, I love you enough in Christ to warn you that you are treading on very dangerous ground. God is loving and compassionate, but He is also a consuming fire. You are faced with a choice: Believe what Bill Johnson says, or repent and believe what God’s written word teaches.

    I pray you will choose the latter.

    In Christian love,
    Bud Press

  35. Martin says:

    Actually – as you know full well, the accusation you make regarding Johnsons Christology is not established fact and is still disputed, even by one of your own members, Cheryl u. So i would be a bit careful about making that sound like a statement of fact.

    I think at some point, you even said yourself that Johnsons theology wasn’t even functional kenosis, so, his theology doesn’t even fit into any of the neat little definitions of kenosis. So as far as i am concerned you are now making major assumptions and using the “if a then b philosophy” i spoke to you about before.

    Regarding the relevance of scripture, not as to whether it is God breathed or not. As an example….

    According to 1 Corinthians Ch 11 – A women was to cover her head. Now is this scripture practical for the women of today? I’d like to suggest to you that following this practice now, would be stupid, but not at the time it was written. Hence, i make my point regarding my statement above.

    The point you make about the christ anointing is also not the way i read that. I read it that the annointing was a confirmation of the title, and not an experience he was dependent on, to recieve it. So again, we differ in our interpretation.

    This site is guilty of major assumptions.

  36. Craig says:

    Martin,

    As far as the kenosis issue, Johnson clearly does teach ontological kenosis in some passages. The question is: Does he intend an ontological kenosis or a functional(ist) instead or is his theology so distorted as to be totally incoherent? None of the answers are particular attractive as ontological kenosis is clearly heretical, functional(ist) kenosis is not supported Biblically and is hence by definition heresy, and a totally incoherent theology – especially with respect to Christology – should also be labeled heresy, again by definition:

    Dictionary.reference.com’s definition (excluding the RCC definition which is not applicable) is:

    her·e·sy   

    1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.
    2. the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine.
    4. any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.

    For the ontologically kenotic passages of Johnson specifically related to the Atonement we have the “lamb, (powerless)” on the Cross [When Heaven Invades Earth; p 79] plus the Bethel sermon of Johnson on February 27, 2011 in which he states “…Jesus gave Himself to be crucified. He did not raise Himself from the dead…His job was to give His life to die. The Father raised Him by the Spirit…” which illustrates a de-deified/de-divinized Christ (ontologically kenotic Christ) at the Cross which does not provide adequate Atonement. This is a very serious issue and why ontological kenosis is explicit heresy. This also contradicts John 2:19/10:17-18.

    As far as the ontologically kenotic ‘Christ as title/name/anointing’ here’s a more complete explanation using Johnson quotes:

    “…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him…” [Face to Face with God; p 77]

    So, we have the “anointing” termed specifically the “Christ anointing” which is identified as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which Jesus received at John’s baptism, in the Johnson Christology [Face to Face; pp 77-80].

    “…The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.” [When Heaven Invades Earth; p 79]

    This “Christ anointing” linked “Jesus the man” to “the divine” which seems to indicate that Jesus was only divine by virtue of the “Christ anointing” – when the Spirit descended upon Him at the baptism by John – according to the Bill Johnson Christology. To restate, this supports Johnson’s theology in which Jesus was a man who received the BotHS in the Jordan providing Him the means to perform the miraculous as he had “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” [The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind; p 29] in and of Himself. With this frame of reference we can view the section titled “Johnson’s View of How Jesus Received His Title/Name of Christ” in the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II article and see how it fits with his “Christ anointing” teaching. Admittedly, this section is not easy to understand which is why I painstakingly explained it. Once again, it’s clearly ontologically kenotic.

    Now, Martin, if you will set any possible personal biases aside, I do believe you will see the above is quite clearly teaching ontological kenosis – a very serious Christological issue.

    While Johnson seems to put forth a functionalist kenosis at times (Jesus was fully divine yet chose to perform all his miracles by the Holy Spirit – which is, as noted, unbiblical and hence heresy by definition), his ontologically kenotic passages confound a full functionalistically kenotic Christology which makes his entire theology potentially incoherent/self-contradictory. Or is it simply ontologically kenotic all the way through?

    Also, this quote clearly indicates that we receive the same “Christ anointing” that Jesus received:

    “…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him…” [Face to Face with God; p 77]

    In reading the rest of the context of the above quote in Face to Face [pp 77-80], it’s made clear that we receive the same BotHS that Jesus received according to the Johnson theology. I do believe if you would read the full context you would change your perspective on the “Christ anointing” as per your last paragraph.

  37. Craig says:

    Now, as for the I Corinthians 11 passage, I see this as a straw man. Nonetheless, I’ll provide you with notes in the NIV Study Bible on vv 5-6:

    “…Some do not see in these verses a temporary cultural significance to the covering/uncovering of the head. They insist that, since Paul referred to the order of creation (vv. 7-9), his directive is not to be restrictive to his time. Thus women of all times should wear a head covering. [ed: which some construe as having hair as opposed to having very short hair or being bald]

    “Others find a lasting principle in the passage requiring wives, in all ways, to show respect for their husbands by submitting to their authority – not merely by a particular style of attire, but by godly lives. Man, who was created first, is to have authority over his wife (see 1 Tim 2:11-14). The wife was made out of his body (Ge 2:20). She is to honor her husband by submitting to him as her head (see v. 3).

    “Still others see these verses, not as a mandate for all marriages, but as reflecting marriage relationships at that time in Corinth and therefore giving a reason why the women there should have covered their heads (v. 10). They point to vv 11-12 as a contrast, emphasizing equality and mutual dependence between men and women who are ‘in the Lord.’ [v. 11; see Gal 3:28; I Pet 3:7].”

  38. Martin says:

    Martin, I love you enough in Christ to warn you that you are treading on very dangerous ground.

    That is the epitomy of why people become disillusioned with the church. So arrogant!

  39. Martin says:

    I thought that functional kenosis wasn’t heresy? Or is it now and who decides?

  40. Craig says:

    You can call it arrogant (and I recall you’ve made the same charge to me in a different article’s comments section); but, I see it as a rebuke that you need. Keeping 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in mind, you disregard certain Scriptures at your own peril:

    They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. [ 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11, NIV 1984]

  41. Craig says:

    Regarding functional(ist) kenosis as being heresy, from Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part I we have the following quote from Oliver Crisp’s Divinity and Humanity [p 25]:

    “It could be argued that it is the Holy Spirit that enables the human nature of Christ to perform miracles, rather than Christ’s divine nature, if, say, the divine nature of Christ is not thought to act in and through the human nature of Christ in this way [via nature-perichoresis] during the Incarnation. But this is not a conventional view of the means by which Christ was able to perform miracles. A conventional view would claim that Christ was able to perform miracles in virtue of the action of his divine nature in and through his human nature in the hypostatic union.”[48] [See the article for a full discussion of nature-perichoresis and complete context.]

    Crisp states it’s “not a conventional view” since it is, in essence, in opposition to the hypostatic union. Further, as noted later in this same CrossWise article, functional(ist) kenosis is not Biblical. Additional evidence, specifically pointing to Bill Johnson’s proof-texting of John 5:19, is found in part II noted in the following. Note especially the last sentence:

    “Johnson references a portion of John 5:19 in the quote above and the one immediately preceding this one [by footnote 98]. Putting this verse in its proper context shows that Jesus Himself had both the authority and the power (omnipotence) to raise the dead and give life apart from the Father (v 21) contrary to Johnson’s proof-texting above. Andreas Kostenberger states, “He claimed not merely to be God’s instrument in raising other people, but to give life himself to whom he is pleased to give it.”[102] [See Luke 23:43; John 6:70; 10:28-29; 13:18; 15:16, 19.] Once again, this argues against a functionalist kenotic interpretation and for ontological kenosis. Furthermore, this provides one more example illustrating that functionalist kenosis, in general, as not a viable, Biblical doctrine as Jesus Christ certainly displayed His omnipotence.”

    One more important point noted in part I is that to claim that the Word refrained from using any divine attributes once He became flesh is tantamount to a denial of immutability – a trait which is seen as necessary for divinity – which would contradict Hebrews 13:8 [and Heb 1:12; Psa 102:27].

    So, to recap, any doctrine at variance with the hypostatic union (an orthodox Christian doctrine) can be defined as heresy per any one of the 3 definitions listed above, and, any teaching that is at variance with Scripture – such as functional(ist) kenosis – is heresy by the same definition.

    While others may disagree that functional(ist) kenosis is heresy, I respectfully challenge them to refute what’s written in this comment or in the two kenosis articles.

  42. IWTT says:

    16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” NIV

    16And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,[a] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,[b] with whom I am well pleased.” ESV

    16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. KJV

    16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and [a]he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is [c]My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” NASB

    Here are 4 versions (translation) of the same verse. This is the verse that I assume is used to proof text that Jesus was filled or Baptized with the Holy Spirit, but I believe this is a wrong interpretation.

    Man seems to make this as if it were the same type of experience that occurs in Acts 2. But the difference is that the Spirit of God, as a dove,”alighted” upon, or “came upon”, or “rest upon” “coming upon Him”, that is Jesus. It does not say that it filled Him. It was more of a identifier that man could visibly see, and then God states that this is my Son. Where do people come up with the idea that He was filled at that moment. If He is fully God and fully Man then in the divine aspect He has no need to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”.

    Looking at Acts 2 it wasn’t even the same experience, but rather as “tongues as flames” and filling them:

    …And there appeared to them tongues as of fire [b]distributing themselves, and [c]they [d]rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other [e]tongues, as the Spirit was giving them [f]utterance. NASB

    Notice it follows with the identifier as fire (purifying) and then filling them. This is not mentioned in the experience with Christ. Why? I believe because He didn’t really need the Holy Spirit as fully God and fully man.

  43. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Bill Johnson teaches that the Holy Spirit was already “in Jesus’s life” prior to Baptism with the BotHS at Baptism. Here’s a quote from Face to Face [pp 21-22] which speaks of Jesus’ baptism in Jordan. Note the last sentence which makes the distinction between the Holy Spirit initial indwelling and the BotHS which reiterates Johnson’s meaning with respect to Jesus:

    “…Certainly this is not talking about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that was already in Jesus’s life. This [Baptism] was the inauguration of Jesus’s ministry, and the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Him as a mantle of power and authority for that specific purpose. But the fact that the Holy Spirit came to rest on Him is evidence of Jesus’s faithfulness to be perfectly trustworthy with the presence of God. The same principle is true for us.

    “The Holy Spirit lives in every believer, but He rests upon very few…”

    The Holy Spirit ‘resting upon’ Jesus and others is Johnson’s vernacular for his version of the ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’ which is necessary to provide power for the miraculous [see Face to Face p 79]. The statement that Jesus was “perfectly trustworthy with the presence of God” implies that Jesus was not God Himself but instead merely a “trustworthy” man faithful enough to ‘earn’ God’s continued “presence.” This, of course, points to ontological kenosis rather than functionalist kenosis.

  44. Bud Press says:

    Martin:

    If you are going to quote myself and others, please do so in context. I stated: “Martin, I love you enough in Christ to warn you that you are treading on very dangerous ground. God is loving and compassionate, but He is also a consuming fire. You are faced with a choice: Believe what Bill Johnson says, or repent and believe what God’s written word teaches. I pray you will choose the latter.”

    You replied with: “That is the epitomy of why people become disillusioned with the church. So arrogant!”

    I agree that people become disillusioned with the “church,” and they do so for various reasons. But in many cases, the core of their disillusionment is their failure to endure the truth–which is what the Apostle Paul clearly addressed in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

    Sometimes, truth hurts and offends. Truth isn’t up-for-grabs or however one perceives it. Truth is offensive and doesn’t change course in mid-stream. Truth shines light in the midst of darkness and deception, and sets the captive free. Truth stands strong in the midst of compromise. And, it is our responsibility to search for truth. Those who sincerely search for truth will find it.

    Someone once said, “It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is better to be hated for telling the truth, than be loved for telling a lie.”

    Indeed, people who live in lies bear great burdens, and wear painted smiles.

    Jesus Christ is our greatest example of love and compassion, but He offended virtually everyone in His day, and He still does. Study Matthew chapter 23, where Jesus told the truth and raked the Pharisees over the coals at the same time. No doubt that they viewed Him as “arrogant”.

    Martin, there are Christians here who love you enough to share the truth–even if it hurts. It is your choice to accept it or reject it.

    In Christian love,
    Bud Press

  45. Martin says:

    Basically, who are you to tell me whether I will stand or whether I will fall? Your making judgements about me when you don’t even know what I believe? That’s what I think is arrogant. Are we called to be smug about knowing the truth?

    All I’ve actually said is that scripture used within another culture and another time in history is not relevant for this culture in the same spirit in which it was meant. I do not permit a women to speak in church? I think I have a more than valid point.

    It is after all, as has been repeated here, about keeping scripture in the context it was spoken or written. That’s it.

  46. Craig says:

    Martin,

    You are resorting to straw man arguments. You claimed that Bud Press took Scripture out of context. When questioned, you mentioned 2 John 7 which I then showed actually was quite appropriate in reference to Johnson’s Christology (which you’ve not countered). Then, you bring up I Corinthians 11 which has nothing to do with this post at all. I even answered that one illustrating a few different interpretations one of which believes there is current cultural relevance.

    You’ve not come back and addressed points that you raised and were subsequently refuted. If you really believe your points are valid you should at least defend them once they are countered — either that, or concede that you were incorrect.

    Your beliefs are made evident in your comments. Most times you defend Bill Johnson although a few times you’ve conceded he may well be wrong. You’ve stated something to the effect that you will only rely on the Holy Spirit’s leading you personally into Truth, yet you stated on here that you read Johnson and get some positive things out of his writings. Given that Johnson has a faulty Christology, or an incoherent one at best as some believe, why would you continue to defend Johnson’s other orthodox statements? You stated on the 1st Kenosis article on June 14, 5:57pm:

    If you havent got your kenosis theology and the correct christology revelation you could be refused entry into heaven.

    So, you concede proper Christology is of utmost importance. Then, why do you continue to defend Johnson? If you believe his Christology is orthodox, then please show me how it is.

  47. Martin says:

    No that is completely incorrect. As I’ve said to you on numerous occasions now, it’s actually you who are incorrect about Johnsons theology. Your interpretation of it is not correct. I think Bill stated that he believed Jesus was 100% God all of the time on his Facebook page and other places too. You just don’t want to admit that you could be wrong because perhaps your intellectual pride will not let you.

    I cannot be bothered to go over my posts again to try and explain them. It’s not the first time you have misunderstood what I’ve written. You talk about Johnsons theology as though it’s factually heresy, then use terms like – “seems to be saying” – either he is or he isn’t.

    I’ve read a couple of transcripts where your peers do not agree with your theories about Johnson.

    Johnson has responded on Facebook to a debate regarding his book. He said Jesus is and always was God. What’s your real issue here?

  48. Martin says:

    If you ever carried out a piece of research to find out whether something was true or False – I think you would always use the null hypothesis to test your theory to make the research more valid. Not just try and prove your own theory correct.

    Just an idea but why not try proving his theology to be true before condemning it as false. I think that is what I have been trying to suggest, without spelling it out. Objectivity. Give it a whirl.

  49. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I’ve gone over everything you’ve noted in your comment here at 6:14pm in both of the kenosis articles. And, as I stated, if anyone thinks my position is incorrect on this I respectfully challenge them to show how it is so — that is since you apparently are unwilling or unable to do so point to point.

    I’ve used a possible explanation for Johnson’s claim of Jesus’ deity from a Facebook quote in the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II post:

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

    Even if one believes that Johnson is stating unequivocally that Jesus was and is eternally God with this statement, then one must concede that his Christology/theology is hopelessly incoherent/self-contradictory in view of his many statements which are clearly ontologically kenotic — statements/quotes I’ve used right here in these comments on this particular blog post.

  50. Craig says:

    Perhaps you would like to tackle your own idea. Let’s see if you can harmonize Johnson’s statements into one orthodox whole. Perhaps you could start with his ‘Jesus was born again’ theology.

    Once again, you demonstrate that rather than deal with specific issues — even ones that you’ve raised yourself that have been countered — you dodge them instead. You have a tendency to deflect to something else rather than deal with the substantive issues. Then you occasionally resort to condescending statements such as, “Objectivity. Give it a whirl.”

  51. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Here is just one statement of Johnson’s I’d like you to illustrate how it can be understood as orthodox:

    He [Jesus] had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” [When Heaven Invades Earth; p 29]

    Given that God is by very nature supernatural, how can this be construed as anything but ontological kenosis?

  52. Bud Press says:

    The late Walter Martin once said, “You can be right in every area of your theology, but wrong on who Jesus is, and be wrong enough to lose your soul for all of eternity.”

    Jesus Christ is the centrality of the Bible. Salvation is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ. His death, burial, and resurrection are the essentials of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Note the words, “according to the Scriptures”). Belief in the essentials is necessary for salvation.

    Deviation from the essentials results in heretical and cultic theology. For example: Mormonism teaches that Jesus was created, and is the brother of Satan, and is one “god” in a myriad of “gods”. Mormons also teach that they will become “gods” and inhabit their own planet. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was created, and is a little “god,” and that Jesus arose from the dead spiritually.

    Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses flat-out deny the essentials of the Christian faith. Belief in one or more of their false teachings results in being separated from God for all eternity.

    Over the years, leaders within the hyper-Charismatic movement have taught that they are “gods,” that Jesus took on the nature of Satan and died spiritually, and that He had to be born again in hell to purchase our redemption. Again, belief in one or more of their false teachings results in being separated from God for all eternity.

    Bill Johnson, and others within the hyper-Charismatic movement have the unmitigated gall to teach that Jesus–the sinless Savior–was born again. Belief in that one cultic blasphemy alone is enough for one to lose his or her soul for all eternity.

    “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Jesus Christ, John 8:24)

    To believe in Jesus is to believe everything about Him and deny nothing. To claim to be a “god” denies the exclusive deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To teach that Jesus had to be born again denies His death, burial, and resurrection (the gospel).

    One cannot deny one or more of the essentials of the Christian faith and be a Christian.

    Bud Press

  53. Martin says:

    Craig – I once had a debate with you about terminology “laid aside” or “veiled”. You were unwilling to concede even on one small matter of wording. Which, as far as I can see you just point blank refused to do. I think even your peers conceded it was just semantics. Not you though. It is a waste of my time confronting you with logic. You have made up your mind and are unwilling to see things from a different position other than your own.

    I think you must think I’m an idiot!

  54. Martin says:

    Okay – I’m going to issue an apology to Craig and to Bud Press. Whilst in church this morning I was prompted to apologise for my words, that have gone too far. I’m sorry for any offense that has been caused.

  55. Craig says:

    Martin,

    I think you miss the larger point in that I allowed and continue to allow you to debate your side. I certainly did not and do not need to. I could simply post my articles and delete any comment that is not in full agreement.

    As to the “laid aside” — this was in reference to Johnson’s “He [Jesus] laid his divinity aside.” Yes, this could potentially be interpreted in different ways; however, when put in its full context and, in addition, placed alongside such passages as the one I just asked you to interpret in an orthodox manner the meaning is absolutely clear:

    “He [Jesus] had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” [When Heaven Invades Earth; p 29]

    One of the central teachings of Johnson is that Jesus lived his life “as a man…not as God” [p 29]. So, if Jesus Christ lived His Incarnate life as a man having “laid his divinity aside” therefore possessing “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” what other conclusion can be drawn except that He had no divine attributes/abilities while in an earthly body?

    As to the “veiled” — this was in reference to the definition of kenosis. I do believe the first section of the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part I article more than answers that issue.

    You wrote, “You have made up your mind and are unwilling to see things from a different position other than your own.

    After reading and studying much of Bill Johnson’s material, yes I have made up my mind on certain aspects of his teachings as it is quite clear he teaches an aberrant and flat-out heretical Christology. There are some debatable points, yes; but, there are others which are quite clearly problematic. However, you are the one who refuses to acknowledge these very serious issues.

    No, I don’t think you are an idiot. In fact, I can tell you are an intelligent individual by your thoughts as expressed on here; but, I’m concerned over your defense of Bill Johnson at the expense of Jesus Christ and His Word.

  56. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Your apology accepted; however, no personal offense was taken.

  57. Bud Press says:

    Martin:

    I was not offended by your comments. Your apology demonstrates that you care, and that says a lot. I accept your apology.

    Please know that we care too. because a person’s spiritual welfare is serious business. God takes it serious, and so do we.

    Although we take the slaps and punches along the way, we do what we do because of our love for Jesus Christ and the truth of His word. And, by the mercy and grace of God, many people are realizing that the hyper-Charismatic movement is extremely dangerous to their spiritual, mental, and physical welfare. They are leaving the movement and surrendering to the real Jesus of the Bible.

    Craig, myself, and other Christians on this blog don’t pretend to know everything. However, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt Who Jesus is. And when people arise and teach a false “Jesus” and false spirit and false gospel, we obey the commands of Scripture and defend Him and His written word.

    Martin, if you knew the real Jesus of the Bible, there would be no arguments or debates or apologies. You would not tolerate Bill Johnson and his “born again Jesus” and other blasphemies that have spewed from the mouths of so-called “leaders” within the hyper-Charismatic movement.

    We want you to know the real Jesus of the Bible. He will not betray you. He will not take advantage of you. He will not leave you stranded in confusion. Jesus loves you, and He wants to hear from you today.

    Confess your sins, repent, place your complete trust in Christ, and surrender to Him. If you will do that your life will never be the same.

    I and others are here to help you. Contact me at admin@christianresearchservice.com and send a phone number and a good time to talk. I will be glad to call you to save the cost.

    Love in Christ,
    Bud Press

  58. Martin says:

    I’m going to take short leave of absence from this site to study some of this stuff in more detail – i feel pretty unqualified to respond to this stuff without having a more in depth knowledge. Bud press – ive been a christian for 20 years, it is not really your call to make as to whether i am born again or not.

    I was a severe drug abuser from a very broken home, my father was a very abusive man, who seriously damaged me and my family (whom i have forgiven 100% and some) until God broke in and changed everything(not through anybodies effort, but by my reading the bible on my own).

    I am now drug free(including a heavy smoker) – i am now free from this. Married with 3 amazing children. I have had a personal encounter with the Lord, and he has given me more than i could ever ever deserve. Life is still tough and i still suffer with various physical ailment, which led me to Bill Johnsons website. I am still processing and weighing up what has been said. I don’t know that i have formed any definitive ideas about that yet. The holy spirit – will lead me into all truth, so if this is not right, he will tell me.

    Right now, my only concern is keeping my heart from hardening towards God. Which is an incredible struggle.

    I personally believe that Jesus was is and is to come as fully God at all times. I am exploring the ideas that have been presented to me about . This i will go away and do, and return with a more educated opinion.

  59. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Take your time as your walk with the Lord is the most important thing.

    Could I could make a suggestion in your quest to study some of this stuff more? I’ve been very thorough in providing references for the quotes used in all the articles on here — I suggest you look at the footnotes which reference the Bill Johnson material and read over the sections from which I quoted in the original material itself so that you can see the full contexts.

  60. IWTT says:

    Martin,

    Praise God that you have been set free from the drugs, smoking and have a family that you love and are taking care of.

    I didn’t do that kind of stuff that you did, but I myself came from a home of major alcoholic, who was somewhat abusive when drunk but saw God change him when he turned his life over to Him, and he actually became a pastor/missionary in Israel. God is in the reconciliation business with people. And He truely does a miraculous work in our lives when we allow Him to work. “HE who began a good work WILL complete it”

    I have been a Christian for 40+ years, I have gone from Baptist to Episcopalian, to Open Bible to Assembly of God to 4Square. I have been under the teachings of this stuff and was somewhat involved as a part time staff of a church and full time worship leader in an international deliverence ministry. But for some reason, and I truely believe it was the Holy Spirit that brought it to my attention, there was something terribly wrong with the foundation/theology of all this stuff. It took me two full years to wrap my head around it and discover the truth. Frankly, I am freer now that I have ever been and more in Love with Jesus more than ever before.

    I have been married 39 years this month and we have both walked through health issue. God is a healer but from what I read in the scriptures He doesn’t always heal us and frankly I have learned it is for our own benefit when he allows it to continue. It isn’t fun but It grows us up and teaches us to trust in Him. We go through what we go through to build characture and eventually to strengthen our hope in Him.

    God bless you and I pray that you will have ears to really hear the Holy Spirit in truth. He is our teacher.

  61. Bud Press says:

    Martin:

    I thank God that you survived the abuse and that you are now drug-free. I can’t imagine what you have been through, but I have worked with children and adults who experienced all manner of abuse.

    My wife and I prayed for you tonight, and we will continue to do so. Take your time and ask the Lord to lead you into all truth. He will do it, and He will provide comfort and peace at the same time.

    Get one-on-one with God’s written word–just you and God–and become an expert on Jesus Christ. He is there–from Genesis to Revelation. God’s faithfulness and loving-kindness towards those who sincerely search for Him is incredible.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press

  62. Matthew says:

    I was thinking about the comment as to any possible way to spin it so as to defend Bill Johnson. (it was hard for me not to think about it in a non-heretical light)

    I can agree with his statement if this is what it means:
    Jesus is returning for his bride who is not yet in equal proportion in the sense where the fullness of all who will be saved are not yet saved. This is not a call to become super-apostles, but rather a call to evangelize the world. We can be called equal proportion in the sense that we are covered by the righteousness of Christ and as He is now, so are we in the world. In this we can have boldness on the day of judgment and let others know that they can too, not because of what we have done, but because of His blood and resurrection. That when God judges us on judgment day, we will be innocent with our debt already paid. So to sum up, we are equal in the same sense as 1 John 4:17, but not yet in the fullness because the final number of total people in the kingdom of God has not been realized.

  63. Craig says:

    Matthew,

    That’s an interesting interpretation. But, let’s look at the statement in a broader context provided elsewhere by Johnson:

    http://www.bjm.org/articles/12/apostolic-teams.html

    All of this serves one purpose – Jesus is returning for a bride. For this to happen the harvest must be brought in, and must be “cleaned.” He’s not returning for a bride that He has to heal up and put together like a puzzle in heaven. He is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head, and whose parts work together in coordination. It’s called a “glorious church, without spot or wrinkle”10 in scripture. Anything less is an illegitimate vision.

    The bride is to make herself ready for that day.11 As Larry Randolph puts it, “it is a perversion to think that Jesus will dress the bride before the wedding.” Our assignment is clear, and the gifts are in place. And they are all expressions of Jesus Himself. But they are simple in purpose. Re-present Jesus to the world!

    Footnote references are:

    10 Ephesians 5:27

    11 Revelation 19:7

    This negates your interpretation as this speaks of the bride making herself ready – not made righteous in Christ by His atoning death – before Jesus can return.

  64. Matthew says:

    I probably should have added to my post “based upon external sources Bill Johnson is not talking about how I interpreted his quote. I was just trying to point out, if you isolate the quote with no context or background, it could possibly be interpreted the way I suggested.” Thank you for responding though with the background. I tried to take the challenge (not that I do support Bill Johnson or Bethel) in interpreting the quote in what I believe to be a Biblical way.

    Ephesians 5:27 is a rather funny Scripture to quote since the verse before it talks about the cleansing of the bride through the word, which can be accomplished because He gave Himself for it. If Bill Johnson is right, my wife has a lot of work to do before I get home today!

  65. Craig says:

    True Christians will naturally take something by a purported minister/pastor and filter it through an orthodox lens. I truly was not sure if you were a Johnson supporter in view of your parenthetical statement, “it was hard for me not to think about it in a non-heretical light.”

    If Bill Johnson is right, my wife has a lot of work to do before I get home today! LOL :-)

  66. Matthew says:

    Hi Craig and everyone,

    I commented once before, but will comment again briefly. Specifically referring to the challenge, I know you mentioned Ephesians 4:11-13 as possible Scriptures that supports Bill Johnson’s quote. I would personally extend the section to cover Ephesians 4:11-16 which at a first glance, seems to line up well with Bill’s exhortation to Christians to strive to be united as His body and strive to be like Him.

    The first part of these Scriptures is of course referring to the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. Paul answers the question, “well when does this end?” telling us that this equipping and building up of the body will end when

    a) “we all attain to the unity of the faith”

    Paul seems to suggest that this will happen at some point in the future, but has not happened yet in the Ephesian church. Whether this happens locally (like amongst Christians locally) or globally (amongst all Christians everywhere), it’s not entirely clear, but I would lean more towards a global unity of the faith. If it speaks of global unity, I think most Christians would say that this definitely has not occurred yet, and thus it’s still something we can be exhorted to strive for.

    b) “unity of the knowledge of the Son of God”

    This is a little less clear as to specifically what Paul is referring to (one could perhaps cross link this verse with 2 John 1:7-9), but since Paul is writing to Gentile believers who already know who the Son of God is in a general sense (i.e. the lamb without blemish, the Christ, etc.), it seems likely that Paul is referring to something more than general truths about the Son of God. It is interesting that Paul lists the role of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers as the ones who were given such roles to bring about the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God amongst the church. Each of those five, the text suggests, have something unique to bring to the table in terms of bringing the knowledge of the Son of God, as well as bringing unity in the faith. Each person who has been given a gift of one of those roles in the body, ought to strive to use it in the way listed in the text.

    c) When the first two are achieved, we will be like a “mature man,” actually so mature that it says “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

    This phrase is a little difficult to interpret, so thankfully Paul elaborates in verses 14-16.

    The fruits of the body being built up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ are:

    a) We are no longer children who are tossed to and fro. Since I would argue that the first part has not been fulfilled (globally at least), we still as a body are/can be:
    a1) carried about by every wind of doctrine
    a2) carried about by the trickery of men
    a3) carried about by craftiness in deceitful scheming

    These verses can apply to any Christian, especially those who think they cannot be deceived. I’m not going to try to address the issue of whether or not Bill Johnson’s followers fall into this category, since the issue at hand is whether or not Bill made a heretical statement or not.

    We are called to:

    a) speak the truth in love
    Much can be written on this, but for the time being I do appreciate the author of this blog seeking to speak the truth in love to those he believes to be deceived.

    b) grow up in all aspects into Christ, who is the head
    This goes hand in hand with speaking the truth in love, as well as the beginning part of the passage (v11-13) where the so called “five-fold” ministry exists for equipping for ministry and “building up” of the body. It is only possible though, if each individual part does what God has called him or her to do, and we certainly need different parts of the body of Christ to help us walk in a mature manner.

    So my final question is, is it the will of God for us to be built up into Christ, making up a body that is in equal proportion to the head?
    My honest take on it is yes. Now of course, the head still has the preeminence, it still guides and directs the rest of the body, without the head, the body could do no thing at all, but since we are predestined for Christ to be formed into us (who truly belong to His body), I would have to say it’s the desire of God for us to be united in such a way.

    However, I will add, will this happen before Jesus returns? Maybe, maybe not. But even if not, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be a body of believers who strives to be like Christ and do what He gives us to do in this life, being the head and source of all life. Thus I rate the quote of Bill Johnson to not be heretical. I personally believe that he is exhorting Christians to strive to be like Christ and while no single believer will be like Him, we as a body can grow up into Him (the head), as a dwelling place for God in the Spirit.

  67. Craig says:

    Matthew,

    Glad to see you back for your (near-) annual posting. ;-)

    I sure appreciate the forethought of our post and the manner with which you’ve expressed it.

    But, I think the real crux of the matter is to see Johnson’s quote as starting from a faulty presupposition. According to orthodox Christianity, when Jesus returns, He will be returning first for the dead in Christ – which, of course, includes the entire history of mankind (not just since His atoning work on the Cross as Hebrews 11 and the thief on the Cross make clear) – and a nanosecond (or less) later those still alive. Conversely, Johnson, and other hyper-charismatics, have a ‘super-end-time-church’ theology. In this view, the end time “Christians” will outshine all their predecessors, including the first century Apostles, in miracles, signs, and wonders. This view is short-sighted in that it excludes the dead in Christ.

    I think you were correct last year in your statement that the Ephesians verses were about the completion of the entire body of Christ, ie, the addition of the not-yet-saved just prior to Christ’s return (which will include Israel which is currently experiencing a hardening – once the fullness of the Gentiles is completed (Romans 11:25-27)).

    Even still, I don’t see these verses as proclaiming we will actually fully attain to Christlikeness this side of glory. It seems to make more Biblical and logical sense that this could not happen until we receive our Resurrection bodies, when the perishable becomes imperishable (1 Cor 15:42-55). And, once we receive our imperishable bodies we will be able to participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – on the other side of glory.

  68. John says:

    Jesus is the head. The bride is the body. Jesus is returning for a bride that is like Jesus, that is a body in proportion to the head. He’s returning for a bride without spot or blemish.

  69. Craig says:

    Can you back up your claim from Scripture? Certainly, the Church collectively is termed the “body” of Christ. It’s also termed the bride; and, we are also known as sheep. But, what Scripture supports your idea that Jesus is “returning for a body in proportion to the head” and “He’s returning for a bride without spot or blemish”? Do you really believe we will be fully perfected – as perfect as Jesus Himself – when Jesus returns?

    Another thorny problem with this view is the dead saints before us. Scripturally they are part of the “body” / “bride” as well. If Jesus is only returning for a ‘perfected’ Church, what about the dead saints? How are these ‘perfected’?

  70. Pingback: Five Years On: Todd Bentley and Bob Jones Teaching Manifest Sons of God in 2008 | CrossWise

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