Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, part I

[See also: The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit, Part II, Part IIIa, Part IIIb and Part IV (Conclusion)]

Heresy has become the term used to describe anyone who disagrees with a particular leader, but that is not so.  We need to give more grace to those who differ from us.  The essential doctrines of the church – the Virgin Birth, the divinity and humanity of Jesus, the Atonement, and the like – qualify as issues we should fight for.

- Bill Johnson1

There are certainly those who are hasty in labeling doctrines as heresy when they are not really so.  This is both irresponsible and hurtful to the body of Christ.  Let’s call teachings heresy and teachers heretics only when this is indisputably evident.

By inference, it would be fair to assume that with Bill Johnson’s statement above he would define heresy as any doctrine which departs from the orthodox Christian teachings on the essentials of the faith.  These are “issues we should fight for” and Johnson should consider the following a fight, a defense of the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ and the Atonement over against Johnson’s own doctrine with respect to these essentials.

This article will restate and clarify Bill Johnson’s teaching on Christology – the study of the person and work of Jesus Christ – which has been the subject of many different articles here on CrossWise.  Johnson’s Christology will then be compared to that of New Age / New Spirituality teaching which is really not very ‘new’ as it goes all the way back to the early Church.

Preliminary Background

In Constance Cumbey’s pioneering work, the 1983 book The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, is the assertion that New Age Christology meets the test of antichrist as per the Apostle John in his first epistle [1 John 2:22].2  Cumbey notes that “New Agers generally do not openly repudiate Christianity”.  Instead “they often clothe New Age concepts in Christian language and…undermine Christianity while pretending to be its friend”.3  This was the specific goal outlined by Alice Bailey in her numerous writings (most of which were channeled through her by “Master Djwhal Khul”) and it’s these writings which form much of the basis for the current New Age / New Spirituality:4

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…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 [ED: occult/esoteric meaning].  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.5

In a 1982 letter to Cumbey, Marilyn Ferguson, author of the New Age book The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980’s, defends her professed stance as a ‘Christian’ yet she promotes liberal, non-Christian methods to expand Christianity while simultaneously denigrating orthodox teaching:

My definition of Christianity has expanded over the years.  After I became involved in meditation, for example, I experienced the vision of Christ more vividly than I ever had through sermons and dogma.  You would be surprised, I think, to know how much of the New Age Movement centers on Christ Consciousness.  Many Christian churches are seeing that direct spiritual experience offers a revitalization for modern Christianity.6

“Christ consciousness” is another term for the “expansion of consciousness” or “transformation of consciousness” akin to contemplative prayer aka centering prayer which are all in reality much like transcendental meditation (TM) in methodology. [See “Christ Consciousness” section of the “Christ” in the New Age article.]   Note how Ferguson stresses spiritual experience, i.e. mysticism, over “sermons or dogma”.  She appears to be following the agenda as set forth by Alice Bailey in the above quote.  As Bailey states elsewhere, “Christianity will not be superseded.  It will be transcended…”7

Bill Johnson’s Christology Explained

In essence, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, a recognized “apostle” by some, teaches that at conception, or at least prior to the Virgin Birth, Jesus divested Himself of all His divine attributes thereby living a sinless earthly existence by being totally reliant upon the Holy Spirit while receiving the power to do miracles at His baptism.  This divine self-emptying is known as the kenosis doctrine as discussed here.  The quotes used in this section are taken from six different books by Bill Johnson (and one sermon) to illustrate that this teaching undergirds his entire theology.

Jesus did everything as a man, laying aside His divinity in order to become a model for us.8

…Jesus did everything in His earthly ministry as a man who had set aside all His divine privileges and power in order to model the Christian life for us.9

..Jesus set aside His divinity, choosing instead to live as a man completely dependent on God.10

…He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin…11 

The above quotes can be construed such that Jesus retained all His divine attributes yet chose not to exercise them; however, the following illustrates that He no longer had inherent deity:12

Jesus Christ said of Himself, ‘The Son can do nothing.’  In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means NOTHING, just like it does in English!   He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!…He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.13 

…Jesus had no ability to heal the sick.  He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead.  He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’  He had set aside His divinity.  He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow….Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…14

Given that deity is by very definition supernatural, Johnson has, in effect, reduced Jesus to less than God.  With Johnson’s claim that Jesus had no inherent ability to perform miracles in and of Himself, it is clear that Johnson means Jesus no longer had his divine attributes to utilize even if He so desired.  He “had NO supernatural capabilities”; He was totally and completely a man but “in right relationship to God” by the Holy Spirit:

 The Father, by the Holy Spirit, directed all that Jesus said and did.15

Analytic theologian Oliver Crisp describes this view that Jesus Christ performed all His miracles by the Holy Spirit rather than His inherent divinity/deity as “not conventional”.16  Furthermore, this doctrine is simply not Biblically accurate.  Jesus certainly exercised His deity in providing life to whom He “is pleased to give it” [John 5:21, NIV 1984] during His earthly ministry pre-Cross [John 5:24-25; cf. Luke 23:43].17  This life-giving to the believer was performed by Jesus not as an agent through whom the Spirit worked but because Jesus had “life in himself” [John 5:26].18   In other words, the life Jesus Christ as God the Son gives to those who believe comes from God the Father since both are part of the Triune Godhead.  Jesus was not an intermediary per se in this regard.19

Johnson makes the explicit claim that Jesus became the Christ after coming up out of the water at His baptism in the Jordan by John when the Spirit came upon Him as a dove at which point He received the “Christ anointing” (see quote further below) contradicting Luke 1:35/2:11 [cf. Matt 1:22-23/Isaiah 7:14, etc.].  Brackets are inserted to provide explanation:

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

The word anointing means “to smear.”  The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism.  The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit [after water baptism in the Jordan].20

Admittedly, this is a bit confusing; but, with his concluding sentence above logic follows that if “the name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit” immediately following John’s baptism, then, by further implication, before baptism He must have been simply Jesus of Nazareth [again, contrary to Luke 1:35 / Luke 2:11].  Bill Johnson is more direct in the following:

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.21

In Christian orthodoxy the term “Christ” denotes deity/divinity22  which would mean that in Johnson’s Christology Jesus was not divine before the Holy Spirit came upon Him after His baptism by John in the Jordan and, consequently, Jesus would be made divine by virtue of this “Christ anointing” after which He is “qualified” to be called Christ.  This is exactly Johnson’s intended meaning:

The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.23

This statement flows logically from all the previous statements.  This “anointing” ‘enabled Him’ for He had “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” having laid His divine attributes aside.  To reiterate, if, as in the Johnson Christology, the ‘anointing’ “linked Jesus, the man, to the divine” then, as implied earlier, Jesus is merely a human made divine at baptism by virtue of the “Christ anointing” by the Holy Spirit coming upon Him.  Further, this would infer that as others receive this same “Christ anointing” they too would be “linked to the divine” in the same manner.  The following adds weight to this inference:

…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…24

Moreover, given that Jesus was called “Christ” when He was, as Johnson puts it, “smeared by the Holy Spirit”, believers should logically be called “Christ” at this “Christ anointing”, too.

Johnson calls Jesus’ second baptism in the Jordan (the first is water, the second follows and is by the Holy Spirit coming upon Him) the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and this is available to all who believe.25  This is consistent with the over-arching theme permeating all Johnson’s work that “Jesus is our model”.  After quoting John 1:32, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him” [NKJV] Johnson continues

…Certainly this is not talking about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that was already in Jesus’s life.  This was the inauguration of Jesus’s ministry, and the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Him [baptism in the Holy Spirit / “Christ anointing”] 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 GodThe same principle is true for us.

The Holy Spirit lives in every believer, but He rests upon very few…26

Johnson continues to drive home his assertion that Jesus was not inherently God but merely divine by virtue of the Holy Spirit as He was “perfectly trustworthy with the presence of God” (“the presence of God” being the “Christ anointing” or “baptism in the Holy Spirit”) so that the Spirit of God did “rest upon Him”.  And we can enjoy this same privilege if we are just as ‘faithful’ proving that we are “trustworthy”.

This anointing [“Christ anointing” / “baptism in the Holy Spirit”] is what enabled Jesus to do only what He saw the Father do, and to say only what He heard the Father say. It was the Holy Spirit that revealed the Father to Jesus.27 

It was the Holy Spirit upon Jesus [“baptism in the Holy Spirit” / “Christ anointing”]  that enabled Him to know what the Father was doing and saying.  That same gift of the Spirit has been given to us for that same purpose.28 

If the Son of God was that reliant upon the anointing, His behavior should clarify our need for the Holy Spirit’s presence upon us [“baptism in the Holy Spirit”] to do what the Father has assigned….This anointing [“Christ anointing”] is actually the person of the Holy Spirit upon someone to equip them for supernatural endeavors.29 

The second baptism deals with…getting us filled with God so we can walk with Him and more effectively represent Him as His agents of power on the earth.30

Without this “Christ anointing” there seems to be no possibility that God could perform supernatural works through an individual (including Jesus Christ) in Johnson’s theology.  The individual is simply powerless until this second “baptism in the Holy Spirit”.  In addition, one receives the ability to “walk with God” only after receiving this “Christ anointing” / “baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

Jesus’ inherent powerlessness is carried all the way beyond the Cross to the Resurrection thereby negating the efficacy of Jesus Christ’s Atonement for our sins.31  He cannot even raise Himself from the dead contrary to John 2:19/10:17-18:

…The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin).

The anointing Jesus received was the equipment necessary, given by the Father to make it possible for Him to live beyond human limitation…32

…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…33

Of course He did not raise Himself from the dead; He could not as He was “powerless” except by virtue of the “Christ anointing” according to Johnson.  Faulty Christology always has negative implications on the Atonement.

Bill Johnson’s Christology can certainly be described as heresy.  It is known as separationist Christology34 for it separates Christ from Jesus and vice versa.  By definition, as Cumbey states above, it meets the test of antichrist as it denies Jesus is the Christ [1 John 2:22] since He is only human (having “laid His divinity aside”) and becomes Christ only by virtue of the “Christ anointing” which also, in effect, denies Jesus is the Son of the Father (as opposed to merely a son) which in turn denies the Father [1 John 2:22-23];35 moreover, Johnson’s Christology denies that the person of Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [1 John 4:1-3] since it was merely Jesus of Nazareth who came in the flesh.

However, Johnson at times makes statements which appear entirely orthodox in and of themselves:

Jesus Christ was entirely God.  He was not a created being. Yet He became a man and lived entirely by man’s limitations…36

The first two sentences are completely orthodox while the third is not, yet this third sentence is consistent with Johnson’s Christology as put forth in the foregoing.  Confoundingly, these first two seem to contradict the rest of Johnson’s Christological doctrine – but, do they really?  Keeping in mind the Alice Bailey goal of “transcending” Christianity by “preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages” let’s compare the above with these two quotes from the well known New Age book The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ:

Before creation was, the Christ walked with the Father God…The Christ is son, the only son begotten by the Almighty God…37 

We recognize the facts that Jesus was man and that Christ was God, so that in very truth Jesus the Christ was the God-man of the ages.38

Notice how, in the New Age version, Christ is distinct from Jesus for Christ was God as God’s son while Jesus was merely a man.  This is not inconsistent with the Christological views of Johnson as shown in this article.  This will be explored in much more detail in Part II, Part IIIa, Part IIIb, and Part IV (Conclusion) of this article.

[For more on Johnson’s Christology, including more indications of a separationist Christology, see “The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit”.]

1Johnson, Bill Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence. 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL; p 71.  Emphasis in original.
2Cumbey, Constance. The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and Our Coming Age of Barbarism. 1983, rev. ed., Huntington House, Shreveport, LA; p 146.  This resource is also available as a free download at <https://public.me.com/cumbey> “HIDDEN DANG…ND COVER.pdf”
3Cumbey, Hidden Dangers, p 146.  Emphasis added.
4Cumbey, Hidden Dangers, p 39
5Bailey, Alice A. The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. © 1957 Lucis, NY, 6th printing 1981; Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY; pp 510-511; [underscore from emphasis in original; bold added for my own emphasis.] While the book was not published until 1957, most sections within the book have corresponding dates of initial writing, or, more accurately, transmission.  The portion quoted here is from 1919, some of the earliest writings of Bailey/The Tibetan.
6Cumbey, Hidden Dangers, pp 146-147
7Bailey, Alice A. From Bethlehem to Calvary:The Initiations of Jesus. © 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis Trust, 4th paperback ed., 1989; Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY; p 20.  Emphasis added.
8Johnson, Bill Strengthen Yourself in the Lord. 2007, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 26
9Johnson, Bill. Release the Power of Jesus. 2009, Destiny Image “Speaking to the Purposes of God for this Generation and the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
10Johnson, Bill Face to Face, p 108
11Johnson, Bill, When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. 2003, Treasure House/Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
12The terms “deity” and “divinity” are used throughout this article interchangeably (as always on CrossWise unless specifically identified otherwise) both defined as “God” or “godlikeness”.  Bill Johnson seems to prefer “divinity” over “deity” as the latter is not readily found in his material.  He uses “divinity” as in “godlikeness” e.g. divine attributes.
13Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 29.  Emphasis and last ellipsis as per original; underscore added for my emphasis.
14Johnson, Bill, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles. 2005, Destiny Image: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA; p 50.  Emphasis and last ellipsis as per original except underscore added for my emphasis.
15Johnson, Face to Face, p 108
16Crisp, Oliver D. Divinity and Humanity: The Incarnation Reconsidered. (Current Issues in Theology series) 2007, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK; p 25.  Crisp continues, “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.”  Crisp is being polite in not calling this view heterodox or heresy given that Crisp’s point was that such a view violates the Chalcedonian Creed which itself was codified in order to combat the heresies of its day and to provide a means by which to judge future doctrine.  To be at odds with Chalcedon is to be in the realm of heterodoxy.
17To make the claim that it was by the Holy Spirit that Jesus “gave life” logically infers that any Holy Spirit indwelt individual can give life to whom s/he chooses – obviously an incorrect assertion.
18Marianne Meye Thompson explains [The God of the Gospel of John. 2001, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI]: “[T]he Son partakes of the very life of the Father: the Son has life in himself.  Therefore, when Jesus confers life on those who believe, they also participate in and have to do with the life of the Father because the Father has given the Son to have life in himself, even as he has it.  Such predications assume and are dependent upon the conviction that there is but one God, one source of life.  Jesus is not a second deity, not a second source of life, standing alongside the Father.  Rather, the Son confers the Father’s life, which he has in himself” [p 78; italics in original, underscore added].  “[T]he Son exercises certain divine prerogatives and…exercises them even as God does….Jesus exercises these powers as no other figure – save God – can or does” [p 175].
19Herman Ridderbos expounds [The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary. 1997, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; translated from the Dutch by John Vriend], “Just as the Father as Creator and Consummator possesses life, he has given that possession to the Son, not merely as the executor of incidental assignments but in the absolute sense of sharing in the Father’s power.  And it is on account of that power and authority that the great decisive ‘hour’ of God is not only coming but here” (during the Incarnation).  [p 178; emphasis in original]
20Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79.  Underscore added; other emphasis in original.
21Johnson, Face to Face, p 109.  Underscore added; other emphasis in original.
22Grudem, Wayne Systematic Theology. 1994, Inter-Varsity, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 233-38, 543-554, 624-33.  Also, Berkhof, Louis Systematic Theology. 1941, 4th revised and enlarged ed, 1991, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 91-5, 312-13, 356-66.
23Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79.  Underscore added.
24Johnson, Face to Face, p 77.  Underscore added.
25Johnson, Face to Face, pp 79, cf. 21-22, 58, 77-82, 100-102
26Johnson, Face to Face, pp 21-22.  Underscore added.  “The first baptism deals with getting us out of the red…The second baptism deals with getting us into the black – getting us filled with God so we can walk with Him and more effectively represent Him as His agents of power on the earth” [p 58].
27Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 80.  Underscore added.  This creates a logical fallacy within the Johnson theology: if Jesus could only see/hear the Father by virtue of the “Christ anointing” He received at John’s baptism, how could He know to ‘be about His Father’s business’ [Luke 2:49] as a 12 year old?
28Johnson, Bill Dreaming with God: Secrets to Redesigning Your World Through God’s Creative Flow. 2006, Destiny Image: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA; p 136
29Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 80
30Johnson, Face to Face, p 58
31Insufficient Atonement means no salvation for the sinner.  No salvation means no eternal life!  As Erwin Lutzer contends [The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians. 1998, Kregel, Grand Rapids, MI]: “…The real question is whether [Jesus] Christ is capable of being the Savior of mankind” [p 33]. “If [Jesus] Christ is not God, then God has not saved us” [p 34].  “Only an incarnate Christ who is fully God qualifies to be Savior” [p 36].
32Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79.  Underscore added.
33“ewenhoffman” Maintaining the crosswalk- sermon of the week Feb 27th 2011. <http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2011/03/01/maintaining-the-crosswalk-sermon-of-the-week-feb-27th-2011/> 16:45-17:00.  Emphasis in original; underscore added.  As accessed 03/11/12.  Johnson stated the same basic thing on Facebook in mid-February of 2011 in an exchange with Kevin Moore: “…He needed to be raised from the dead. Acts 13 calls Him ‘the first born from the dead.’ He did not raise Himself. The Father through the Spirit raised Him…”
34This term is defined in Heikki Raisanen’s The Rise of Christian Beliefs [2010, Fortress, Minneapolis, MN; p 208].
35Judith M. Lieu [I, II & III John: A Commentary. 2008, Westminster John Knox, Louisville, KY] makes an excellent point on this verse by putting it in proper context: “It appears that what sounds like the traditional formula of belief in Jesus as Messiah has taken on a new dimension of sonship…This confirms that the force of the correct confession is ‘that Jesus is the Christ,’ and not, as is grammatically possible, ‘that the Christ [about whom we know] is Jesus [rather than someone else or as not yet appeared]’…The author’s logic is simple and can be understood within its immediate context.  His strategy is to start from what matters: the real charge is not about ‘the Christ,’…Rather, it is that the antichrist denies the Father and the Son: this is no longer denial of belief about (‘that’) but a refusal to acknowledge…it is ultimately a question of acknowledging, or denying the Son…the Son is Son only in relation to the Father, and the Father is Father only in relation to the Son; to reject the Son is to reject both, even if this was not the intention” [p 106].  While Lieu refers to “sonship” this explanation works just as well with the respect to separationist Christology.
36Johnson, Face to Face, p 199.  Johnson’s phraseology here sounds not like ontological kenosis but rather metamorphosis instead: God the Son literally transforms Himself into a fully human being devoid of any deity/divinity.
37Dowling, Levi. The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ: The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age of the World. © 1907 Eva S. Dowling and Leo W. Dowling, © 1935 and © 1964 Leo W. Dowling, (11th printing, 1987), DeVorss, Marina del Rey, CA; p 6.  On page 3 is the following from the “Introduction” by Eva S. Dowling: “The full title of this book is ‘The Aquarian Age Gospel of Jesus, the Christ of the Piscean Age’…”
38Dowling, Aquarian Gospel, p 8

358 Responses to Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, part I

  1. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hey — I just remembered someone who follows Johnson telling me that they didn’t believe that Jesus was divine until after His resurrection. Now, I’m not sure if the individual who said this was a follower of Johnson at the time that he said this, but it makes me wonder what Johnson teaches about the resurrection. I know that this person now follows Johnson.

    Does he ever make a distinction between Jesus before and after the resurrection?

    I’ve heard this theology espoused by other Christians as well, and I was wondering where they got this view from.

    It almost seems to be the next step in un-deifiying Jesus, and I could see how a Johnson follower could come to that conclusion.

  2. Craig says:

    It depends on how one views Johnson’s Christology. Since Jesus was only Christ by virtue of the “Christ anointing” one could argue that He was still not yet divine. Johnson does state that Jesus “re-inherited” everything He gave up during the Incarnation upon either Resurrection or (most likely) Ascension.

    According to the New Age view, one (anyone) becomes a manifested son of God after the Cross [dying to self] and an Ascended Master at the Resurrection/Ascension (the two are grouped together). As an Ascended Master one is fully divine. As an MSoG one is very close to fully divine (as I understand it).

  3. Craig says:

    Sorry, I should have explained that better. According to the New Age view, Jesus is a pattern we are to follow to gain our own salvation. Jesus had five “initiations”: Virgin Birth, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Transfiguration, the Cross/Great Renunciation (dying to self), and Resurrection/Ascension. If we follow this same path, then we can become a god – just like Jesus. And, of course, as Bill Johnson always says “Jesus is our model”.

    This will be explained further in part II with specific Johnson references used throughout for comparison.

  4. Paul Munro says:

    Thanks for this Craig- a very nice summary of Johnson’s Christology that will be handy to share. Have you read Macleod’s “The Person of Christ”? He has a fantastic chapter on kenotic theory (and is against it himself) in which he even posits that those who hold to the kenotic view tend to want their Chalcedonian cake and eat it too: they would like to declare their orthodoxy whilst also teaching that Christ divested Himself of His divine attributes in the process of incarnation…without realising (or admitting honestly) that Chalcedon does not allow for this type of kenosis…looking forward to Part II!!!!

  5. Craig says:

    Paul,

    No, I’ve not heard of Macleod or his book. But, I do agree with his stance of the kenotic theory as you state it. Looking over Macleod’s book on Amazon, it looks like a good read.

    I find it very interesting that modern kenosis theories took hold in the mid-nineteenth through late nineteenth century right about the time of the advent of a number of esoteric religions/cults (Thesosophy, New Thought, Christian Science, Unity, etc).

  6. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Hurry, please! Give us Part 2! We need this discernment. Great job! I hope you will comment on Romans 8:11, Acts 2:24, for example.

  7. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    I’m not sure if I’ll mention these verses specifically (Romans 8:11 and Acts 2:24) in part II (it’s not finished, but I know it’s going to be l-o-n-g); but, for now I will say that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead as did God the Holy Spirit and Jesus Himself did as well for they are all part of the Trinitarian Godhead – God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; so, GOD raised Jesus from the dead! To claim Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead, once again, is to make the claim that Jesus was not God.

  8. Arwen4CJ says:

    @Craig,

    Thanks. Yeah, I can see how a Johnson follower (or someone who follows another NAR leader who preaches similar things to Johnson) might come to a variety of conclusions about Jesus, since the group Johnson hangs around with devalues theology. From what I’ve seen of Johnson and the others in NAR, they do not seem to explain their theology very clearly — it’s all kind of vague.

    So, as long as someone preaches healing and supernatural power (and is able to manifest such things in acceptable ways within the NAR circles), the actual content of things like Christology isn’t very important to them :(

    They seem way more concerned with making people feel like God loves them and that they teach about spiritual experiences — this almost seems to be the most important message within their ministries. This means that they have a lot of wide space in which to move in regard to certain theological points.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t just a problem within the hypercharismatic community. I know Christians in mainline denominations who are also confused about Jesus. In fact, I felt like a minority in my theology class when I said that I believed that Jesus was co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Most people that I encountered in my theology class didn’t believe that Jesus is the same God as the Father — they don’t believe that Jesus was Yahweh. It was very disturbing :(

    Even my mom, who has been in a mainline denomination all her life told me that she didn’t believe that Jesus was God while He was on earth, and that the resurrected Jesus was different — had somehow become God.

    So…if this idea is prevalent in mainline denominations by average Christians, Johnson and those like him are only making the problem worse with their kenosis doctrine.

    Since Johnson teaches what he does about Jesus, his followers can come to any number of conclusions, it seems — which partially might be dependent on the belief system that they were raised with or have accepted.

    1.) That Jesus was not co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit, and was simply a man that God used for His purposes — and only became God once He was resurrected or ascended. Taken further, Jesus wasn’t unique because we can all become just like Jesus — we can all become God.

    2.) That Jesus was co-eternal with the Father, but left all of His God powers in heaven, came down to Earth and lived as a man. After the resurrection or ascension, He got His God powers back. Taken further, Jesus was God before the incarnation, stopped being God at the incarnation, and became God again after the resurrection or ascension. Taken yet further, if Jesus lived His life as just a man and then became God, then we too can become God

    3.) They would try to say that Johnson meant that Jesus didn’t stop being God and didn’t get rid of His divine powers, but just chose not to use them — to rely on the Holy Spirit instead.

    4.) A person might still be a follower of Johnson while ignoring some things that Johnson says through the theory of “chewing the meat and spitting out the bones.” :( Thus, they could pick and choose anything they wanted to from Johnson’s teachings and reject the rest. Since these teachers support this type of thinking, it might not be important to Johnson’s followers what the man teaches. They see him “moving in the things of God,” and that is all they care about. Of course someone who thinks this way would have to ingest some of Johnson’s theology — and the longer they did so, the more poisoned by it they would become.

    Now, I think there is a spectrum with both of these ideas — and that some people would ascribe to these ideas moreso than others — some people would go all the way while others might try to simply say that Jesus was unique, and that He is the only person who could become God. Others might say that Jesus never stopped being God, even though He “gave up His divine powers,” and they would find the idea that Jesus ever was not God to be disgusting.

    Some of these ideas would need to ignore some of the things that Johnson has said. Such as if someone held to #3, as you pointed out. When Johnson spoke about Jesus giving up his divine abilities in context, it was clear that Johnson said that Jesus gave them up on Earth — that He COULDN’T use them.

  9. Craig says:

    Very good synopsis!

  10. Bill Fawcett says:

    There is no question that Johnson’s Christology is confusing and unclear.

    And yet Johnson, in response to my direct question, affirmed the eternal diety of Christ:

    “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!”-Bill Johnson, Facebook 3/21/2011

    I asked him the question because is his Christology is confusing and unclear. Hope this clears it up.

  11. Craig says:

    Clears what up exactly? Did you read the entire article?

  12. Craig says:

    Perhaps I’ll pose the question differently by giving an analogy. John Doeful is arrested for murder and there’s substantial evidence to prove his guilt. Yet he claims that he did not commit the murder as he was home all night watching TV. Do we take him at his word or do we assess the overwhelming evidence over against his statement?

  13. Craig says:

    BTW, I plan on using that exact Facebook quote from 3/21/11 in part II.

  14. Bill Fawcett says:

    I’m guessing that a *Judge* will probably determine John Doeful’s guilt.

    Words have significance- if you believe that we are saved by belief in our heart AND confession WITH our mouth.

    While I disagree with those who subscribe to kenotic “cloaking,” I consider such theology abberant, not heretical. If Johnson IS a heretic, then by definition he is already damned to hell and is beyond salvation. Of course, since you have implied that he has the anti-Christ spirit, I suppose you have come to that conclusion. Which is your right, I suppose.

    However, the supplied quote, which you were aware of, and convienienty left out of the article, is pertinent in that it was a response to a direct question which I asked in order to gain clairification.

  15. Craig says:

    Bill Fawcett,

    Johnson has already shown me he’s not afraid to ‘manipulate’ the truth in these two very short articles here:

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

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

    That is unless someone can explain to me how Johnson’s acquisition of the Roberts Liardon library in 2008 somehow still lines up with Jim Goll’s ‘prophetic foretelling word’ of its future acquisition in 2009 as Johnson plays in the video.

    It’s quite obvious by Johnson’s words that, at best, he’s teaching ontological kenosis [Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever”] which is heresy although even functionalist kenosis does not match up with Scripture [cf John 5:21-26] which makes it also by definition heresy. (Oliver Crisp calls it “not conventional”; and, what is “not conventional” but “unorthodox” which means “not orthodox”?)

    However, by claiming Jesus was not ‘Christ’ until His “baptism in the Holy Spirit” / “Christ anointing” [“without the experience there could be no title”] and that this “anointing” is what “linked Jesus, the man, to the divine” proves Johnson’s jesus is not divine during the Incarnation and not the one of the Bible. Furthermore, by separating “Christ” from the person of Jesus this is by very definition antichrist per the Apostle John. This is not Craig’s opinion, this is borne out by comparing to Scripture and it is known as separationist Christology rather than just kenosis.

    I’ve no problem with you providing the quote. In fact, anyone is free to supply whichever quote they’d like. I just don’t see how it “clears up” Bill Johnson’s Christology as I carefully laid out in the article. And, as I stated earlier, I plan on using this exact quote in part II (the article is not finished (obviously, as this is part I) and I don’t appreciate your words that this quote was “conveniently left out of the article”). But, any quote must, out of all fairness, be filtered through and/or compared with the rest of Johnson’s Christological teaching.

  16. Martin says:

    Can i just say Craig, credit where credit is due. I really feel that you have presented this in a much more balanced way!

    Obviously, i am in agreement that what is being said, has definately got the potential to be misconstrued, but just because you have used orthodox theologians to back up your interpretation, does not necessarily make your interpretation correct.

    The way i read the Christ anointing thing, is that it is not enough to merely be called Christ…but that the Holy Spirit endorses that title, with the annointing. Not that he became Christ at his baptism…that would just be stupid. I see the concept of endorsement in what Johnson says.

    I know we have had this discussion before, but i know you have a great beef about Johnson claiming that Jesus laid aside his divinity, like he somehow became ‘just a man’. Would he not contradict himself? He has in other places said that he is ‘fully God’. Could he not be fully God, yet not utilise the resources at hand, because he had to experience being like a man, in order to redeem man? Can he not be fully God and fully man, and not utilise(lay to one side) his Glory.

    It would be the height of stupidity for any Christian to say that Jesus was ever just a man. Are you accusing Johnson of being an idiot? He’s not that stupid.

    I do believe you are misconstruing Johnsons words and emphasising your own interpretation.If the powers of darkness are at work through Johnson, as you are claiming – they aren’t very bright!!

  17. Bill Fawcett says:

    whatever…

  18. Bill Fawcett says:

    Was hoping the quote, which would have gone well with the others, would clear of the question of Johnson’s view of the eternal diety of the Son. I agree with you that the comments about the Holy Sprit are confusing and misleading. However, one is not heretic just because he is a lousy teacher – and Johnson IS a lousy teacher. And make no mistake about it, I think what he teaches is abberent.

    Because there are parallels between hsi teaching and some old new age stuff does not mean he has an anti-christ spirit. I think your logic has failed in this area, but as as both know, I do not agree with your new age conclusions and think the article would be much improved with its removal.

    Sorry you didn’t appreciate my comments. Guess Johnson doesn’t appreciate yours. :)

  19. Craig says:

    Martin,

    If I am a false teacher who is deliberately trying to lead others astray would I put forth a perfectly coherent Christology or one that seems to sound right at times while at others does not in order to confuse?

    I challenge you to take just one quote in the article and match it up with my interpretation and show me how my interpretation somehow takes Johnson’s quote out of context or somehow miscontrues it when considering all the quotes in this article.

    You wrote, “The way i read the Christ anointing thing, is that it is not enough to merely be called Christ…but that the Holy Spirit endorses that title, with the annointing. Not that he became Christ at his baptism…that would just be stupid. I see the concept of endorsement in what Johnson says.”

    Re: the “Christ anointing” aka “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” – When Jesus received this, He received the title of ‘Christ’ for “without the experience there could be no title”. Furthermore, Johnson states, “…The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil”. Linking Jesus “to the divine” logically implies Jesus Himself was not divine.

    Since this same “Christ anointing” is also for the Church, then logically once we receive this we would earn the title of Christ, correct? Here’s a quote from the forthcoming part II:

    The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Kristos [ED: actually “Christos”] and means anointed. It is identical with the Hebrew word Messiah. The word Christ, in itself, does not refer to any particular person; every anointed person is christed… [Dowling, Aquarian Gospel, p 6]

    “Every anointed person is christed” – does this not sound like the same thing as the “Christ anointing”?:

    …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…

    However, there is a distinction with Jesus receiving His title of Christ when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as dove which will be covered in part II. Yet, I do agree with you about “endorsement”.

  20. Craig says:

    Bill Fawcett,

    I’ve not even reached my conclusion yet on Johnson’s New Age Christology as that will be in the second part.

    New Agers agree on the eternal deity of the Son; Master Jesus is now deity and Christ has always been deity.

    Heresy is defined [Donald McKim, Westminster Dictionary of Theological terms, Westminster John Knox, 1996]:

    – A view chosen instead of the official teachings of a church. Such a view is thus regarded as wrong and potentially dangerous for faith.

    Also:

    heresy, christological – A view that is not consistent with official church teachings or doctrines about the person of Jesus Christ.

    With all due respect, you apparently do not know enough about New Age teachings as they are both very old and quite contemporary. And, not surprisingly, they are by definition antichrist as Cumbey correctly points out – just like Johnson’s separationist Christology. My intent (in part II) is to show a connection between Johnson’s Christology and New Age Christology and I do believe I have enough information to at least cause pause in this regard. I’m sure not all will be convinced, though.

    I’ve no problem with your Bill Johnson quote or even your comments; my issue was the “conveniently left out” part without giving me the benefit of the doubt that its inclusion could be in a subsequent part of this obviously unfinished article. But, I’m sure you’re correct that Johnson doesn’t appreciate my comments on this matter.

  21. Martin says:

    Just a quick thought as it’s quite late – without the experience there could be no title e.g if an apple tree did not produce apples – would it cease to be an apple tree? Without the endorsement(or event) the title would not fit. So therefore the endorsement confirms the title.

    I am in absolute agreement that some of what being taught can be misinterpreted. But i cannot understand how anyone would hold that view, in light of Johns’ Gospel and particularly the first Chapter. It does not make sense to me. It would be utter foolishness to make Jesus out to be just a man – who became the Christ in an experience. That clearly is not an intelligent statement, because it would clearly contradict scripture.

    All i can say is there are several ways of interpreting what is being said, absolutely. I can understand entirely your viewpoint and why you are looking at his quotes in such a way.

    I think Johnson needs to clarify his stance on these issues, for sure.

  22. Craig says:

    Could the endorsement confer the title?

    I’m glad we at least partially agree. :)

    I left a lot of the more technical info to the footnotes to make the reading of the article a bit easier. Here’s what I wrote in footnote 36:

    Johnson’s phraseology here sounds not like ontological kenosis but rather metamorphosis instead: God the Son literally transforms Himself into a fully human being devoid of any deity/divinity.

  23. Craig says:

    Also, in footnote 16 is the following which completes the Oliver Crisp quote and my commentary following that:

    Crisp continues, “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.” Crisp is being polite in not calling this view heterodox or heresy given that Crisp’s point was that such a view violates the Chalcedonian Creed which itself was codified in order to combat the heresies of its day and to provide a means by which to judge future doctrine. To be at odds with Chalcedon is to be in the realm of heterodoxy.

  24. Craig says:

    Martin,

    You wrote, “But i cannot understand how anyone would hold that view, in light of Johns’ Gospel and particularly the first Chapter.”

    I suppose you mean especially John 1:14? Wait until part II…

  25. Arwen4CJ says:

    @Bill Fawcett,

    I appreciate that you took the time to ask him directly about what he believes because he is isn’t clear — but the problem is that he appears to end up talking in circles. (Saying that Jesus was eternally God, yet also saying that Jesus gave up His divine powers while on earth.)

    The thing is that his followers can be confused by what Bill teaches. If people have to ask him direct questions about his Christology, because they don’t think he’s clear — then I would think he would start trying to be more clear to avoid confusion. He has to know that he isn’t clear. You couldn’t be the only one who ever asked him that question.

    You see, his followers can and do come to various conclusions based on what Johnson says. Not everyone is going to see his facebook response.

    And it doesn’t seem like Johnson is consistent. I still would like Johnson to state very clearly what he believes about Jesus — like if he wrote his Christological position. Even his answer to you was not that clear — I guess it would depend on the question you asked him. I think different people could read that statement and still come to different conclusions about what Johnson was saying. My point is that he doesn’t clearly state his position with detailed explanations.

    To me, it seems like he is saying that Jesus, although he was always co-eternal with the Father, He gave up His divine powers and lived on earth as only a man. But that is somewhat double-talk still. He needed to talk about what he said about Jesus laying down the divine powers. In his book, he says that Jesus could not access them while on earth. He needed to dig into that and state — “I know I said this, but many people misinterpret that quote. This is what I really believe….” And then he needs to explain it.

    It’s kind of like John Shelby Spong writing a book about how he didn’t believe Jesus was raised from the dead, and then when he is asked — point blankly about it — he starts redefining what it means for Jesus to resurrect. He starts talking about some sort of spiritual resurrection thing….

  26. Craig says:

    Here’s another comment in a footnote (# 27):

    This creates a logical fallacy within the Johnson theology: if Jesus could only see/hear the Father by virtue of the “Christ anointing” He received at John’s baptism, how could He know to ‘be about His Father’s business’ [Luke 2:49] as a 12 year old?

  27. Bill Fawcett says:

    Arwen, I would be the first to agree that Johnson’s followers are confused- and as a result of his teaching, combined with things they have heard elsewhere, often come up with a hodge-podge of heresy. I don’t blame it all on Johnson, most of his followers werer probably a bit off before they even heard of bethel. If Johnson had the gift of teaching perhaps he could address that, but he doesn’t, and he seems to take perverse pleasure in making provocative and edgy statements. the whole thing is rather unpleasant.

    It’s fairly obvious to me that Johnson is teaching, in saying that He laid His divinity aside, that Jesus never ceased to be divinity, but rather “cloaked” it during the incarnation. It’s a rather common charismatic view, and I was one for 30 odd years, so I should know. A theological nuance indeed, but a nuance that IMHO keeps him on this side of heresy, as far as Christology is concerned.

    This simplistic viewpoint fails to recognize that the signs and wonders Jesus did confirmed His divinity. This is where the cognitive dissonance set in.

    Jesus calmed the sea. Since then, no one but Kenneth Copeland has been sucessful at quenching storms by command. This, of course, proves the divinity of both Jesus and Copeland. :)

  28. Arwen4CJ says:

    Martin,
    Sadly there are people in Christian churches who do not believe that Jesus was God–I know people who believe this way, and some of them are Bill Johnson followers…not all of them. Does it contradict Scripture? Of course. But I’ve seen many times that people can be blinded to the clear meaning of Scripture, even intelligent people. I do not believe that these people are stupid, but rather that they are deceived.

  29. Arwen4CJ says:

    Also, for Bill Johnson to suggest that Jesus did not have access to His divine abilities while on earth does deflate some of the biblical arguments for His deity.

    For example, even my liberal New Testament professor pointed out that for Jesus to control water (walk on water and calm storms) was a very important argument for His deity. He said that in the ancient world, especially with the Jews, having power over the water was something that was attributed only to God. Thus, Jesus showed the disciples that He was Yahweh by walking on water and calming storms.

    NAR followers talk about walking on water and stopping storms, etc.

    By claiming that we can do all the stuff that Jesus did (including walking on water and speaking to water in order to calm it) brings Jesus down and us up.

    There were some things that Jesus did that were meant to show humanity that He was God while He walked the earth.

  30. Arwen4CJ says:

    Bill Fawcett,

    LOL — I just posted a comment about Jesus calming the storm before I read your comment just now :)

    And I agree that the fact that Bill Johnson’s followers are confused isn’t entirely his fault. He just isn’t doing anything to help them out. And yes…I agree with you when you said, “he seems to take perverse pleasure in making provocative and edgy statements.” To me, that just adds an unholy and irreverent attitude to his teaching…making it, yes, very unpleasant.

    Thanks for explaining your take on Johnson’s teaching better. Yes, that seems to be what he is teaching, and I think that’s what he’s trying to convey — but his statement that Jesus didn’t have access to His divine attributes and that he couldn’t use them — make it sound like he is almost saying that Jesus wasn’t divine — thus, some of his followers come to that conclusion. It just makes for a very unclear Christology.

    I can see what you’re saying about not wanting to call Johnson a heretic. I don’t know that I would generally use that term for him myself, but I do strongly believe that he is a false teacher in that he is teaching things that are off. If Johnson outright said that Jesus was not God, that would be another story. I would definitely consider him a heretic. You’re right that he does appear to uphold Jesus’ deity with the facebook comment.

    Agreed — the signs and wonders that Jesus did conformed His divinity. You’re right in saying that this is where the cognitive dissonance sets in, and I think this is why his followers are confused — and also why it’s possible to suggest that Johnson might not be upholding Jesus’ deity.

    Actually, I’m guessing that more charismatics claim to calm storms. Heidi Baker apparently claimed to speak to a hurricane and tell it to go away from her farm (or so I was told by people who watched a webcast of her ‘teaching.’)

    Sigh….

    LOL — your comment at the end :)

  31. cherylu says:

    Just a quick note here. I have been surprised in the last few years at how many Christians, even those that are not charismatic, believe that Jesus didn’t use His divine powers while on this earth. They believe that He was divine but only did what He did through the Holy Spirits power. They insist that if He used His divinity, He would not of been the perfect representative man–the second Adam that He had to be to save us.

    I am not at all sure that is a whole lot different then the “self imposed restriction” Johnson said He chose to live under–while stating that He was and is eternally God and that never changed.

  32. Craig says:

    For the moment I’m going to lay aside Johnson’s various statements that Jesus laid aside His divinity and focus on just one quote. First, here’s the Apostle John:

    19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

    20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. [John 2:19-21; NIV]

    This, in conjuction with John 10:17-18, illustrates that Jesus raised Himself from the dead. Of course, this is because He was part of the Trinitarian God as it was God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.

    Now here’s this one Bill Johnson quote:

    …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…

    First, this statement is consistent with the belief that Jesus did all His miracles in virtue of the Holy Spirit. However, this not only violates Scripture as shown above; this doctrine illustrates that Jesus had no inherent divinity in order to raise Himself. Simultaneously, this destroys the efficacy of the Atonement. Therefore, with just this one statement Bill Johnson denies not one, but two essentials of the faith: Jesus Christ’s deity and the Atonement.

    In footnote #31 is the following:

    Insufficient Atonement means no salvation for the sinner. No salvation means no eternal life! As Erwin Lutzer contends [The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians. 1998, Kregel, Grand Rapids, MI]: “…The real question is whether [Jesus] Christ is capable of being the Savior of mankind” [p 33]. “If [Jesus] Christ is not God, then God has not saved us” [p 34]. “Only an incarnate Christ who is fully God qualifies to be Savior” [p 36].

  33. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Somewhat recently I was on a Baptist forum in which the commenters there asserted the same thing – that Jesus did all His miracles by the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this heresy has become quite pervasive.

    As to Johnson, I would agree with your view re: “self imposed restriction” if it weren’t for the myriad other BJ statements which contradict a ‘mere’ functionist kenotic interpretation. If Johnson’s jesus had His divine traits intact yet chose not to use them he would not use such phraseology as “He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” and “Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help“.

    We have to wonder how Johnson would define “eternally” and/or what he means when he says “Jesus was/is God”. Does this mean Jesus WAS God pre-incarnate and then IS God post-Ascension? This would make sense in his quote that Jesus “gave up everything to become a man” and then he “re-inherited” it all. His many quotes lend themselves to a non-divine incarnate Jesus.

  34. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    He did say that Jesus was/is eternally God and that never changed. That doesn’t sound like he wasn’t God during the incarnation.

  35. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    OK, so then how does that square with the other quotes of Bill Johnson?

  36. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Regarding my comment above at 10:53: by logical inference Johnson is denying an incarnate divine Jesus by claiming He did not raise Himself from the dead. This also, by logical inference, denies Jesus was eternally God – at least during the Incarnation.

    And then we have to somehow interpret the quotes at footnotes 13, 14, 23, 24, 26, & 32 especially through this statement and we find they are not congruent with it.

    So, we have to wonder what Johnson means by “that never changed” when he effectively denies Incarnate eternality in many other statements.

  37. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    As you may remember from past conversations, I don’t know how it all squares. Maybe it just plain doesn’t. Maybe he is an incoherent teacher that doesn’t even stop to think through all the implications of what he says. I don’t know. Maybe he is someone that uses terminology in a very imprecise way. Maybe being what I call a “hypercharismatic”, precise doctrine and explanation of doctrine is just not all that important to him. “Relationship” is often valued way above “doctrine” in charismatic circles. So maybe it doesn’t bother him that much if his Christology comes across as confused and off base to the rest of us. It gets across what he want it to about our relationship to God and that we can do what He did if we are filled with the Spirit too.

    You may be right/you may be wrong. I don’t know for sure. But with as many times as he has made statements that seem very orthodox on this whole issue, I think he has to at least be given the benefit of the doubt.

    I don’t think that being a deliberate deceiver that is out to draw people away from the truth is by any means the only option that is available here. And I realize that you haven’t said for sure that is what you think, but it seems that you may be implying it any way.

    I believe he is way off base in many ways. But I still think we need to be very careful to not make things appear even worse then they maybe really are.

  38. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    If Johnson is that bad of a teacher then we really can’t determine what he means by any of his statements. However, as the 2nd part of this article will illustrate much of his Christology and other peripheral teachings seem to line up with a good number of New Age teachings.

  39. Craig says:

    Here’s something to think about: Let’s assume for a moment that the whole point of stating that Jesus relied entirely on the Holy Spirit during His earthly life was to be a model for us as Johnson claims. Why would Johnson have to carry this all the way to the Resurrection and violate John 2:19-21 and 10:17-18 and destroying the Atonement (as per orthodoxy) in the process? If the point is that we can imitate Jesus during His earthly existence as a “man” then what is the point of having Jesus raised “by the Father through the Spirit” rather by Himself and the rest of the Trinity when His humiliation (the theological term for the period of conception through to the Cross) was finished and His exaltation had begun? This would not be necessary, would it?

    That is, unless there’s another overriding reason for it. This happens to fit quite well in New Age theology.

  40. cherylu says:

    The resurrection was still during His incarnation on this earth. So if Johnson all of a sudden says that He raised Himself, then He is acting as God–not as the perfect model for us. Makes sense to me looking at it from Johnson’s perspective. Probably not even Johnson goes so far as to say that in our doing and being like Jesus that we will have the power to raise ourselves from phyical death. So if He is being the true model for us as Johnson explains it, I would think He would have to be raised by the Father and not raise Himself.

  41. mbaker says:

    Craig,

    While arguably Bill Johnson may be a very poor teacher of the Bible and expositor of the word of God, but to imply that he is new age or has an anti-christ spirit because of such comparisons is committing a logical fallacy. Correlation is not causation. If it were, then we could apply such generalizations to logically conclude that anyone who has ever been part of a church with bad theology, or anyone who has ever made errors in preaching or teaching is in theory a heretic as well, condemned to hell forever.

    However, we know that is not true. There are several posters on this blog who have been part of churches with bad theology at one time or another, but by no stretch of the imagination could it be construed they are or were embracing new age beliefs such as Alice Bailey promotes, or having an anti-christ spirit since they did not and do not deny Christ is and was eternally God., and came in the flesh. By his own words Johnson has not done that either, although granted his teachings are, to put it mildly, extremely contradictory in many respects.

    As was pointed out above, we are all saved by grace, through faith, by professing Christ as our risen Lord and Savior, and this despite our sins both before and after conversion, and, yes, even our bad theology. This is certainly not in any way excusing or condoning Johnson’s aberrant teachings, or giving anyone who follows him a free pass for not checking out themselves the obvious errors that have been brought out about his ministry. We can and should judge bad theology, and improper behavior in the church, indeed scripture compels all of us to, however we cannot judge the hearts of men. Only God knows who are really his.

    So to compare Christians with new agers is like comparing apples and oranges. There may indeed be some similarities, but are there not some similarities in other religions who also do not profess Jesus as risen Savior and Lord? Again correlation does not equal causation. Apples are round, so are oranges. They are both fruit. Both grow on trees and both have seeds. However they are two entirely different kinds. Thus the saying they can’t be compared.

  42. Carolyn says:

    Any way you slice it, these are “strange teachings”…for itching ears. Bill Johnson is adding his own assumptions to the plain teaching of the Word. He stops short of the Word with half quotes and paraphrases to fit his different gospel. Nothing new under the sun.

    What is the thing that angered the Pharisees more than anything about Christ (besides the fact that they were jealous of his popularity)? It was that he said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. When you think about that and also consider Peter’s confession, “thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”…there is no other message with any power to forgive sins. Christ is eternally divine…before his incarnation and forever more. To believe anything else is antichrist. The truth that Christ is fully divine is paramount to the true gospel message.

    BJ’s quotes: The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine. That is a lie. Jesus set aside his divinity. That is a lie. Jesus emptied himself of his divinity. Also a lie.
    Just for clarity, here is the Scripture:
    Philippians 2:6-8 (King James Version)
    6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

    …no reputation…made in the likeness of men…humbled himself…obedient unto death…

    at the same time….equal with God!!

    And my Bible says:
    1 John 4:3
    And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

    Where I agree this fits with New Age is…if Christ can be annointed, so can we. If he can have the divine within, so can we. If Christ had the God consciousness within, so can we. We are being set up to accept the lie of our own divinity.

    Instead, we must accept the truth that Christ is God because he said so and that we are not divine and never will be. Otherwise, we will be fall prey to an increasing strong delusion and our steps will be darkened by the expanding shadows spreading from the New Age conspiracy.

  43. Craig says:

    mbaker,

    You wrote, “Correlation is not causation.” and “Again, correlation does not equal causation.” I would agree; but, the thing is, I’ve not yet even made my points about how Johnson’s teachings could be New Age here in this first part as I’ve barely touched on it. I close this part out with the following:

    Notice how, in the New Age version, Christ is distinct from Jesus for Christ was God as God’s son while Jesus was merely a man. This is not inconsistent with the Christological views of Johnson as shown in this article. This will be explored in much more detail in the second part of this article.

    The following is for the general readership, but I will quote you since you reference others, “As was pointed out above, we are all saved by grace, through faith, by professing Christ as our risen Lord and Savior, and this despite our sins both before and after conversion, and, yes, even our bad theology.”

    This statement is of course true in and of itself generally. However, given that wolves in sheep’s clothing are by definition appearing to be the real deal (sheep) yet are inwardly wolves trying to lead the flock astray, wouldn’t we expect a profession of faith from these individuals? Wouldn’t we expect the appearance of orthodoxy at times mixed with unorthodoxy? Otherwise how would these wolves lead others astray? And, how do we recognized these wolves? Answer: by their fruit. The fruit of bad doctrine and practice (this is not to say that all those who have bad theology are wolves, of course).

    A confusing Christology amidst the very rare professions of proper Christology must give one pause. If we take Johnson’s Facebook quote as his profession of Christian orthodoxy with respect to Christology, then we must ask why he does not go back and correct the myriad of misleading and flat out false statements which contradict this. His book When Heaven Invades Earth has gone through multiple printings yet it is (as far as I’ve seen) essentially unchanged. Wouldn’t Johnson take strides to correct these statements in this book? {And this is but one example.}

  44. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    Thanks again for your comment and for taking Johnson’s statements here at face value rather than re-interpreting them through an orthodox theological lens. By separating the person of Jesus from Christ he is by very definition teaching an antichrist doctrine (again, excepting Johnson’s rare expressions of Christological orthodoxy which flatly contradict the majority of his teachings). And, as part II will demonstrate and you describe, this is New Age doctrine which makes us into potential gods with the spark of godhood already within – it just needs to be awakened.

  45. Carolyn says:

    If someone can’t see that Bill Johnson weaves back and forth between obvious contradictory statements, then I would suggest that they are a victim of a “I’ll see what I want to see” mentality.

    Craig, you illustrated his distortions exceptionally well! Black and white.

  46. cherylu says:

    Carolyn,

    I don’t think anyone here is at all denying that Johnson is contradictory. I think we are, however, tending to interpret those contradictions in differing ways.

  47. Craig says:

    For those who’ve not read this, the previous article on here questions whether Johnson’s teaching on repentance and renewing your mind could be similar to NA teachings:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/learning-etymology-with-bill-johnson-a-new-age-repentance/

    This Bill Johnson quote starts it off:

    Many prominent authors and conference speakers add fuel to the fire of fear assuming that because the new age movement promotes it, its origins must be from the devil…

    Apparently, he is not afraid to use New Age methodologies going under the assumption there could be a ‘Christian’ root.

    The article closes with the following:

    It is clear that Johnson’s explanation of repentance and renewing the mind are at odds with historical orthodox Christianity. While some of the wording is peculiar, this peculiar terminology and phraseology can be found in New Age teachings. Is Bill Johnson embracing and teaching New Age doctrine whether wittingly or unwittingly?

  48. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    Something that we heard often in the hypercharismatic circles was that the devil stole things that were originally from God and now we have to claim them back. That line was used to defend things like the weird manifestations. It kind of seemed like anything that happened in a church setting had to be from God, so if the new age or someone else was doing it too, then it had to be that they were the ones that stole it and now it is being claimed back. That kind of sounds like what Bill Johnson was saying in that quote to me. It seemed it was more then assumed that there was a Christian root, it was often taken for granted.

  49. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Yes, I’m familiar with that line of thinking. I have a Paul Cain quote in which he states the same thing here:

    I looked over and I saw a lady – and I’m not going to tell you how I see these things because right away you would say “oh, that’s the occult” – I just wanna make one thing very clear: the New Agers and the occult, I’d like for you to know that they got all this stuff from God in the first place. And the devil’s had it so long we think it belongs to him; I think it’s time we take it all back. Because God is the God of Light, He’s the God of the amber light and the glory…

    So, in Cain’s case, he doesn’t wish to disclose how he sees “these thing” for fear of being accused of being an occultist or New Ager.

    Of course, just because this is commonly used in hyper-charismaticism doesn’t mean we should allow it and deem it somehow orthodox (and I’m not suggesting you are). In fact, this is the sort of thing that must be repudiated.

  50. Arwen4CJ says:

    Johnson is certainly contradictory, and I believe it is because he doesn’t put that much emphasis on theology. He doesn’t care and neither do most of his followers. If they cared about contradictions, they would have stopped following him long ago. They also would not tolerate people like Bob Jones or the other “prophets” who hang out with Bill Johnson.

    The whole idea about caring about theology is so belittled in their circles, that I think most people don’t question contradictions.

    It’s a theology and Christian culture that concerns itself with feelings and emotions rather than logic. That’s not to say that no one uses their brain who follows him, but using a brain is discouraged when it comes to Christianity.

    They have this false dichotomy between brain and spiritual things. Rick Joyner has that whole “prophecy” about blues and grays. He claimed that blues were people who were spiritual and grays were people who used their brains.

    So…I don’t think that Johnson himself has thought through all the implications of his theology, nor do his followers. I don’t think he’s purposely trying to teach that Jesus wasn’t God while on earth — but that’s where the logic goes when a person evaluates his teachings. He and his followers aren’t really concerned about this.

    I agree with Craig that Johnson has had plenty of opportunities to clarify his theology in his books, and in the reprintings of his various books. If he is making a new edition, he should correct anything that isn’t clear.

    I really don’t think that he values teaching or doctrine, but that he wants to get to the experience part.

    I will give Johnson the benefit of the doubt in that I think he believes in his head that Jesus was divine, but yet he wants to make it so that we can do everything that Jesus did. He isn’t a very good teacher, and he hasn’t logically thought about this, and that there is a contradiction. Maybe he accepted this belief from others while he was growing up and never challenged it. I don’t know.

    However, none of this excuses the fact that he is teaching doctrine that doesn’t line up with Scripture — and it’s partly because he doesn’t take the time to think about the implications of saying that Jesus gave up his divine attributes while on Earth.

    I think he is either confused himself or he isn’t that concerned with how a person might interpret his teachings. He doesn’t see contradictions as an issue — he just wants to get the message out there that we are all loved by God and that we can do the things that Jesus did — by relying on the Holy Spirit.

    Even if he is ignorant about what some of his followers believe, he is still a false teacher. I’m not go to go so far as say he is a heretic, but I do believe he is leading people into spiritual danger. Only God knows his heart and whether or not he is trying to mislead people on purpose, as well as what Johnson actually believes.

  51. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    You wrote, “…he just wants to get the message out there that we are all loved by God and that we can do the things that Jesus did…” This is no different than New Age teaching, BTW.

  52. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    You wrote, “Maybe he accepted this belief from others while he was growing up and never challenged it. I don’t know.

    Bill Johnson is a 5th generation pastor. His father was an Assemblies of God preacher. Johnson removed himself from under the AoG umbrella himself a few years ago just after he began ‘pastoring’ Bethel. So, he presumably grew up with orthodox teaching.

  53. cherylu says:

    Arwen,

    It seems to me that you are basically saying the same things that I have been.

    And from personal experience, I know that theology isn’t given high priority in these groups. If you point out some “experience” that doesn’t line up with Scripture you are probably told that, “God is doing a new thing.” It seemed that experience, “relationship”, “partying in the Spirit”, were the things that really mattered. They were the big drawing cards. Of course, they all believed that all of this was sanctioned by God and if not covered in the Bible, it fell under the “new thing” category. But the teaching was geared towards these experiences, healing, and retaking the world. (Dominionism). And the continuous stream of “prophecies” about all of the wonderful stuff that God was soon going to do. Of course, most of them never proved to be accurate at all that I know of.

    All of that to say that this is a very experience oriented type of church gathering. Systematic theology is definitely not the emphasis. At least not systematic theology as we know it in a conventional sense. I guess they have their own form of systematic theology and it is one that is built around all of these experiences.

  54. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Yes, I know it is the same thing as what New Agers say. All of their mediums who channel demons say the exact same thing about “god” loving them, and how all the biblical doctrines are wrong. It is also very experience oriented, as experiencing the occult power makes them more confident in it.

    I think that it is highly possible that the same demons who speak to New Agers are speaking to certain hyper charismatics and their leaders, but just appearing to them as angels or as “Jesus” or as the “Holy Spirit.” (Including the possibility of Bill Johnson)

    Hmmmm……well, if he did grow up with orthodox teaching then he has gone his own way.

  55. Arwen4CJ says:

    cherylu,

    Yes, I think that we are saying very much the same thing :)

  56. Craig says:

    Bill Fawcett,

    I find it interesting that you criticize my work here yet in an article on your own blog you praise Bob DeWaay’s article which speaks of some of the very things this CrossWise article does, going even further in some points. Quoting from your article:

    Bob DeWaay, who has written an excellent critique of Johnson’s kenosis and other issues with When Heaven Invades Earth, notes in personal correspondence that “his [Johnson’s] approach means that things Jesus did during His earthly ministry that the gospel writers mention as proof of his divinity could no longer serve as such proof, even if only functional kenosis was being taught. If we can do what Jesus did, then we could prove that we are divine.”

    Here are some direct quotes from the DeWaay article:

    …If Johnson is right and Jesus had laid aside His deity, then the mighty works only prove that Jesus learned what anyone could learn if he had the right faith and relationship to God. The claim of the Gospels thereby become moot. Jesus is no longer unique but only a special enlightened one who could lead the way to many such enlightened ones in the future. Thus we have a New Age Christ rather than a Biblical one.

    If Jesus laid aside His divinity, that would be proof that He never had true divinity. Thus Johnson’s doctrine is a de facto denial of the deity of Christ. Christological heresy is heresy. Period.

    …We are the problem (for powerlessness), he claims, because God wants to do miracles but He cannot because of our bad thinking. Miracles await the coming of a generation of enlightened ones who will know the secret. Thus we have a New Age definition of miracles.

    We have DeWaay calling Johnson’s teaching heresy and some of the teachings New Age. Yet, DeWaay’s article is an “excellent critique” while you stated above regarding my article and the quote you provided,

    Was hoping the quote, which would have gone well with the others, would clear of the question of Johnson’s view of the eternal diety of the Son. I agree with you that the comments about the Holy Sprit are confusing and misleading. However, one is not heretic just because he is a lousy teacher – and Johnson IS a lousy teacher. And make no mistake about it, I think what he teaches is abberent.

    Because there are parallels between hsi teaching and some old new age stuff does not mean he has an anti-christ spirit. I think your logic has failed in this area, but as as both know, I do not agree with your new age conclusions and think the article would be much improved with its removal.

    So, it seems DeWaay can make far more explicit claims than I’ve done so far (as I’ve bolded above) including claiming Johnson, in effect, denies the deity of Christ, seems to be teaching New Age doctrine, yet his work be deemed an “excellent critique” while in my article you “do not agree with [my] new age conclusions” and “the article would be much improved” if I were to remove such [NA] references and you refer to Johnson’s Christology as merely “aberrant” rather than the heresy DeWaay describes it.

    It seems there’s a double standard and/or contradiction. Or maybe I’m missing something?

  57. Craig says:

    It has come to my attention that a Facebook commenter accused me of making an ad hominem attack against Bill Johnson regarding my statement that Johnson’s Christology as laid out in this article is antichrist. From its etymology the term ad hominem means literally “to the man” which would mean that I am attacking Johnson personally with my statement according to this individual’s comment. Having carefully re-read this portion I see that I’ve merely assessed his Christology. I fail to see how criticizing an individual’s doctrine, no matter how harshly, constitutes an attack on the person.

    However, this accusation is itself an ad hominem attack against me. I think it rather cowardly to do so on a separate forum rather than directly here. But, I guess this sort of thing comes with the territory.

    If one disagrees with my analysis of Johnson’s Christology as separationist and hence antichrist (or on any point), then one is free to disagree and state the reason(s) this is so. However, let’s merely disagree on the interpretation without any attendant accusations.

  58. mbaker says:

    Craig,

    I am not on Facebook myself, so don’t know who you are talking about exactly , but I am wondering something. You stated:

    “If one disagrees with my analysis of Johnson’s Christology as separationist and hence antichrist (or on any point), then one is free to disagree and state the reason(s) this is so. However, let’s merely disagree on the interpretation without any attendant accusations.”

    My problem with this is that you are not just questioning BJ’s Christology in preaching and teaching theology, but are personally questioning his salvation by saying he has an anti-chriist spirit. To me those are attendant accusations.

    It’s sort of like I would say:

    “Craig is interested in new age teachings.

    New age teachings are the opposite of Christianity.

    Therefore, Craig is not a not a Christian, and is into new age teachings instead.”

    Do you not see how that can work both ways?

  59. Craig says:

    mbaker,

    I’ve not ever stated Johnson has an antichrist spirit. I’ve stated his separationist Christology is by definition antichrist which it is. Admittedly, there is a necessary implication that an antichrist doctrine has an antichrist spirit behind it; but, that’s merely inherent in the definition. It’s not an open accusation that Johnson has an antichrist spirit himself. On the converse, an unsaved individual can speak on a Christian topic in an entirely orthodox way which would imply the Holy Spirit is behind it even though they are not (yet) in the Kingdom.

    With all due respect what you propose re: me and New Age is a straw man argument. And there is never a time when I state or imply that I’m “interested in new age teachings” in and of themselves. In fact, in the Why CrossWise? tab I specifically state the following:

    Also, I will be quoting from esoteric and occult sources from time to time in order to show a possible connection to the theological views expressed from certain teachings and individuals. Obviously, these sources are used for educational and illustrative purposes and do not reflect my own beliefs. I will clearly show the views to be contrary to orthodox Christianity.

    My Statement of Faith is referenced within that very quote so individuals can readily see what I believe. And I’ve never endorsed New Age teachings as I’m actively repudiating them instead.

    Johnson, on the other hand, has an explicit statement regarding the “new age movement” as I’ve just recently made comment here on this thread suggesting a ‘Christian’ root. [3/13 3:25pm]

    And, I’m not on Facebook either. I’d probably get nothing else done if I were!

  60. mbaker says:

    But you have certainly implied that Johnson has an anti-christ spirit, if not directly so on this particular post, then by indirectly stating Constance Cumbey’s take on it and by comparing Johnson’s take on Christology with Alice Bailey’s beliefs. What else are folks to take from that?

    Again, I emphatically disagree with Johnson’s biblical take on things, but, no, I will not agree that he is personally new age, or anti-christ simply because his theology is badly flawed.

  61. Craig says:

    mbaker,

    Once again, I make the explicit statement that it’s the Christology that’s by definition antichrist. New Age Christology, which is separationist, matches the Apostle John’s definition of antichrist doctrine.

    You are entitled to your opinion; but, I ask you to withhold a final conclusion until you at least view part II of this article. Even after reading part II you may still adhere to your current stance thinking I’ve not made a good enough case, I do understand. I am just asking you to maintain all objectivity.

    Many others have badly flawed theology but if they don’t teach Christology in which it can be construed as antichrist then their doctrine would not be antichrist but ‘merely’ badly flawed.

  62. mbaker says:

    “Many others have badly flawed theology but if they don’t teach Christology in which it can be construed as antichrist then their doctrine would not be antichrist but ‘merely’ badly flawed.”

    So it you can prove it OTHER than by mere comparisons to new age teachings, then I will be always willing to listen, because on that basis I have no complaint, because my own comparison is how it agrees or disagrees with the Bible is how I always go.

  63. Craig says:

    Fair enough.

  64. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    The conversation here has gotten rather “hot” this evening it seems. I don’t want to add to that but I do think I should point something out here.

    You are saying that you have not said that Bill J has an antichrist spirit but that his Christology is antichrist. And you have used verses in I John 2 and 4 to back up your claim.

    The only problem with that is, those verses do not at all separate an antichrist doctrine from the person–they state that the person that has such a doctrine is antichrist or that it is of the antichrist spirit. So it seems to me that it is rather implicit in your statement of using these verses to back up what you are saying that Johnson is himself being implicated as being antichrist.

    So, it would seem these are extremely serious charges to be making. And it is probably going to keep raising some concerns.

  65. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Starting at verse 1 in 1 John 4 states specifically that it’s the spirit:

    1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    Also, Ephesians 6:12:

    12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    The question is whether Johnson is doing this wittingly or unwittingly. On that I cannot make judgment.

  66. cherylu says:

    I John 2:22 “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” That is the person being referred to, is it not?

    You referred to this verse several times above in this quote:

    “Bill Johnson’s Christology can certainly be described as heresy. It is known as separationist Christology34 for it separates Christ from Jesus and vice versa. By definition, as Cumbey states above, it meets the test of antichrist as it denies Jesus is the Christ [1 John 2:22] since He is only human (having “laid His divinity aside”) and becomes Christ only by virtue of the “Christ anointing” which also, in effect, denies Jesus is the Son of the Father (as opposed to merely a son) which in turn denies the Father [1 John 2:22-23];35 moreover, Johnson’s Christology denies that the person of Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [1 John 4:1-3] since it was merely Jesus of Nazareth who came in the flesh.”

  67. cherylu says:

    Craig, maybe you didn’t mean what you said to come across in this way, but it is hard for me to see it any other way when I read what the verse says.

  68. Craig says:

    You must put 1 John 2:22 in its entire context by using vv 20-27:

    20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

    24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

    26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

    The “anointing” is the Holy Spirit and the counterfeit is the opposite. Either way its the spirit which speaks through /writes through individuals. But, the key, as Ephesians 6:12 states is that our battle is against the spirits and 1 John 4 tells us to test the spirits behind the doctrines, not the individuals themselves. So, the doctrines can be “doctrines of demons” but it doesn’t mean the person through whom this doctrine speaks is by necessity a willing participant any more than the Spirit of Truth speaking through an unsaved individual is willing. Our battle is not against flesh and blood.

  69. cherylu says:

    Thanks for your clarification that you don’t understand this to be speaking of the person personally.

    I can’t say that I agree with your interpretation though as verse 22 specifically states that it is a person that is antichrist.

  70. Carolyn says:

    cherylu, just read your comment to me. My apologies if I came across as pointing fingers at anyone specifically. No one on this thread. I was just responding to Craig’s comment.

    That said, I do believe that contradictions are the real issue for followers of Christ. As the old saying goes, if you don’t stand of something, you will fall for anything.

    I was raised Pentecostal and I understand what you are saying. I understand that there is not a lot of clarity in doctrine in these circles. Contradictions abound and yet there is no cause for alarm among the sheep. There is a dullness. More so today since the Bible is rarely referred to.

    Christ said in “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.

    A sheep’s hearing becomes sharp only when he/she begins to seek God with all their heart through his Word. There is definition and certainty. There are no blurred doctrinal lines.

    I still remember reading a book by a former New Ager who said all the same things that we Pentecostals had been saying for years. I don’t think my jaw came off the ground once during the whole book. I was absolutely undone. That is when I started taking a second look at the Bible. I understood that something was majorly wrong with my present understanding of Christ. That’s when I started to take notice of what God was actually saying about WHO he was. There is no contradictions with truth. It either is or it isn’t.

    Another thing from the book that astonished me was that the New Agers were conspiring to invade Christianity…were consciously infiltrating our ranks. If no one noticed, were we real Christians in the first place? The seed was being scattered but some fell among thorns….

    My take on this thread is that we need to take a stand. If it means speaking up against a NAR apostle, so be it. There’s no place for contradictory statements, half truths and weak arguments. He is the Almighty God…Isaiah 53. I stand for that. God Bless!

  71. Carolyn says:

    Since I’m on a roll, I’ll offer one more interpretation re the importance or unimportance of contradictions. Even if there are one or two contradictions…they give off the smell of corruption.

    If you have a bowl of stew in the fridge that smells bad, that is a warning that corruption has set in…you no longer have a pure and living food. Same with the word. When you have contradicting statements, it is a warning that corruption has invaded. You no longer have pure truth.

    Corruption/contradition ruins the whole stew eventually. So if our truth has been spoken by seducing spirits and we are listening to doctrines of demons, even if it resembles the word, it has now taken on a whole different structure. It’s still looks like the word but instead of bring life and energy, it could kill the one who eats it.

  72. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    In Colin G. Kruse’s The Letters of John [Pillar NT Commentary, 2000 Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI; pp 101-102] he notes that antichrist figures infiltrate the church from within rather than from without. He then states

    One of the questions that arises in respect to the antichrists is whether we are to regard them as purely human phenomena, or whether we are to see behind them some spiritual force. While the passages from Matthew/Mark, 2 Thessalonians, and 1 John might be interpreted in terms of human adversaries alone, Revelation 12-14 certainly cannot. There the beast stands over against human beings. It is probably best to say that while the antichrists are experienced now as human entities, behind them there is a force making war against God and his people…

    …It is certainly true that 1 John highlights the evil of schism and doctrinal division, something which is always painful when it occurs in the Christian community. It is also true that Christians can be quite unloving, unable to recognize the limited scope of their own understanding of the truth, and therefore much too quick to brand others as ‘antichrists’. There is a great need for humility in matters about which Christians differ. However, at times erroneous teaching which is plainly at variance with the truth of the gospel has to be named, and its origins exposed.

    Note how Kruse states it’s the “erroneous teaching” and that “its origins” must be exposed. This is not necessarily an indictment on the person who is teaching this doctrine. The way I interpret Johnson’s Christology as separationist I do believe warrants branding this teaching as per the definition by the Apostle John. The origins of the doctrine is what I’d call Biblically a “doctrine of demons”.

    Demons must work necessarily through humans. This does not mean the human vehicle is complicit necessarily. They may or may not be.

  73. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    My first real awareness of Bill Johnson was in 2008. I had heard of his name prior to that, but had not looked into his teachings. With all the hulaballo over Todd Bentley, I began to see Johnson’s name pop up. As I was researching into the whole Lakeland issue, I came across a clip of Johnson in his church. Unfortunately that clip has now been removed from the internet. Though I cannot recite all of the details, I have a very strong memory of it. As I remember, he stated that he rarely reads emails from the general public and almost never brings them before his church, but one had caught his attention and he felt it necessary to address its concerns. The email was very simple and short.

    The writer was asking Johnson for Scriptural support for what Bentley was doing in Lakeland. Johnson began to mock and milk the audience with derision for the writer. Then he “waxed eloquent” stating that if the writer had never sat down and prayed with Bentley, had a meal with him, watched his loving interaction with his wife and children, etc., etc. as Johnson had done, then he had no right to question Bentley and Lakeland. In the whole diatribe against the emailer, not one Scriptural instance of support for what was happening. Not only that, but according to Bentley’s own testimony, he was already in divorce proceedings with his wife when Lakeland began.

    According to what Johnson tried to convey to the audience in that clip, he was closely associated with Bentley. So either Johnson was lying about his close relationship in which he would have known that Bentley was having marital discord–after all he’s an anointed apostle. Why didn’t the Holy Spirit tell him something was awry? These folks hear from God after all and “know what God is doing today”–as He supposedly reveals it to His “prophets”. Or was he lying to the public in this reply, knowing full well that they were in divorce proceedings? When I bring this up to people, they make excuses for Johnson. It’s amazing what willful blindness will do.

    So from that time on, as far as I am concerned, Johnson proved himself a fraud as regards theology–he couldn’t give a Biblical defense for the movement. Note, this was not a impromtu question. He pulled it off the internet and could have made ample time to give a Scripturally based defense. He has also proved that he is untrustworthy as a pastor and leader of any “Christian” entity let alone a so-called apostle.

    Many have back-pedalled regarding Bentley. Does anyone know if Johnson ever publically repented for this incident and/or made an apology to the writer of the email for his failure in discernment?

    I have been part of a Charismatic church for about 17 years now. It’s surprising how far you can get from true orthodoxy until one day you turn around and look at the issues and find how far you’ve slipped. For me, when I read authors that are Scripturally based, their writings are heavily noted with cross-references (in context). And they answer their critics with concise Scriptural answers. Bruce Ware’s God’s Lesser Glory (response to open theism) is an excellent example. Flip open a Johnson, Hamon, Vallotton book (et al ad nauseum), and the difference is obvious. Listen to a real exegetical sermon, and most Charismatic Christians will fall asleep, “He just doesn’t have the anointing.” Yet, I’ve been in services and listened to tapes in which the speaker will open the Bible and not even be able to finish reading a single verse and they’re off and running with all kinds of stories and mockings–“We just want a service where God shows up!” They literally criticize churches that focus on the preaching of the Word. Ninety minutes later, they’re ending the service with folk falling down “under the power”. And that after a 90-minute worship service with “manifestations”. “If you get bored or can’t handle a service like this you’re going to have a shock in heaven.”

    Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came, He would not speak of Himself, but would glorify Jesus. How can it possibly be the power of the Holy Spirit in a service when the Word is not preached? Oh for the simplicity of the Gospel!

    So there’s my little rant. As far as I am concerned these folks are frauds. I greatly appreciate Craig’s very thorough and careful discernment. It is so necessary, and I’m looking forward to part 2. But really, it’s just plain common sense that’s something is wrong with this stuff. If we’ll just take the simple basic Gospel and apply it in context, it will be quite obvious.

  74. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    The audio you reference is on this clip here: http://www.ibethel.tv/preview/177/the-loyalty-of-bethel/2008/06/23 but I’m not sure exactly where. I reference this in the Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, part II article. Johnson still refers to Bentley as a friend and, here is Johnson’s own words of which you speak which I put part of into the BJ II article:

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

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

    Johnson recently defended Bentley yet again (I don’t have the url handy) some time last year.

    Johnson’s book When Heaven Invades Earth has many footnote references most of which are Scripture yet they are largely taken out of context.

  75. cherylu says:

    It is probably best to say that while the antichrists are experienced now as human entities, behind them there is a force making war against God and his people…

    From your own quote above to back up your point. Seems to me you backed mine up better then yours! Antichrists are experienced as human entities!

  76. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I supplied the quote in all fairness. Yet, his conclusion states it’s the “doctrine” and “origins” rather than the person which must be named. And, as I said, demons necessarily work through people as that’s their only means – we just don’t know who’s willingly complicit or who is not. Therefore, does Johnson know his doctrine is antichrist? Does Johnson know his teaching looks New Age?

    At the end of the day we can only assess an individual’s doctrine and not their heart/intent. Johnson may well be doing this on purpose. Or he may not be. Only God knows for sure.

  77. cherylu says:

    we just don’t know who’s willingly complicit or who is not. Therefore, does Johnson know his doctrine is antichrist? Does Johnson know his teaching looks New Age?

    At the end of the day we can only assess an individual’s doctrine and not their heart/intent. Johnson may well be doing this on purpose. Or he may not be. Only God knows for sure.

    Yep, exactly. However, you have seemingly been leading people down the path in this article to the conclusion that he is doing this on purpose and that his motive is to deceive. How else can we take your mentioning his “willingness to manipulate truth” and question about “isn’t this the way someone would do things if they set out to deliberately deceive?”

    That to me becomes a problem when we don’t know and I think your reasons for thinking so are a whole lot weaker then you do.

  78. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    The “willingness to manipulate truth” is in direct reference to the Roberts Liardon library acquisition. Can you explain how the circumstances surrounding this library acquisition are not suspect? Why would Johnson show a Jim Goll foretelling ‘prophecy’ about a large library inheritance from someone with the name “Roberts” (but it would not be Oral Roberts) when Johnson had already acquired the Roberts Liardon library before Goll’s word?

    Goll describes this ‘future acquisition’ (as of the Sept 17, 2009 “prophecy” date) as: “The Holy Spirit spoke to me in the dream and said, ‘It is my desire to give the stewardship to Bill Johnson of the world’s largest library and artifacts of signs and wonders that church history has ever known….”

    Johnson describes the Roberts Liardon library which he acquired “in the past year” as of Feb 2, 2009 BEFORE GOLL’s ‘WORD': “In the past year we have purchased Roberts Liardon’s library/museum. He authored the wonderful series of books, God’s Generals (required reading in BSSM). While I have been collecting books and artifacts for years, his is the most complete I’ve ever seen or heard of…”

    Unless you or anyone can show me something which illustrates that the sequence of events can be satisfactorily explained as if he’s not fabricating, I think his actions/words stand.

    What I do not know is if this carries over into his Christological doctrine. It may or it may not. But, it sure may given his “willingness to manipulate truth” as regards the Liardon library acquisition. And I think it quite fair to point this out.

    I think this part of the discussion is pretty much exhausted.

  79. Bud Press says:

    Over the years, I have taken the opportunity to witness to untold numbers of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Agers, and a variety of false teachers and false prophets–and those who follow them.

    During these sessions, I asked, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The Mormons said that Jesus is their lord and savior, and that they worship Jesus as “god”. The Jehovah’s Witnesses said that Jesus is a “little god,” and is entitled to respect and dignity. The New Agers viewed Jesus as a good man, great prophet, one “god” among many “gods,” and an avatar and ascended master.

    The remaining false prophets and false teachers I have witnessed to maintained a jumbled-up mixture of cultic and New Age garbology on Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit–to the point of borrowing their false doctrines from the already established cultic and New Age belief systems.

    I learned that within these false belief systems, there was a “Jesus” for every day of the week, and a “Jesus” that fit their own needs and desires. But their “Jesus” was not the Jesus of the Bible. Their false “Jesus” excluded them from Christianity, and separated them from the real Jesus of the Bible–forever–unless they were born again, that is.

    During the witnessing sessions, I was kind and objective. I made it known that I was interested in hearing what they had to say. However, at no time was I overly objective, nor did I compromise and play nicer than God. I shared the truth of God’s written word in love, and left the rest up to God.

    Frankly, I am suspicious of people who are overly objective and who play nicer than God. When the facts are presented in an article or book; when the documentation is irrefutable; and when the Scriptures are interpreted properly, those who disagree generally suffer from an acute case of, DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS, MY MIND IS MADE UP!

    Further, those who are overly objective may be suffering from a prideful virus, or may have retained a remnant of false teachings and sympathy for a former false teacher who led them astray. If that is the case, they are still in bondage, and they still present a clear and present danger to unwary Christians and those who search for truth.

    Nowhere in Scripture does God sympathize with false teachers and false prophets. In other words, God doesn’t cut them any slack. He defines what they do, and commands Christians to avoid them and expose them (Jeremiah chapter 23; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:11-12, and many more).

    Finally, Bill Johnson claims to believe in Jesus Christ, but it has been adequately demonstrated that the “Jesus” Johnson claims is not the Jesus of the Bible. As a false teacher, Johnson fellowships with with false teachers and false prophets, and trains his followers to be false Christians and false apostles (2 Corinthians chapter 11).

    Therefore, let us not play nicer than God, and draw ourselves and others into the web of compromise and deception that God has warned against. Let us be unafraid to tell it like it is, and do so for God to be glorified.

    Bud Press

  80. cherylu says:

    Bud Press,

    Just in case you are missing the fact, none of us here have at any time defended Bill Johnson’s teachings. We are all saying that they are horrible. We just don’t want to see Johnson or any one else accused of more then he is guilty of. I don’t think that is fair to him and I don’t think it helps to get our points across to anyone else either.

    And I don’t see that as “playing nicer then God”.

  81. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    But, this is the part I don’t get. If I am understanding you correctly, you wish to use Johnson’ Facebook quote of March 2011 as the overriding statement with respect to his Christology. This means you believe it’s essentially functionalist kenosis which means Jesus performed all the miraculous in virtue of the Holy Spirit. Setting aside the fact that this violates Scripture (John 5:21, 24-25, etc.) which makes it heresy to begin with, one must then reinterpret some key statements of Johnson contrary to plain English such as:

    Jesus Christ said of Himself, ‘The Son can do nothing.’…He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!…He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.13

    With this one we have to reinterpret the entire bolded statement to something like “since he had chosen self-limitation of His divine attributes in order to live His life completely as a man he did not exercise His supernatural abilities”. The following is much more difficult:

    …Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’ He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow….Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…14

    In order we would have to substitute “did not”, “did not”, “did not”, “Jesus chose not to use His divine attributes so He did not…” The plain English of these quotes directly implies either ontological kenosis (which no one disputes is heresy), or metamorphosis: the Word transformed Himself into a human devoid of any deity/divinity when the Word became flesh.

    And, that’s just two quotes.

  82. Bill Fawcett says:

    >It seems there’s a double standard and/or contradiction. Or maybe I’m missing something?

    Maybe Bob is a better writer. :)

  83. Craig says:

    So, then you do believe DeWaay made a case that Johnson is teaching New Age? Specifically, a New Age Christ?

    …If Johnson is right and Jesus had laid aside His deity, then the mighty works only prove that Jesus learned what anyone could learn if he had the right faith and relationship to God. The claim of the Gospels thereby become moot. Jesus is no longer unique but only a special enlightened one who could lead the way to many such enlightened ones in the future. Thus we have a New Age Christ rather than a Biblical one.

  84. Craig says:

    DeWaay described Johnson’s doctrine with respect to Christology: “Christological heresy is heresy. Period. Yet you call it merely aberrant and specifically disagreed when I termed his Christology heresy.

  85. Carolyn says:

    Well said, Bud (nicer than God…I’ll remember that). Well said, Craig (except for a few big words :-) but I get the point). Good rant YesNaSpanish…brings me back…chasing the annointing, mocking those without “it”…oh the elitism of it all.

    Craig. Question: rather than Christ relying on the Holy Spirit…could it be said in this way… that Christ worked in connection or conjunction with the Father and the Spirit and did nothing on his own without the process of prayer. But he did not lay aside his divinity…not for one second as it was impossible to lay aside his own perfect and divine nature.

  86. Craig says:

    Your version looks better’n mine!

  87. Craig says:

    Wait, I want to be sure I know what you’re referring to. Could you cut and paste the exact quote?

  88. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve a feeling you are referring to my quote here:

    since he had chosen self-limitation of His divine attributes in order to live His life completely as a man he did not exercise His supernatural abilities”.

    This was phrased so that it would match up with functionalist kenosis – a doctrine in which the idea is that Jesus specifically chose not to use His divine attributes during the Incarnation relying upon the Holy Spirit instead. I deem this heresy as Scripture DOES prove Jesus used His divinity (John 5:21, 24-25) during the Incarnation. My point was that it seems cherylu and others who’ve posted on here believe this is what Johnson teaches yet I believe it’s much worse as Jesus must still have the ability to perform any miracles yet chooses not to which means he’d still HAVE supernatural capabilities.

    Does that clear it up? Or were you referring to something else?

  89. Carolyn says:

    Craig,

    I didn’t have that quote in mind. I was just referring back to the heresy issue of Bill Johnson. He believes that Christ relied on the Holy Spirit as much as we humans do. I believe that it was very different for Christ. He could perform miracles at will but chose to conference with God at every turn. In every instance he submitted to the Father’s will.
    For instance :
    1.John 11:41-43 (King James Version)
    41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
    42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
    43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
    He wanted to make sure that people knew that he and the Father were of one mind, that the Father was present and involved.
    2. He showed his divinity here so much so that the disciples exclaimed in awe!
    Luke 8:25
    And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
    3. at other times…it says, “and he, knowing their thoughts”….that speaks of superior, supernatural ability.
    4. He healed all that came to him…not a few, but all. That has never been duplicated.

    These are just a few times when Christ showed his “way above average” control of both the natural and spiritual world in a way that is out of reach for any of us…but not for the WOF prophets.
    They want the Holy Spirit to enable them to do the same miracles as Jesus did…that is what they reach for. That is the lie that feeds their fancy. The seducing spirits tell them that they can attain to this control nature, they can control the wind. Do they? No but they will…future.

    So how do we tell those who will listen that this is heresy? Christ did not set aside his divinity. We will never do these same works because we are not divine. There are lying wonders but they are counterfeit manipulations of the supernatural occult realm.

    My question is how do we explain it so that they will understand the difference?

    The more I talk the less I think it’s possible. They are under a delusion of grandeur. The prophets prophesy lies and my people love to have it so.

    Did that make any sense?

  90. JD says:

    Hey brother, finally got a chance to set and read this. We have talked endlessly on the subject matter, so I will simply leave my compliments on the structure. Nice job, glad to see the quality of sourcing is remaining consistent.

  91. Rick Frueh says:

    His entire premise is completely speculative. But at its core is a better foundation wherewith men can become like gods. It is the zenith of self righteousness to undermine, even in the slightest, the glorious mystery of the Incarnation. Almost all heresy alters the person of Christ or the way of salvation or both.

    “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

    Some men treat mystery like so much earthenware that can be easily dissected into nano-doctrines in order to make them appear superior vessels of special revelation. One would suspect that if any of that moon man talk were true the Apostle Paul would have dealt extensively with it. Men that touch the Ark today should feel fortunate that they do not live in Uzzuh’s time.

    As it is they will have to face Him before whose face the nations fled. On that day they may well feel they were in Uzzah’s shoes and not their own.

  92. Craig says:

    Thanks for the encouragement. It is appreciated.

  93. Carolyn says:

    Greater things that these…Oh wow. I think I finally get that passage!

    Back there as Jesus was talking to his disciples around the fire…I can feel the expression of exaltation from Christ as he exclaims…greater things that these shall you do because I go to my Father. paraphrase…You think these miracles are great? Wait till you see what’s coming in the future because I am going to the Father.

    “greater things than these shall you do” – This is one verse you really have to keep within its context or it lands in faraway fields. When you isolate it from the context of salvation and judgement it becomes one of the most useful tools in the hands of the worthless shepherds for furthering their agenda. For them, salvation is the door that opens up the pathway into miracles and the most coveted “annointing” (or should I say false signs and drunken spirits). But I digress.

    Speaking of the context of salvation and judgment, it brings to mind this passage which would make more sense in the light of this understanding of greater things, perhaps even a parallel passage:
    John 16:
    7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
    8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
    9Of sin, because they believe not on me;
    10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
    11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
    12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
    13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
    14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    Yes, because Christ was going back to the Father, so many greater things would occur….freeing the prisoners from slavery to sin, clearing the conscience of guilt, judging the world because of its rebellion, convicting the sinner unto repentance, ending the bondage of the law, etc. etc. No wonder Christ was rejoicing. I get it!!!

    Good to have had this conversation. I learned quite a bit. Thanks for sticking with it, Craig! It’s a patience producer.

  94. Bud Press says:

    cherylu:

    I refer you to the last paragraph in my above comments: “Therefore, let us not play nicer than God, and draw ourselves and others into the web of compromise and deception that God has warned against. Let us be unafraid to tell it like it is, and do so for God to be glorified.”

    Please notice the words “us” and “ourselves”.

    My comments were meant as a reminder and encouragement, and did not target anyone on this thread.

    Please keep in mind that another important aspect of being objective is to refrain from assuming something that isn’t there in the first place.

    Bud Press

  95. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    You wrote, “It’s a patience producer.”

    Amen to that!

  96. Craig says:

    Rick,

    You wrote, “But at its core is a better foundation wherewith men can become like gods.”

    [sarcasm on] Is there a problem with that? [sarcasm off]

    That’s exactly what this is about: making Jesus into a man who “re-inherits what He gave up” [Johnson in yet another quote] so that we can ‘share in the inheritance’ because “Jesus is our model”.

  97. cherylu says:

    Hi Craig,

    This comment is in answer to your questions to me yesterday at about 4:30. (Would be nice if Word Press had numbered comments. Referencing would be easier, wouldn’t it?)

    I have limited time here and I certainly don’t have time to go digging around to find exact quotes and their sources. So here goes, with that in mind.

    But, this is the part I don’t get. If I am understanding you correctly, you wish to use Johnson’ Facebook quote of March 2011 as the overriding statement with respect to his Christology. This means you believe it’s essentially functionalist kenosis which means Jesus performed all the miraculous in virtue of the Holy Spirit. Setting aside the fact that this violates Scripture (John 5:21, 24-25, etc.) which makes it heresy to begin with,….

    I wouldn’t say that I am using his FB comment as the overriding statement. I would say it is the most clear statement he has made. But it is certainly not the only time he has said that he believes Jesus is eternally God. It is in their statement of faith, and there are 2-3 other places in his works that I am aware of that state Jesus is eternally God. The FB comment is more explicit because it was an answer given to a direct request to clarify his position.

    You said somewhere else that you go by the “preponderance of evidence”. Yes, he has made more statements that we find highly problematic and heretical then he has made orthodox statements. However, since his focus has been on showing that Jesus is our model and we as people can do what He did if we allow the Spirit to work through us as the Spirit worked through Jesus, wouldn’t we expect there to be a much higher number of the other types of quotes then the ones showing orthodox beliefs? It seems to me that it is his point of emphasis that is coming though here.

    I am going to split my remarks up into several comments for ease of use in this comment box. It gets awkward after a while….

  98. cherylu says:

    Continued…..

    You speak of functional kenosis being heresy. That may or may not be true. At this point in time I am not prepared to argue that point. I have been really surprised in the last year or so in my online reading how many Christians have adopted that position. And I am not just speaking of people in the pew. I am speaking of those with some heavier theological training under their belts. When you read their understanding of Scripture and how to them it makes the best sense of the Scriptural evidence, they make some very strong points. They will discuss every point you or I would use to disprove functional kenosis and come back with their point to prove it correct. So at this time, I am not really sure that it is a fair representation to just write functional kenosis off as heresy.

    When it comes to the precise quotes you have given in your comment to me, I am also remembering a quote that I really wish I had at my disposal right now so I would be certain I am remembering correctly. But it was to the effect that he chose to live under voluntary limitiations. Granted, I won’t say that explains it all adequately.

    Continued in one more comment….

  99. Craig says:

    However, since his focus has been on showing that Jesus is our model and we as people can do what He did if we allow the Spirit to work through us as the Spirit worked through Jesus, wouldn’t we expect there to be a much higher number of the other types of quotes then the ones showing orthodox beliefs?

    Yes, but then this puts in the position of setting aside the fact that this in and of itself violates Scripture and is a position not recognized by the Church (Chalcedonian Creed, hypostatic union) it is by definition heresy. It is not merely “aberrant”.

  100. Craig says:

    Claiming that Jesus lived by voluntary limitation in the exercise of his divine attributes is the definition of functional(ist) kenosis. All it takes is one Scriptural proof that functional(ist) kenosis does not line up with the full counsel of Scripture to prove that doctrine false. John 5:21, 24-25 proves it false and therefore unorthdox which is by definition heresy.

    And, Johnson, by claiming “Jesus so emptied himself that He was incapable…” and “He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” implicate ontological kenosis (or, worse, metamorphosis) which negates the functional(ist) claim.

    [For more on why John 5:21, 24-25 affirm that Jesus used His own divinity see footnotes 18 and 19 in the article and footnotes 102 – 107 in my previous article on kenosis]

  101. cherylu says:

    I think the bottom line to me here is that his theology is incoherent and contradictory. There are certainly things that he says that by themselves sound like ontological kenosis. I don’t know that we will ever make it all fit neatly together in the way we would hope to be able to. But when he has also made very orthodox statements, I don’t think it is fair to take the unorthodox and assume that they are the ones that are the overriding statements and discount the others.

    He may very well be influenced by new age ideas, I think the whole WoF movement is very much influenced by the new age. In fact, I think ideas were borrowed directly from the new age if my understanding is correct. I don’t think that proves that those teaching these ideas today believe they are teaching new age rather then Christianity however.

    It is possible that he is someone that is setting out to directly deceive the church. Is it not also possible that he is simply a very deceived person that whole heartedly believes what he is teaching without delving into the ramifications and problems caused by his beliefs?

    When someone gives a very direct answer to a question for claritiy about his Christological beliefs, that statement is an orthodox statement, and he has made other statements affiming the same thing in the past, I believe we have to give him at least the benefit of the doubt that he really does believe that Jesus is/was and always has been eternally God. Even if we can’t see how the rest of his statements fit in. Unless we are willing to judge his heart and motives here and state that he is at least more then likely to be a wolf/deliberate deceiver, I don’t think we have any other choice in the matter.

    But again, just for clarity sake, I don’t agree with his teaching. And if nothing else at all were said about it, I think the lack of clarity he has shown is very damaging and that it can lead his followers off to all kinds of things that are even more extreme. And that has been seen in some of the comments on FB by some of those followers. And it goes without saying that I disagree vehemently with a whole lot of the other stuff that is a part of Bethel and all things “hypercharismatic”.

    And that is the end of my very long answer. And I just hope it makes my thoughts on the subject at least a little bit clearer then mud!

  102. cherylu says:

    Craig, your claim that functional kenosis is obviously Biblically false would be argued against vehemently by quite a few other Christians out there these days! Including I am sure the verses in John that you say prove it false.

    So if he believes in functional kenosis, he is in the company of many, many other current day Christians.

  103. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I think your answer is clear enough. The one thing I do know is that God is not the author of confusion.

  104. Craig says:

    I’ve no problem backing up the claim re: functionalist kenosis (as defined as Jesus not using omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience during His earthly ministry) by using a number of scholars far more learned than me. I’ve already cited 4 in the footnotes I reference.

  105. cherylu says:

    The one thing I do know is that God is not the author of confusion

    No arguments with that statement. But considering that the whole church across the board is filled with confusion these days, I am not sure that proves anything regarding Johnson trying to delberately deceive. There are umpteen “takes” on just about every theological issue you can possibly think of out there today. ( If you don’t believe that, just get on one of the Christian forums out there and spend a little time. Or look at the myriad denominations we have. All with their own take on things .) And each side of the issue is convinced that they are the one understanding things correctly from a Biblical standpoint. I don’t think that means that any of them are setting out to delieberately deceive the rest of us. Confusion abounds.

  106. Craig says:

    Unfortunately, much of the theological debates and confusion have been because of the Hegalian dialectic process. The sheep in the pews, the general layperson, is left to fend for himself theologically. I believe this is why confusion abounds on Christian forums.

  107. cherylu says:

    That doesn’t explain all of the multitudes of denominations out there and all of the different takes on things they have had. That has been going on for many years now.

    I grew up thinking the church I was familiar with and the things I had learned as a child were “the right way.” Then as I got older and spent some time in other church groups/denominations for one reason or another, I saw that their take on things may have been quite different then the one I grew up with. And they were just as convinced that they were right as mine was. And of course that ends up at times with statements to the effect that, “we are the only ones that are right and all of the rest of you are wrong.”

  108. Carolyn says:

    Just because someone says some things wrong does it mean we can’t listen to anything else they say? Yes, according to Scripture that is right.

    Blind guides, hypocritical liars, talking out of both sides of their mouth, causing divisions to the body of Christ, having a form of godliness but denying the power…have nothing to do with them.

    Cheylu, I’d say you have to make a decision to obey the word. You can’t be on both sides at the same time. Because BJ has confusion and heresy in his teachings, we don’t have to extend to him some sort of “fairness” in our dealing with him. He is a wolf.

    Bud said it best…Nowhere in Scripture does God sympathize with false teachers and false prophets. In other words, God doesn’t cut them any slack. He defines what they do, and commands Christians to avoid them and expose them (Jeremiah chapter 23; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:11-12, and many more).

    To me you are offering some kind of sympathetic awareness. That is just plain bogus. You can argue till you are blue in the face but you are just smudging the lines, and confusing the truth. And that’s my final say. Back to work….

  109. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    Here are some examples that I can think of where confusion abounds in the church. Some of these are hundreds of years old and I don’t think the Hegalian dialectic likely has anything to do with them at all:

    What about all of the differences of opinion on the mode and meaning of baptism? I believe that goes back to the Reformation days, does it not?

    How about the continuation/cessation debates? That one is quite old too. And there is a huge spectrum of difference of opinion along what could be called a sliding scale in and between those two “camps” too.

    Or the Calvinism/Arminianism debate. Again, in just it’s current form it is hundreds of years old. And as with the continuation/cessationism debate, there are a lot of nuances/differing perspectives on both sides of that issue too.

    Or how about pre-trib, post-trip, pre-millenial, post-millenial, a-millenial, partial preterist, or full preterist understandings of things? Now there is a can of worms if I ever saw one!

    And the last one I am thinking of at the moment is the differences in understanding of Communion. Is it done simply as a “remembrance” of Jesus death or is there something spiritual that actually occurs when we receive it? And if the latter position is accepted, there are also differing opinions of the “whats and hows” of that. In one current denomination, your understanding of this matter is a determining factor in church membership and if you are allowed as a guest to receive communion in one of their fellowships.

    I guess my whole point is that confusion in the church has abounded for a very, very long time. It is nothing new. It didn’t begin with the fairly modern idea of the Hegalian dialectic or on modern day Christian forums. And it certainly didn’t begin with Bill Johnson!

  110. Craig says:

    cherylu [re: 3/15 11:34am & 12:18],

    But, that in no way excuses anything that is blatantly anti-Biblical. Functionalist kenosis is shown false by John 5:21 – it states plainly that Jesus gave life to whom He chose. Quoting Marianne Meye Thompson (footnote 18):

    - Marianne Meye Thompson explains [The God of the Gospel of John. 2001, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI]: “[T]he Son partakes of the very life of the Father: the Son has life in himself [v 26]. Therefore, when Jesus confers life on those who believe, they also participate in and have to do with the life of the Father because the Father has given the Son to have life in himself, even as he has it. Such predications assume and are dependent upon the conviction that there is but one God, one source of life. Jesus is not a second deity, not a second source of life, standing alongside the Father. Rather, the Son confers the Father’s life, which he has in himself” [p 78; italics in original, bold added]. “[T]he Son exercises certain divine prerogatives and…exercises them even as God does….Jesus exercises these powers as no other figure – save God – can or does” [p 175].

    …and Herman Ridderbos (footnote 19):

    - Herman Ridderbos expounds [The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary. 1997, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; translated from the Dutch by John Vriend], “Just as the Father as Creator and Consummator possesses life, he has given that possession to the Son, not merely as the executor of incidental assignments but in the absolute sense of sharing in the Father’s power. And it is on account of that power and authority that the great decisive ‘hour’ of God is not only coming but here” (during the Incarnation). [p 178; emphasis in original]

    While there are numerous denominational differences, these are not what are at issue here. If any church adheres to a functional(ist) kenosis, they are adhering to false Christology as the above verses in John illustrate. In addition, this false doctrine violates Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:17 [“in Him all things hold together” which in the verb tense of the Greek denotes a continuous/ing activity].

    As regards the ‘confusion’ specifically, Johnson’s Christological doctrine is both confusing and seemingly self-contradicting at times. This is as opposed to the denominational differences which at least (predominately) cohere. Plus, the denominational differences are not confused as something else by the adherents of those doctrinal positions. That’s the difference.

  111. cherylu says:

    Carolyn,

    That is absurd! I never said he wasn’t a false teacher. I never said I agreed with what he said. I did say there are a lot of folks out there today that believe functional kenosis is truth not heresy. And I have NEVER once said that we should listen to anything else he has to say. Not once. Please get your facts straight before you lash out at me!

    I also never said I didn’t think he is dangerous. I came out of a church at one time that had gotten into all things Toronto and all things Bethel. I believe it is spiritual poison and I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Many friendships I used to have I no longer do because of all of these issues.

    My whole point here is simply this. Let’s be careful to NOT accuse Johnson of more then he is actually guilty of. That would not be fair to him. And if you think it IS fair to make false or exxagerated accusations against soemone because they are a false teacher, I would say it is you that has a serious problem and not me! False accustions are wrong no matter who they are directed to. Morever, if we go too far in what we say and become inaccurate in our accusations, those that know it ARE going to be turned off and quit listening to anything else we have to say.

    And that is all I have to say on the matter. Good grief.

  112. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    I realize I didn’t state my bottom line point above accurately at all. It is more along the lines of: Yes, there is much confusion in the church. And God is not the cause of confusion. But it does not follow therefore that because there is confusion, someone is setting out to deliberately confuse. Confusion often exists without a deliberate intent to deceive. Now I realize we are talking about an individual versus a corporate body here. But I don’t think in either case severe confusion can necessarily be construed as intent to deceive. That is a non sequitor.

  113. cherylu says:

    As far as the functional kenosis argument goes, I am not saying that I believe they are right. All I am saying is that they do have powerful arguments, they do believe they are right and that they are not denying Chalcedon in what they say, and they are not just folks from the charismatice fringe like Johnson is. Some of them are pastors and teachers from mainline evangelicalism.

    I would have to back and do some re-reading to see how they answer the points you made above. But I really don’t think those are verses that they have some how overlooked. I think they have read them and dealt with them in a different way then the way you and I have always looked at them.

    My point with all of that is that if Johnson believes in functional kenosis, he is certainly not alone in evangelicalism as a whole. It is viewed as heresy by some, but by many others it is veiwed as something that is not at all unbiblical. It wouldn’t be as if he has come up with something totally off the wall all by himself that is totally foreign to the evangelical community.

  114. Craig says:

    But, once again, I’ve not stated explicitly whether Johnson is deliberately deceiving with respect to his Christology. He may be, he may not be. He is certainly confusing others and may or may not be confused himself in this regard.

    However, he sure did deceive regarding the Roberts Liardon acquisition. Perhaps it was important for him to show that “prophecies” can come true by ‘legitimizing’ the Jim Goll “prophecy”. Whatever his motive, he is certainly not averse to deceiving others at least in this one case.

  115. Martha says:

    Jesus was present in the creation of the world as part of the Trinity. He was God from eternity.

  116. Craig says:

    They claim they do not deny Chalcedon yet, in effect, they do. I’ve encountered this in my recent book review on a book promoting kenosis. In any case, Johnson does not propound a functionalist kenosis. It’s either ontological or a complete metamorphosis. His background is rooted in Word of Faith and WoF explicitly teaches that Jesus was merely a man who was eventually born again in hell. No, Johnson has never stated this explicitly, yet he uses the same prooftexts as Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr. to go to the point he did go in his own born again Jesus statement (by twisting Scripture a la Hagin). There are other times when he uses this same methodology – using the same proof-texts as Hagin – as the BJ II article points out.

  117. cherylu says:

    You know, I think I have gone round and round this mulberry bush about all I have time or energy for. I don’t think any more talk will likely gain anything.

    I am simply not prepared to discuss the functional kenosis thing any further. And I have made my point repeatedly about being cautious that we aren’t accusing Johnson of more then he is actually guilty of (and that is really quite a lot!)

    All I am saying is let’s be careful and be sure we are accurate about all that we say. We don’t need to turn people off because we have gone too far.

    Enough is enough for now! Good bye everybody.

  118. Bud Press says:

    The Bible, God’s written word, lists the characteristics of a false prophet and false teacher:

    – prophesy peace (Jeremiah 23:17)
    – teach a lie (Jeremiah 28:15)
    – pretend to be true (Matthew 7:22-23)
    – teach corruption (2 Peter 2:10-22)
    – pervert grace (Galatians 1:6-9)
    – lovers of money (Romans 16:17-18)
    – teach heresy and deny Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:1)
    – resist the truth (2 Timothy 3:8)
    – lovers of fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
    – destitute of the truth (1 Timothy 6:3-5)
    – unstable (1 Timothy 1:6-7)
    – cunningly deceptive (Ephesians 4:14)
    – lustful (2 Peter 2:12-19)

  119. Carolyn says:

    To whom it may concern (including cheylu) Truce Sister…I freely own my absurdity. I love my absurdity. It is what keeps me humble and makes me human. And I won’t defend my own mistakes. Sure I make lots. But what I will defend is someone else who speaks the truth, someone on the front lines taking the arrows from hypocritical liars and frauds of the faith.

    No one here is making any exaggerated accusations. It doesn’t matter what WE think and we most certainly do not need to tip toe around wolves and worry about offending them or those who listen to them.

    What we DO need to be concerned about is what God thinks about the wolves? What are his instructions to his sheep? Don’t be deceived, expose, flee, discern, be wise.

    The Bible connects antichrists to deceivers. It connects the dots between false prophets and their actions. The Bible does not see any problem with calling an antichrist an antichrist.

    So if someone like BJ elevates man into a god with supernatural and divine qualities (WOF doctrine) and denies Christ his deity…then he is of a New Age spirit, he is a deceiver and he is antichrist.

    I don’t see that Craig’s specialty is exaggeration. Quite the opposite. He has backed up everything he has said with ample proof quotes and biblical text. Not that he needs my approval but he’s got it anyhow. God Bless! Hope this ends us all on a happier note. :-)

  120. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    Thanks for defending the views put forth in the article. While I largely agree with everything you wrote, there’s one difference. While I certainly strongly believe Johnson to be a wolf based upon his doctrine and practice, I cannot know for sure whether he is wittingly or unwittingly deceiving folks. My inclination is that he’s doing this willingly, but I just cannot know for sure someone’s heart and therefore judge motive. This is why I make the distinction between calling his Christology antichrist, which it is by definition (although I know there are some in disagreement), and calling Johnson himself antichrist.

    I know there are those who say it’s tantamount to the same thing for having an antichrist spirit is implied in the charge which some understand to connote complicity. However, in considering this further late last night I may have found a proper analogy/explanation. True Holy Spirit indwelt Christians by definition have the Holy Spirit. However, at any time we can choose to be led of the flesh instead. Moreover, we can choose to let the enemy get a foothold. Once the enemy has a foothold we can then become oppressed. Once oppressed we can slip further and further and, in my opinion, become so controlled by the enemy that we can lose sight of the real purpose for which we are Christians – spreading the true Gospel. At this point we could well become an unwilling participant in the devil’s schemes.

    Perhaps my logic is faulty in this area. But, this is where I currently stand. I see it as a distinction with a difference.

    However, in any case, as I stated in the first paragraph, I cannot know someone’s heart. I cannot know whether someone is willingly deceiving folks or not. But, I’ll state again, unless someone, anyone, can adequately explain the circumstances surrounding the Jim Goll “prophecy” of the Roberts Liardon library and Johnson’s telling of it specifically regarding the timing of its acquisition as anything but a fabrication, that is exactly as I see it. I don’t see how the circumstances can be any more black and white. Given this use of deception for whatever the reason, to me this indicates the very high possibility of doing same in other areas. Therefore, I am of the stong belief/opinion that Johnson is willingly deceiving folks with respect to his doctrine. Part II of this article will attempt to make the case that Johnson is teaching New Age doctrine under a Christian veneer. A part of attempting to make my case will include other Johnson statements with respect to Christology which appear to contradict some Christological statements here (much like the very last one in part I {at footnote 36}).

  121. Craig says:

    Here’s another point I wish to make. Johnson himself specifically refers to those who disagree with his teaching on “the anointing” as having an antichrist spirit in chapter 7 of When Heaven Invades Earth [pp 79-85]. No he doesn’t call the individuals antichrists, he says it’s the antichrist spirit behind the individuals:

    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]

    It needs to be pointed out that by his phraseology here he makes a distinction between the “Holy Spirit anointing” [“Christ anointing”] and Jesus [especially p 80 in one long paragraph contrasting the ‘fact’ that Apostle John didn’t use “Anti-Jesus” but instead “Anti-Christ” and saying cults honor Jesus, the man], i.e. that Christ is separate from Jesus as he does in the first two paragraphs which begin this chapter (see quotes in this article at footnote 20). According to the Apostle John, separating Christ from Jesus is, as stated in the article, the very definition of antichrist.

    The spirits of hell are at war against the anointing, for without the anointing mankind is no threat to their dominion. [p 80]

    The antichrist spirit has a goal for the Church – embrace Jesus apart from the anointing. He becomes a safe religious figure who is sure not to challenge or offend us. Paul described this deceptive possibility as, “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And, from such people turn away!”

    How can people who love God be offended by the Holy Spirit?…[p 84-85]

    See the subtle twists and turns in Johnson’s definition of antichrist spirit? He’s turned those who oppose Toronto Blessing type goings-on into having an antichrist spirit. He’s totally flipped the tables! This is some serious twisting of the Apostle Johns words!

  122. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    I agree that Johnson has certainly flipped the tables here — which actually does argue quite strongly for demonic activity behind his doctrines, whether or not he is aware of it.

    This reminds me of a less subtle flipping of tables on the anti-christ spirit. I was in Mary Kay workshop once where the director’s husband taught us about “personal growth and development.” The man was a follower of a guy who “channeled” some spirit, and it was very, very New Age. I visited the channelers website and I discovered that the guy believed that Christians who proclaimed Jesus as Savior were the Anti-Christ because we rejected the “truth.”

    http://www.abraham-hicks.com/lawofattractionsource/index.php

    I can’t find the part of the page that I found several years ago — it was a page link to questions and answers that people asked this Abraham Hicks guy at various seminars and speaking engagements that he has conducted. One of the questions that someone asked him was about the Anti-Christ. The person wanted Abraham Hicks to give his thoughts on the subject. That’s when he said that Christians who proclaim Jesus Christ were the Anti-Christ!

  123. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    A Bill Johnson follower (couple) recently spoke in our church. At the end of the message they gave words of prophecy and called for people to come to the altar for ministry. Then they began to preach about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. What followed next was pure perversion and illustrates the depths of delusion that Johnson’s teachings engender. They told the church that to reject the baptism of the Holy Spirit was to deny the Holy Spirit (which they had on previous occasions declared was a “force!”). Then they said that to deny the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin!

    This stuff utterly disgusts me. The unique circumstances of my situation (which cannot be explained here) have required me to stay at this church; however, that is quickly changing–PTL! I cannot express how eager I am to rid myself of this “spirituality” and RUN! in the opposite direction.

    What Craig writes about here is critical for people to understand. The fruit of this tree is rotten. What does it say about the tree? Yes, Craig is right–we cannot judge a man’s heart and so it is wisdom to qualify regarding whether Johnson is wittingly or unwittingly leading people astray. However, according to the warning in James 3:1, those in leadership will come into greater judgment. Johnson is a 5th generation “gospel” minister. He has been “schooled” somewhere. He supposedly knows enough about his critics and detractors to denounce them as allegedly having a “spirit of antichrist” according to his own statements. Therefore, by his own words he condemns himself. He has seen the truth. God’s words are spirit and life; they do not return to Him void.

    Is Johnson deluded and deceived himself? Certainly. Second Peter 2 and 3 has some serious warnings to him. Specifically:

    2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now for a long time does not linger, and their damnation does not slumber….

    2:18-22 For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire…

    3:15-16 …and consider [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable [people] twist to their own destruction, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures.

    May the Lord, in His longsuffering, open Johnson’s eyes. May He have mercy on His elect and shorten these days!

  124. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    Thanks for your comments. They are appreciated. Did you see my answer to your questions re: Johnson and Bentley?

  125. Craig says:

    They told the church that to reject the baptism of the Holy Spirit was to deny the Holy Spirit

    This is essentially what Johnson states in WHIE in chapter 7 [p 84, etc.].

  126. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Hi, Craig! Yes, I’m sorry. I should have responded. I appreciate that clip. I’ve been looking for it!

    Actually, these issues run counter to the very heart of the Gospel–which is not to negate or detract from your research, nor to diminish the very preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ and His deity. What Johnson, WoF-ers, and Dominionists do is impose law upon believers and pervert the gospel of Christ. How can that which was begun in the Spirit be perfected/completed in the flesh? (Galatians)

    While these folk would counter (by twisting), “Oh, no! It’s the anointing! It IS the Spirit!”, the truth is that according to them believers are required to DO something, ie. receive the anointing, hear from God, etc. So, what if an individual who has been in this environment for 17 years and signed on “hook-line-and-sinker” has never been truly “slain in the Spirit”, spoken in tongues, heard God’s voice, manifested healing power, experienced gold dust, etc, etc, etc…..

    That individual, eager to be a part of the movement that he/she is so hungering to be a part of will either fake it, or be disappointed that God has denied or rejected him, and ultimately angry at God, or become disillusioned and leave the movement. Obviously, it must be apparent that I am talking about myself. Although I did become very disappointed, I never became angry at God, only those who treated me as second class. I have forgiven them and now see them in pity. However, I know of others who have become angry at God and walked away from Him into the waiting arms of Unitarianism, or backsliding.

    In my journey, I have come to see the movement for what it is and have repented. I am also seeing God for who He is and am falling in love with Him and His word all over again. My eyes are being opened daily. How beautiful the Gospel is! Recently, I came across an article that has deeply enriched me. I link it here: “The Gospel Assumed is the Gospel Denied”.

    http://sidlcms.org/Documents/GospelAssumedGospelDenied.pdf

    I encourage all to read it. Johnson’s WoF/Dominionist/MSoG theology just doesn’t fit. The whole purpose of WHIE is to bring God’s kingdom to earth. It is US working to effect the Kingdom of God. Johnson is part of the Wagner/Wallnau/Hillman crowd which pushes the Seven Mountains Mandate. The entire movement is of the works–law–flesh.

    James 3:13-18, “Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

    Maybe if we all would read our Bibles more and the latest books less, we would see with our eyes, hear with our ears and understand with our hearts and be converted.

  127. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    Actually, your point that it’s work-based fits in quite well with part II for in the New Age religion (as I’m sure you know) salvation is self-salvation (auto-soterism).

    The whole purpose of WHIE is to bring God’s kingdom to earth.

    Yes, the New Age kingdom instead. As Christians we DO NOT try to bring heaven to earth. However, this is EXACTLY what New Agers are trying to do believing that the Garden of Eden is a spiritual state from which mankind fell and, when we reach our ‘perfection’ it will again manifest itself. Here’s a quote from Alice Bailey:

    “Emphasis should be laid on the evolution of humanity with peculiar attention to its goal, perfection…man in incarnation, by the indwelling and over-shadowing soul…The relation of the individual soul to all souls should be taught, and with it the long-awaited kingdom of God is simply the appearance of soul-controlled men on earth in everyday life and at all stages of that control.…The fact will appear that the Kingdom has always been present but has remained unrecognized, owing to the relatively few people who express, as yet, its quality….”

  128. Carolyn says:

    Craig…in this paragraph you used the word subtle.
    “See the subtle twists and turns in Johnson’s definition of antichrist spirit? He’s turned those who oppose Toronto Blessing type goings-on into having an antichrist spirit. He’s totally flipped the tables! This is some serious twisting of the Apostle Johns words!”

    In the writings of New Agers such as Blavatsky, she and all other occultists “blatantly” flip the truth into a lie. They call Jesus the Antichrist and they call Satan or Lucifer the Saviour of Mankind.

    Now, in the “church” the spirits have had to be a little more subtle, but the lie is still there and you really don’t have to look that hard to see it.

    Genesis 3:1
    Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

    2 Corinthians 11:3
    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

    Although the same New Age lies have come through the Kenneth Hagins and Kenneth Copelands in subtle ways using the jargon of Christianity, the lies are becoming less and less subtle. They continually pronounce what “God has told me”, exalting themselves and bringing corrupt teachings to their followers.

    Should strong language be used against such deceivers? I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit uses “serpent” and it’s derivatives throughout Scripture to describe them. Like here:

    Romans 3:13
    Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

    Matthew 23:33
    Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

    Those who are preaching the poison of hell, the “power of the tongue” (Kenneth Copeland), the same lies of the serpent to Eve…words of sorcery and lust for power…their own words will condemn them. He is the typical Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:

    9But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
    10To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
    11And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
    20But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
    21Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
    22Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
    23For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

    Simon the sorcerer repented. Kenneth Copeland has not yet!

    And let me end on this note that God is God and we are not and we are not to be listening to the BJs and the KHs and all the other WOFers….telling us that we are gods and we will not surely die if we listen to them.

    But here is what we are to believe. That because our Saviour, Jesus the Christ, is God from eternity to eternity and died in our place, we will not experience the second death…that our God, Christ, who was born in Bethlehem is eternal and from everlasting, incarnated in deity to be the perfect sacrifice for our sin…Christ is our victory. Good news indeed.

    Micah 5:2 (King James Version)
    2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

  129. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    You wrote, “In the writings of New Agers such as Blavatsky, she and all other occultists ‘blatantly’ flip the truth into a lie. They call Jesus the Antichrist and they call Satan or Lucifer the Saviour of Mankind.

    Yes, they sure do, and as you point out those within the “Church” must be more careful in order to deceive. This is why I use the Bailey quote near the beginning of this article. I will use another in part II which refers to the ‘Christian Church’ as a “necessary expedient”.

    Redefining terms and concepts is the goal as I point out in an earlier article “Christ” in the New Age with this article specifically looking at the ways in which “Christ” is redefined with the express purpose to deceive and confuse.

  130. Michael says:

    I am so happy to have come across this blog on this topic. My eldest daughter and her family are very caught up in the Johnson teaching. I couldn’t work out where this ‘madness’ about their attitude to healing (and even raising people from the dead) etc came from. This makes it very clear. And once again shows that all truth and heresy flow from your doctrines of Christology.

  131. Craig says:

    Michael,

    It’s all about doing “greater works” than Jesus. If Jesus is made into merely a Holy Spirit empowered man, then we can do all the miracles He did (including raising the dead) by the same Holy Spirit:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/

  132. Martin says:

    So are you explicity saying that Jesus did his miracles from the position of his divine attributes and not from his humanity and with the power of the holy spirit? Would Jesus be unable to be fully God if he did the latter, and how do you know?

  133. Martin says:

    I’m trying to marry up the two concepts that i read in the bible. Because, here in Luke’s Gospel, he emphasises Jesus being “full of the Holy Spirit” – now why would Luke need to state that?

    Luke 4:1-2 New International Version (©1984)
    Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

    Just reading a few notes from Gills exposition:

    And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost,…. The Spirit of God having descended on him at his baptism, and afresh anointed, and filled his human nature with his gifts, whereby, as man, he was abundantly furnished for the great work of the public ministry, he was just about to enter upon; yet must first go through a series of temptations, and which, through the fulness of the Holy Spirit in him, he was sufficiently fortified against.

  134. Craig says:

    Martin [7:51am],

    This is all covered in the two-part article Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson which I’m assuming you’ve read since you’ve commented on it. In short, if Jesus Christ did not use any of His divine attributes (functionalist kenosis) having chosen not to then He could not have sustained the Cosmos [Heb 1:3; Col 1:17] thus violating Scripture [along with John 5:21, 24-25]. As per Oliver Crisp, this position also violates the Chalcedonian Creed. Crisp quotes Gerald O’Collins:

    It is prudent teaching about the Son of God assuming the human condition, the Council of Chalcedon declared that the properties or essential features [homoousios] of both the divine and the human nature are preserved in the Incarnation…This teaching seems to rule out even a cautious form of kenotic theology, which proposes that the divine properties were, at least temporarily, not preserved after the Incarnation [ontological kenosis], or at least not preserved in action [functionalist kenosis].

    In addition, one cannot assert that Jesus fully used His divine attributes a la the so-called extra calvinisticum (extra carnem, outside the flesh) [necessary for Heb 1:13 and Col 1:17] yet constrained the use of His divine attributes in the flesh without seemingly bifurcating the Word who then would be using His divine attributes in one sense yet simultaneously restricting the use of His divine attributes in another thereby creating a logical contradiction.

  135. Craig says:

    Martin [8:10am],

    I concede that it is difficult to systematize what appears to be a Holy Spirit empowered Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke compared with the clear teachings elsewhere that Jesus utilized His divine attributes via His divine nature. To fully adopt Gill’s view would violate the hypostatic union as Oliver Crisp states (and quoted the first part of the article on Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson):

    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.”

    The theory of nature-perichoresis (see hyperlink above) I believe does a good job in potentially explaining the mystery of the Incarnation with respect to the hypostatic union. It’s not an easy read requiring one to really study/think about what is written but I think it quite rewarding.

    You pose a good question (though again, I disagree with Gill as Scripture contradicts his view) and one that I’ve been considering myself; however, I don’t wish to sidetrack this discussion here in this article. You could continue your line of thought on the other thread if you like.

  136. Martin says:

    Okay, I really need to chew this over. Appreciate the time you take here to answer these questions. I’m now looking at a totally new concept here regarding this logical contradiction, regarding the divine/human nature. It’s not easy to get your head around!

  137. Craig says:

    I appreciate that you are really digging into this. I think it very important to really know who Jesus Christ was and is.

  138. Martin says:

    Yes, don’t know if you can move these post onto that.

  139. Craig says:

    Martin,

    If you just continue your line of thought over there I’ll know where we left off.

  140. Tim Bain says:

    Craig, I have been following the discussion and am really enjoying it,I commented a few months ago on you site about this very issue and still believe that the concept of the “Christ Anointing ” is CENTRAL to not only the healing issue but ALL aspects of the New Apostolic Reformation (or more accurately…Latter Rain Manifest sons of God take two ) I think you are right on target and want to commend you for the quality of your research…some folks may not grasp its immediate significance and even find it un-Christlike to engage in such detailed and exhaustive analysis of something that seems so needed, good and beneficial, but a year or two from now when this “Christ Anointing” morphs into it next logical “manifestation”, hopefully then they will be grateful that at least a few of us have that annoying tendency to always want to “test the waters” and not just jump in the “river” and “go with the flow” of the “spirit” assuming God will always somehow mystically fix it if we end up in the undertow . “Papa God” would never … oh yes he would, will, and does allow His children to be tested, sifted, tried, persecuted etc. We need to be as “intimately” familiar with the “more sure word of prophecy ” as we are with the Holy Spirit, then perhaps we would have our senses exercised properly to truly discern His “voice” and ….well , then you might be out of job bro. …
    Ok ,enough sarcasm, I wanted to bring a recent quote of BJ to your attention. In the March issue of Charisma mag. 2012. Bill wrote an article on healing and I believe it was on page 24 (or 26), Bill states “While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His Divinity and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). Its vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man not as God. If He did them as God I would still be impressed,but because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow. ”
    I’ll refrain from further comment for now except to say I found the comment on “taking things back that the enemy stole” being used to justify MIXING truth with error ( especially new age) to be dead on , I’ve heard it soooo…. many times.
    Again… I want to thank you and the others who are diligently addressing these critical issues with patience and a zeal for the TRUTH. Grace to you brother.

  141. Craig says:

    Tim Bain,

    You are absolutely correct that this “Christ anointing” is central to LR/MSoG/NAR. I’m working on a ‘bridge’ article between part I and II which should be online shortly. It will further explain the “Christ anointing” to hopefully add some clarity.

  142. Arwen4CJ says:

    Wait…he actually said the following?:
    “While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His Divinity and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). Its vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man not as God. If He did them as God I would still be impressed,but because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow. ”

    Wow — this makes his stance clearer, or more confusing. If he actually said, “He emptied Himself of His Divinity and became a man,” then he definitely does state that Jesus gave up His Divinity/Deity. Sorry, I can no longer give him any benefit of a doubt, regardless of what he says about Him being eternally God.

    He isn’t just talking about God powers, but he is actually talking about His Divinity, as was speculated — the logical conclusion of saying He gave up His God powers while on Earth.

    The fact that he said “Jesus is eternally God” contradicts the rest of the sentence. It’s not compatible. Sure, maybe he wasn’t using precise language, and maybe he does just mean God powers and not Divinity itself, but he should know to word things better. He’s been confronted about this, and to see him using that wording — I have to take him at his word. He’s saying he believed that Jesus gave up His Divinity and was just human while on earth.

    His comment, taken at face value is heresy. I can no longer say that he is just a false teacher. It appears as if he is teaching blatant heresy, whether or not he realizes it.

    Come on, charismatics, think! This man is teaching heresy couched with some orthodox statements — and the whole thing comes off as contradictions.

  143. Craig says:

    Here’s the ‘bridge’ article I mentioned which shows Johnson’s redefinition of antichrist spirit as ‘anti-anointing’ which parallels his redefinition of Christ as “the anointing”.

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

    I hope this will help to clarify this particular aspect of his teaching.

    In addition, it shows cultic behavior in the way in which he starts explaining a term in an orthodox manner and then switches mid-stream to an unorthodox definition. This illustrates, like the Liardon library, that Johnson is definitely using deception in these subtle twists.

  144. Craig says:

    …He emptied Himself of His Divinity and became a man (see Phil. 2:7)…

    This could very well be construed as metamorphosis, i.e. the Word literally became a man devoid of any deity/divinity as some of Johnson’s other statements could. This is not inconsistent with Word of Faith teaching of which he certainly shares some doctrinal positions, e.g. healing in the Atonement:

    “…Jesus destroyed the power of sin, sickness, and poverty through His redemptive work on the cross. In Adam and Eve’s commission to subdue the earth, they were without sickness, poverty, and sin. Now that we are restored to His original purpose, should we expect anything less? After all, this is the better covenant!” [WHIE p 33]

  145. Craig says:

    [ED: this comment has been edited for clarification noted by { } 03/22/12]

    There has been some criticism that my assertion that functional(ist) kenosis {that Jesus performed all the supernatural by the Holy Spirit and not of His inherent divine nature while Incarnate} is heresy is in error. First, let me state that I do not believe Bill Johnson teaches this anyway. However, to clarify regarding functional kenosis, from Elwel’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology [1984 (10th prtg 1994), Baker, Grand Rapids, MI]:

    …Heresy is a deliberate denial of revealed truth coupled with the acceptance of error. The creeds were considered to contain the standard of truth and correct belief, and themselves formally contradicted various false teachings…

    Since John 5:21, 24-25 contradicts functional(ist) kenosis, this doctrine deliberately denies revealed truth. In addition, it violates the Chalcedonian Creed which to most theologians deems it heresy. Quoting from Oliver Crisp’s Divininty and Humanity [2007, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK; p 141]:

    [I]t does not seem to me the functionalist kenotic theory is the same as the classical account of Christology, since a classical account requires that the second person of the Trinity retains and exercises all his essential divine attributes while incarnate, the very thing that functionalist kenoticism denies. Compare, for instance, the Roman Catholic Theologian Gerald O’Collins in this regard:

    “In its prudent teaching about the Son of God assuming the human condition, the Council of Chalcedon declared that the properties or essential features of both the divine and human nature are preserved in the incarnation…This teaching seems to rule out even a cautious form of kenotic theory, which proposes that the divine properties were, at least, temporarily, not preserved after the incarnation, or at least not preserved in action.”

    In addition, as footnoted in the article (#16), on page 25 of Crisp’s book is the following:

    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, also available here] 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.

    {The Chalcedonian Creed states that the divine nature is of one homoousios (substance/essence) with the Godhead and the human nature is of one homoousios (substance/essence) with the human. If we are to assume that Jesus Christ in His divinity was limited in function, then it follows that we should assume His human nature was also somehow limited in function. This, to me, then would not make Christ the same as the Godhead in His divinity nor the same as mankind in His humanity. Affirming the same nature and function would seem to best uphold divine immutability as well – with immutability considered “an important constituent of the traditional view” as per Crisp [p 146]. Affirming this also would be in line with Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”}

  146. Craig says:

    Part II of the “Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?” is now posted:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-christ-part-ii/

  147. Badger says:

    Arwen4CJ says
    ‘Wait…he actually said the following? “While Jesus is eternally God…” ‘

    Yup, heres the quote here too, in his “Essential Guide to Healing” book: http://goo.gl/9XJwD

  148. Craig says:

    Badger, yes and it’s quoted in part II, too. I don’t know how much more clear he can state this: “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man.”

  149. cherylu says:

    I don’t know if I have asked this question on this blog or not. But there is something I have wondered about from time to time and I have never gotten an answer to it from anywhere.

    Does anyone know how Johnson defines the term “divinity?” In my mind I have always equated it with “deity” as I believe the rest of the folks commenting here do. However, I remember from a conversation elsewhere a couple of years ago that not all people use the term in that way. This was not a conversation with a hyper charismatic, but if I remember correctly, was with a Unitarian who definitely doesn’t believe Jesus is God. But the point was that they did not equate the term “divinity” with “deity”. It was used more as denoting attributes or something coming from deity as I recall the conversation. In other words, that person did not believe that by saying Jesus was divine it meant that He was deity/God.

    I have wondered if there is a chance Johnson uses the term with the same understanding. If so, even these blunt statements of his that stand in contrast to his other remarks about Jesus being eternally God wouldn’t mean that B J is saying that Jesus emptied Himself of His deity, His actual God-hood.

  150. cherylu says:

    Here are the definitions of “divinity” and “divine” from Dictionary.com that show the meaings of these words in the way the Unitarian seemed to use them:

    di·vine   /dɪˈvaɪn/ Show Spelled [dih-vahyn] Show IPA adjective, -vin·er, -vin·est, noun, verb, -vined, -vin·ing.
    adjective
    1. of or pertaining to a god, especially the Supreme Being.
    2. addressed, appropriated, or devoted to God or a god; religious; sacred: divine worship.
    3. proceeding from God or a god: divine laws.
    4. godlike; characteristic of or befitting a deity: divine magnanimity.
    5. heavenly; celestial: the divine kingdom.

    (TThere are further meanings listed including, “The Divine, God”

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

    di·vin·i·ty   /dɪˈvɪnɪti/ Show Spelled[dih-vin-i-tee] Show IPA
    noun, plural -ties.
    1. the quality of being divine; divine nature.
    2. deity; godhood.
    3. a divine being; God.
    4. the Divinity, ( sometimes lowercase ) the Deity.
    5. a being having divine attributes, ranking below God but above humans: minor divinities.

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

    If Johnson is using the terms in this way, it would throw a somewhat different light on things then to think he is actually saying he laid his “deity” aside.

  151. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I’m not sure I follow you exactly as it seems these pretty much describe attributes of God. But, yes, one could, for example, describe a particular dessert as “divine” and not mean deity. But, I’m not sure how to apply that to Johnson.

    Even still, Johnson also redefined “Christ” as “the anointing” and “antichrist (spirit)” as essentially ‘anti-anointing’.

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

    In addition, his claim is that “The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit” which indicates that Jesus didn’t have the title of Christ prior to his ‘smearing’ by the Holy Spirit at baptism. Therefore He was merely Jesus of Nazareth and not Jesus Christ until baptism. Furthermore, Johnson states, “…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…” This exact anointing is available to all. Putting this all together, Jesus was merely a man who had the ‘Christ anointing’ descend upon Him providing the example for the rest of us.

    Then, of course, we have such statements as:

    He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!

    Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ/

    As an aside, unless I’m mistaken, I do believe Unitarians believe Jesus was a man who attained divinity/deity – just like any of us can potentially.

  152. jorma huttunen says:

    Because Jesus was devine,He lived sinless life.He could read pharisees thouhts and knew the number of men in womans life at the well. Bill Johnson is preaching different gospel.

  153. Craig says:

    jorma,

    I agree Johnson is preaching a different gospel as he’s preaching a different Jesus altogether.

  154. Arwen4CJ says:

    cherylu,

    Hmmm…true that some people might not equate divinity with deity. I remember talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses and other unitarians who will say that Jesus was divine, however, they deny His deity. By divine, they meant that Jesus came from heaven with God’s assignment — and that He was the first thing that God created.

    So…I have heard people say that Jesus was divine, but not deity. However, I’ve never heard it reversed — that Jesus was deity but not divine — unless that is what Bill Johnson is trying to say. However, reversing it doesn’t make much sense.

    I think that you are right — someone needs to ask Bill Johnson to define divinity. That would really help.

    It’s hard for me to imagine someone saying “He gave up His divinity” and not have it mean “He gave up His deity.” Still, in all fairness to Bill Johnson, he should be given a chance to defend his statement.

  155. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Given that Johnson has stated that, “the Son can do nothing”, having “NO supernatural capabilities whatsover” because “He so emptied Himself that He was incapable”, as He “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”, it seems Johnson is talking about divine attributes – without which Jesus would not be fully God/deity.

    Or, am I missing something?

    And, again, that’s not taking into account my comment at 12:55 above.

  156. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    Is it any harder to think that someone, B J in this case, could think that God emptied Himself of His divine attributes but still somehow remained God, then it is to think that he believes God somehow stopped being God, morphed into a man, and then at some point morphed back into being God again??

  157. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Yes, I do think he is talking about divine attributes. However, it may be that he doesn’t equate divine attributes with deity.

    Johnson’s quote shows that he is in serious error. I still think that that quote makes him especially guilty, and his other comments that you referenced show his theology is wrong.

    However, I’m not sure whether or not he thinks that having no divine attributes is equated with not having deity. The man is teaching false doctrine. There’s no doubt of that.

    I would like to see him define divinity, though. I want to see what he says. I am on facebook, but I don’t want to add him as a friend. Is anyone already friends with him that could ask him that question?

    I want to know what Bill Johnson thinks it means to “lay aside divinity,” and how Jesus could still be God if He lays it aside. How does Johnson think that divinity and deity differ?

    Those are the things that I’d like to see. I’m surprised that his editors and those he associates with don’t ask these questions for him to clarify. Unless he’s doing this on purpose, and he doesn’t want to offer clarity. He has to know that his teaching is confusing.

    The man isn’t a very good writer or speaker.

  158. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    What you’ve just described (the latter part) is exactly the ‘kenosis’ theory of W. F. Gess from the 19th century.

  159. Craig says:

    Arwen,

    Johnson is amazingly clear in some things, yet, he’s ‘confusing’ in his Christology. We have to wonder why. Johnson has already shown allegiance to known false teachers as he’s more interested in “the anointing” than Biblical truth. He’s redefined a number of important Christian terms. Johnson has apparently shown deception with respect to the acquisition of the Roberts Liardon library. So, would it be a surprise if Johnson were purposely confusing or ambiguous in the most important doctrine of Christianity, namely the person of Jesus Christ?

  160. cherylu says:

    Arwen,

    I am not his FB friend either and I don’t want to become his friend to ask him! But I surely would like to see his definition. Could be that it would explain a lot.

    Like how he can say he laid his divinity aside and still say He was/is/always God and that never changed.

    Craig,

    About the library thing. Assuming that was a deliberate deception, yes it certainly makes a person suspicious that he may be lying about other things. But I think the key words here are MAY BE. Certainly doen’s prove that he is.

  161. Arwen4CJ says:

    No, it would not be surprising if he was deliberately confusing about his Christology. I guess I’d just like him to define it so that there can be no question what he teaches on the subject.

    I pretty much think he teaches that Christ gave up His deity, but I want to hear him actually say it. Otherwise, I feel like I’m not being fair to him.

  162. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    The Roberts Liardon library issue is merely one of the ones I pointed. Do you think that deliberately redefining key Christian terms such as “Christ”, “antichrist”, and “repentance” are tantamount to lying?

  163. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    What you’ve just described (the latter part) is exactly the ‘kenosis’ theory of W. F. Gess from the 19th century.

    Are you referring to the “morphing” comments? If so, I would still like to know how it would be any harder to believe that then to believe that Jesus could somehow divest Himself of His attributes and still somehow remain God. You seemed to think that maybe Johnson believes in metamorphosis but can’t seem to think that he may believe in the other idea. Why not?

    You also keep speaking of the quotes by Johnson about Jesus receiving the anointing at His baptism and us receiving the same anointing. This is not new to Johnson by any means. It is a WoF/charismatic teaching. I heard it from my pastor in the church I came from. Kenneth Copeland has a teaching online about it that I just read part of. And as I have said before, the word “Christ” in charismatic circles does not seem to be a title denoting God. It is thought of as meaning “aointed one” or “anointing”. Therefore, to say that Jesus received His anointing, became Christ by experience at His baptism, is not the same thing as saying that He was not God before that. And BJ did say that He was born with the title of Christ too, did he not?

    It also follows then that to say we receive the Christ anointing too does not mean that makes us God. It does mean that it makes us anointed and empowered like Christ was to do what God called us to to. And that is Johnson’s whole point, is it not? That He is our example and we can do as He did?

  164. cherylu says:

    Ugh, having a computer war. Stupid thing just deleted my comment when I was about half way done. Some days I think this thing has it in for me!

    I was trying to say that the redefining of such words as “Christ”, “antichrist”, and “repentance” are not new to Johnson. The WoF/charismatic movement is great at redifining terms and concepts. Their interpretation of the words is often quite different from the way they are used in the rest of the Christian world.

    My pastor defined the word Christ as meaning “anointed” or “anointing”. Ken Copeland has an article that talks about the same thing that I just read part of. The word “antichrist” meaning “anti-anointing” is a concept that I am familiar with too. And I doubt it just came from Johsnon. Don’t know if I have heard his use of the word repentance before, but it doesn’t mean it is not out there.

    What I am trying to say is simply that Johnson didn’t just twist the meaning of these words on his own to try and deceive people. They are part of the whole paradigm that he is a part of. Personal experience speaking here again!

  165. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    You wrote, “You seemed to think that maybe Johnson believes in metamorphosis but can’t seem to think that he may believe in the other idea. Why not?

    Because of his other teachings such as his quotes which look remarkably like New Age ideology and his “spiritual DNA” teachings both of which will be covered in part III

    You wrote, “You also keep speaking of the quotes by Johnson about Jesus receiving the anointing at His baptism and us receiving the same anointing. This is not new to Johnson by any means. It is a WoF/charismatic teaching.

    Exactly. Just like the ‘born again’ Jesus version that Jesus died spiritually, went to hell, took on Satan’s nature and was subsequently born again is WoF. Did you want to equate that teaching with Johnson’s ‘born again’ statement? In any case, the teaching is not only not Biblical, it’s straight out of New Age (and Gnostic) teaching.

    You wrote, “And BJ did say that He was born with the title of Christ too, did he not?

    No, he didn’t – at least not that I’ve seen. I’ve seen one quote in WHIE in which it may sound that way, but it’s not exactly. Just like one of Johnson’s fans states right here in a comment on this site, (paraphrase) Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem but He didn’t actually become Christ until baptism. It’s like stating “President John F. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917″ which is an absolutely correct statement; however, Kennedy was not BORN President. Same thing with Jesus.

    But, yet you still miss the point on the “Christ anointing” thing. Johnson’s explicit statement is, “The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit” When did Jesus get “smeared with the Holy Spirit” in this context? At baptism. This indicates Jesus was NOT Christ until baptism.

    Moreover, it’s quite clear that Johnson has redefined “antichrist (spirit)” as ‘anti-anointing':

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

    So, given that, it logically follows that “Christ” has been redefined to “anointing”, does it not? That’s been exactly my point/analysis all along.

  166. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    It matters little whether someone else in hyper-charismatic circles came out with a particular doctrine of which Johnson adheres. If it’s unbiblical or heretical by Copeland, it’s the same with Johnson.

    So, whether Johnson himself has twisted these doctrines initially or not really doesn’t matter. He’s at the least accepting others’ doctrines which have been previously twisted. Certainly, he is literate enough to tell the difference between the orthodox meaning of these words and someone else’s redefinition. This shows intentional deceit or a lack of intelligence. Looking at all of Johnson’s works, I don’t believe we can call him unintelligent as he’s fairly articulate. As to deceit – well, that’s already been shown in the Liardon library thing.

    Frankly, it really doesn’t matter Johnson’s intent or lack thereof because it’s the same demonic spirit behind this false teaching. I’ll quote from Al Dager’s Vengeance is Ours:

    Many who teach these things would deny they are theosophists; they think of themselves as orthodox Christians who have received special revelations from God. But whether they adhere to theosophical doctrines consciously, or are merely pawns in the conflict of the ages, is immaterial. A child playing with matches needn’t have knowledge of thermodynamics to cause damage.

  167. cherylu says:

    Certainly, he is literate enough to tell the difference between the orthodox meaning of these words and someone else’s redefinition. This shows intentional deceit or a lack of intelligence.

    Kind if sounds like you are probably relegating a whole lot of folks in the church, leaders and followers alike,into the realms of the deceitful or not so intelligent here!

    Frankly, it really doesn’t matter Johnson’s intent or lack thereof….

    If that is so, why have you spent so much time with the idea that he is a deliberate deceiver??

  168. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    No, we’re talking about Johnson here. Everyone else is not writing Johnson’s books and other materials.

    The “deliberate deceiver” comes down to semantics. Is Johnson so deceived that he deliberately redefines terms, twists Scripture unknowingly? That is, is he so demonically controlled that he has no idea and it’s rather the demon controlling him who is doing this? But, the end result is the same.

  169. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    We are simply talking in circles here. If it true for Johnson, why isn’t it true for anyone else that is believing it and teaching it??

    And again, you seem to have missed the whole point of my last few comments. Johnson is NOT the one that came up with these doctrines. They have been taught by others and they are being taught by others. He is the product of the whole church movement. Not the instigator, the brains behind it, the one that has heard all of this directly from demons..

    If all the rest of these folks can believe it and teach it and not be deliberate deceivers or below average in intelligence, why is that the case with Johnson? Makes 0% sense to me.

    And why do you think they know they are delberately redefining and twisting Scriputre? Why don’t you think it is possible that they actually believe this is what Scripture is teaching? Could it possibly be that they don’t think what you and I know as “orthodox” and believe to be right on is not the way understand and believe it at all?

    I know, I know, it seems you just don’t seem to think that any one can possibly really believe this stuff. Well, let me tell you again from personal experience that a lot of people seem to believe it, hook, line and sinker. How that can be case, I don’t know. I just know that it is. Our word “orthodox” is just not the end all to theology for them.

  170. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    You wrote, “why isn’t it true for anyone else that is believing it and teaching it?

    I’m not saying it is or isn’t. My focus has been on Johnson. Others are either deceived or deceiving deceivers.

    I get your point that Johnson is not the only one teaching some of these things; but, does that make the true source any less demonic? Perverting the person of Christ is what demons do; that’s their modus operandi. Johnson’s words are his own (whether or not by a demon), they are not exact copies of another. The basic doctrine may be something he’s appropriated; but, he’s putting it into his own words. Whether or not he or any of his predecessor’s think this is orthodox this fact remains: if one is truly led of the Spirit, He will guide us into Truth – especially as regards the person of Christ. But, again, whether it’s Johnson himself by his flesh or the demons behind these evil doctrines doing it, Scripture is purposely twisted and terms redefined.

    As but one example, we have Johnson’s proof-texting of a portion of John 5:19, “…The Son can do nothing…” in his claim that Jesus was wholly reliant on the Father through the spirit with “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever”. In looking at the immediate context, it’s clear the Jews had understood Jesus as claiming to be equal with God (5:16-18). In response, Jesus states He doesn’t do anything on His own as He can only do what the Father does (5:19). The point is that He IS equal with God which is made clear when He says He can give life “to whom He is pleased to give it” just as the Father(5:21, NIV 1984). This is exactly what the Jews understood in verse 16 as the common understanding was that God rested on the Sabbath except that He gave life (babies born) and exacted judgment (death of individuals). He then states that He grants eternal life in the then present (5:24-25). This then clearly indicates that Jesus was not “powerless” as Johnson claims.

    I don’t know if someone else proof-texts John 5:19 in the manner Johnson does; but, again, it doesn’t matter. It’s the spirits behind this that are providing the information.

    Bottom line: if one believes that “Christ” is merely an anointing and does not refer to the exclusive person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then that person is either not listening to the Holy Spirit or that person does not have the Spirit in them to begin with.

    The whole tangible, transferable “anointing” is not only not Scriptural it is antichrist by the Apostle John’s definition in his first epistle. John makes a clear reference to the chrisma, or anointing which is “from the Holy One” (1 John 2:20, NIV 1984) while the “liar” is the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ (2:22). In claiming, as per hyper-charismaticism, that “the anointing” is “Christ” is tantamount to denying that Jesus is the Christ, plain and simple.

    So, it matters not if Johnson is the originator of this evil doctrine, the point is he adheres to a doctrine so obviously against Jesus Christ and His Word as revealed by the Holy Spirit. To adhere to such doctrine is not a mark of being led of the Spirit as it’s a clear twisting of the Scriptures. Whether it’s Johnson in and of himself or the spirits behind him does not matter; the effect is the same. He and/or the spirits behind him is/are twisting the Scriptures.

    Do you agree that this doctrine is antichrist? If not, please tell me why.

  171. cherylu says:

    Good morning Craig.

    Again, I have never once said that I agree with Johnson’s doctrine. Let’s please not go down that road again.

    My whole point has been to say, “Let’s be careful that we don’t accuse him of more then he is actually guilty of.” Good grief, he is guilty of enough as it is!

    And for the last time, (I hope!), I have been trying to say here that because Johnson believes and teaches these things does not prove he is a delberate deceiver. Or make him someone that is not too intelligent either one. I really could hardly believe my eyes that you laid those two things out as the only options available for him at this point.

    It simply does not work to lay those parameters on him and say he has to be one or the other and then to say it is not the same for the rest of the world out there believing and teaching the same things. He is not a person that is totally different then the rest of humanity or the rest of the movement that he is a part of.

    You are only a deliberate deceiver if you know that what you are presenting as truth is indeed a lie. If he indeed believes these things as many others seem to do completely, then he is deceived himself.

    I know you can see no other interpretation for certain areas of Scripture. Including the John verses above. I have done a lot of reading on various blogs in the last years however, and I know that is not the only way people see those verses. I think they are quite wrong in their understanding of things, but that doesn’t mean they believe they are teaching or believing a lie.

  172. Craig says:

    My reason for this question: “Do you agree that this doctrine is antichrist?” is to get a specific response from you. It’s a general question about the doctrine, not specifically pertaining to Johnson. I would really like your answer on this. Yes, you’ve made it clear that you disagree with Johnson’s doctrine, but that’s not what I’m after here.

    But, I still think you fail to see my point. Whether one is deceived and propounding a doctrine ‘innocently’, or whether one is doing it defiantly does not matter. The intent of the spirit behind this is the same. Again, it matters not if Johnson heard these doctrines from someone else, or whether he dreamed it up in his own mind having no idea someone else already taught these, or if he is so influenced by evil spirits that he has no idea what he’s saying. He, either of himself and/or the spirits behind him, is/are deliberately deceiving others with these twisted doctrines. Is he so deceived he doesn’t know the difference? That may well be.

    You wrote, “You are only a deliberate deceiver if you know that what you are presenting as truth is indeed a lie. If he indeed believes these things as many others seem to do completely, then he is deceived himself.” Yes, but you nor I know that for sure as I point out in part II. In fact, let’s move this discussion to part II as that’s where it’s most applicable.

  173. cherylu says:

    I’ll have to do some more thinking or rereading on the specifics of your antichrist question.

    And you are right, we don’t know for sure if B J is deceived or a deliberate deceiver. That is my whole point. While you have said that on one hand, on the other you have spent untold hours trying to prove that he is a deliberate wolf and you have stated that you believe he is.

    And now in a comment above, you have given him only the option of being a deliberate deceiver or really quite stupid, to put your thoughts in somewhat blunter terms. And you have said you didn’t think it was lack of intelligence so that leaves only one other option, right?? And that is deliberate deceiver.

    While you say we can’t know for sure, your loud and clear accusation stands.

  174. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Let’s see what Scripture says (Matthew 7:15-23, NIV):

    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    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!’

    Looking at the last two verses we see these “false prophets”, “ferocious wolves” (7:15) will stand at the White Throne Judgment and plead their case. Are they so deceived as to tell Jesus they’re at the wrong judgment? Or, are they defiantly pleading their cases? This passage makes my point regarding the deliberate deceiver and that is that they are deliberately deceiving whether in and of themselves or as the unwilling vessel of the enemy.

    Do you think Jesus will say instead something like, “It’s OK, I understand. The enemy is really powerful; so, I will allow you passage to the Heavenly Gates. You were merely deceived and in your own deception deceiving others.”?

    Let’s try this from another angle: For example, let’s use a Satanist. This Satanist spits (metamorphically) in the face of Jesus Christ. There’s no doubt he’s willingly doing this. Yet, s/he is also deceived by the enemy; certainly, if s/he understood the Biblical reality of the lake of fire, s/he would not make such a foolish choice.

    Does that help make my point?

    Please answer on part II: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-christ-part-ii/

    Part II is the most applicable place to discuss this.

  175. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    I’m not taking the discussion anywhere at this point. It is going nowhere fast. Just in one big, huge circle. So I’m calling it quits.

    If a person can believe they are telling the truth even if they are quite wrong and still be accused of being a “deliberate” deceiver, (B J we are discussing here), then the word “deliberate” has been redefined to mean something else completely from any definition I know of it.

    No more of this convo from me at this time. I see no point in it at all.

    If you want this comment in the Part II thread, please feel free to move it there.

  176. Craig says:

    I would still like your reply to my question below at 8:34am re: antichrist doctrine as, in my mind, it’s central to this discussion.

    I do find it curious that I’m not afforded any latitude in your eyes with respect to what I write yet you give Johnson so much more. I have to wonder why that is. I’m not the one leading the flock astray as I’m doing my best to expose the evil doctrines that Johnson propounds and promotes – which itself exposes the evil doctrines of the hyper-charismatic movement in general. Even if you think I’m wrong in part of what I say, why continue to defend a person who is so obviously leading many astray? You’ve even admitted that BSSM is spiritual poison. I don’t get it.

  177. TimBain says:

    I can’t think of anyone other then maybe Rob Bell that has been warned,confronted, exhorted, entreated, challenged,rebuked, etc. as much as Bill Johnson has over the last 5 years regarding his errant doctrine and practices, for him to demonstrate the cavalier,even arragent demeanor towards the “Church” (including its many denominations-God bless them All!), the HOLY Scripture (the more SURE WORD of “prophecy”),the faithful shepherds whose flocks he has helped to scatter,confuse and wound, and our Lord…Jesus the” true Christ” who alone has merited that “office” which we the church honor Him in. Finally…the Holy Spirit whose “voice” has been trampled under foot by the flood of false “words” shouted at itching ears. I for one, cannot and do not believe Gods Word allows us to continue to patiently tolerate one who has persisted THIS LONG in assaulting everything Gods Word calls Holy in His Sight. I’m afraid Bill is only one of many who are turning on the Truth and fully embrace the” Lie ” Judging those within the house is the toughest job we will face especially in this post -modern pragmatic ,aquarian age we have entered but we have been warned and equipped , we must love the truth even when it divides and stand on it in the spirit.

  178. pnissila says:

    I’ve just come across this blog in my ongoing research on Bill Johnson’s church specifically the Sozo phenomenon. Several friends are caught up in this. Of most interest to me in this discussion are Cherylu’s responses. As an “outside observer,” as it were, I would ask her Who she says Jesus Christ is? That’s all. But the upside is that Craig, you have taken the challenge to exquisitely expand on your analysis of Johnson’s “theology,” which has been tremendously enlightening for me.

  179. Craig says:

    pnissila,

    I’m thankful that you’ve been helped by the work done here on CrossWise. May you be able to help your friends who are caught up in the Sozo teachings.

  180. cherylu says:

    pnissila,

    I would say Jesus Christ was on this earth fully God and fully man. Does that answer your question?

  181. pnissila says:

    It’s a start.

  182. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, part IV (Conclusion) « CrossWise

  183. Jason Sanders says:

    New Age? Devil’s doctrine? If Jesus gave up his write as God to become man, that still made/ makes him God. How does giving up the right as God make a difference? Aren’t we splitting hairs? Aren’t we putting words into their mouth claiming that they don’t believe Jesus to be God? I’m imagine if you asked them, their mouths would drop in horror at such an accusation.

    I find the tone here consistent with an accusing and divisive spirit, and not consistent with Paul’s tone in uniting the church. Shouldn’t we be using a different tone here? One eating meat, and the other one not eating meat should still be able to dine in unity.

    The mysteries of the theology of the trinity have never been convincingly understood from where I sit. Maybe I’m just ignorant. I’ve heard long dissertations, and many sincere break downs, and they lacked the ‘confidence’ I see coming from here.

    I’m not from nor do I support the Jesus Culture ministry. I was curious to check on their theology and found your site. If this is the best you’ve got against them, I feel comfortable that this isn’t satanic or anything like that. You are welcome to make other cases though.

    Bless you. May you point to Christ with unity as the focus. May the world see Jesus and not quarreling religious men flexing theology instead of love.

  184. Craig says:

    Jason,

    You seem to have missed the point/s. You say we shouldn’t ‘flex theology’ but instead ‘love’. First of all, to speak of Jesus is to be speaking theology (theos = God; ology = study of). In addition, to warn others about dangerous doctrine I submit IS love.

    Can you point to a specific instance in the article that exemplifies the ‘accusing and divisive spirit’ you accuse me of [you’re not being ‘accusing and divisive’, are you?] so that I can understand your point of view?

    You wrote, “If Jesus gave up his write as God to become man, that still made/ makes him God. How does giving up the right as God make a difference?” The article shows Johnson claiming Jesus gave up “divinity” which means Jesus was no longer God. [Unless you can somehow show me how a non-divine person can be divine simultaneously.] If Jesus is no longer God having no divine attributes, how can He reacquire His divine attributes? If Jesus can somehow do this, can we also become divine without having any divine attributes? I’m trying here to illustrate the absurdity of such theology.

    And, I’m not accusing – I’m pointing specific quotes which indicate exactly what they say. I don’t have to ‘put words in their mouth’ as you state.

    Your comment RE the Trinity. The Trinity IS a divine mystery! Just like the Incarnation. Yet, we don’t try to explain the Incarnation in such a way that humanizes Jesus Christ at the expense of His divinity.

    You wrote, “May you point to Christ with unity as the focus.” That is exactly what I’m doing here. Christians ARE to unify around Christ – the Christ as He is revealed in the Bible. Not the one Bill Johnson and some others are proclaiming – one with “NO supernatural powers whatsoever!”

  185. Steve B. (omots) says:

    I watched the Youtube testimony (there are many of them) again of Kim Walker, Bethel’s worship leader. Her testimony is disturbing and really weird, as is her trance inducing music (always starts soft, then mesmerizes, building into an emotional climax, what I like to call a “spiritual orgasm”). Kim is an example of an “adept” if you will. She is a spiritual leader showing others how to worship, how to get close to God. Or, at least, like her mentor Bill Johnson, so she thinks.

    I personally do not believe that Kim actually saw God the Father face to face, nor that “he” created her by tearing out a piece of his heart, nor that she saw him jump arouind like an over excited crazed teenager whenever he watched her sing and dance…but that’s all in her own testimony. To put it bluntly, I do not think the “Jesus” Kim Walker and Bill Johnson worship is the same Jesus I worship. I do not believe that Kim had an encounter with God, but more likely with the devil himself. But that’s just my opinion.

    Watch Kim’s testimony here:

    Watch a typical Jesus Culture (Kim Walker) worship here:

    Bethel’s gold dust and feathers that supposedly fall upon the congregation during services is a far cry from the power of God. For people who claim to be living life in partnership with God Himself, fits of laughter, squirming on the floor speaking in tongues, and a few unverifiable so-called “divine” healings etc. are pretty weak stuff. They are most likely counterfeits and not true manifestations of God’s Holy Spirit at work. But there is no denying that the crowds Bethel is garnering are huge. Are people just stupid, like the theosophists claim? Or is there a powerful delusion taking hold over the multitudes?

    I came across a rather lengthy 1909 Theosophist article…which seems to apply to what’s going on at Bethel. I pulled out a couple excerpts:

    ‘In other words, we must realize that which is spiritual and divine within ourselves and in every other thing, before the portals of profound occult knowledge can be opened for us and we become initiated into the divine mysteries of nature. We must be able to raise our consciousness to a higher plane, before we can be able to perceive and actually know that which belongs to that plane and to avoid the snares and pitfalls which await those who walk with closed eyes in the dangerous precincts of the astral plane’.

    “Every great movement, when it becomes popular, oversteps its boundaries and devastation begins. The tree of occultism, overflowing with life, produced many excrescences; hypnotism and mental suggestion appeared upon the scene and their miracles worked both ways; for, the best kind of medicine for effecting a cure may, if misapplied, also become a poison that kills, and the two, great enemies of mankind, stupidity and selfishness, are always ready to misapply the gifts which they receive. There are not a few who are willing to pledge their souls to the demons of hell, if they thereby could come into possession of infernal powers.”

    “Some of these societies, being based upon a financial scheme for making money, pretending to be able to employ divine powers in their service and to have the will of God at their command for the purpose of procuring for their adherents physical health and worldly benefits, met with great success; for the multitudes will always rush to that camp, where they think that a mine of gold has been discovered and where they are expecting a share; and the holding out promises of making salvation easy has always been the fundamental power of every clerical institution. However, we will not quarrel with these sects; however mistaken their theories and however deplorable the entire want of intelligence among some of their leaders, they too were the outgrowth of our times, the products of the law of necessity, and they had to fill a certain place in the progress of human evolution, and to certain of their guides the testimony may be given, that in spite of their ignorance and self conceit, they after all believed themselves in what they taught, and that they consequently “meant well.””

    http://www.theosophical.org/publications/quest-magazine/1251

    So, as far as the theosophists are concerned, Bethel Church is just fulfilling a certain place in human evolution. Bill Johnson and Kim Walker probably really do believe in what they are doing. They are probably very sincere and mean well. Is that all that is required? Is that “good”? Is that acceptable?

    No, I think not.

  186. Craig says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for posting this. I confess I’ve not ever looked into Bethel’s “Jesus Culture” worship music.

    You wrote, “I personally do not believe that Kim actually saw God the Father face to face, nor that “he” created her by tearing out a piece of his heart, nor that she saw him jump arouind like an over excited crazed teenager whenever he watched her sing and dance…

    I suppose the question we must ask ourselves is can ANYONE see the Father (and live)? Scripture says no. And, of course, I don’t think we see evidence anywhere in Scripture which would suggest Jesus would run around like an overly excited crazed teenager. This is very disturbing stuff.

    It’s so very sad as Walker seems like a very nice and sincere individual – as so many do – but she is so very sincerely deceived.

  187. pnissila says:

    I also appreciate the posting. My friends involved in Bethel think this is a “new” move of God. The buzz word, at least from listening to them, seems to be “thrive,” now. Everybody they reference who is involved in Sozo is “thriving.” In addition, they are adamant about how God uses Sozo to heal “instantly.” All this in the face of another friend they took to Bethel last year for healing from breast cancer. They were sure she was healed. This summer, the cancer is back with a vengeance. In fact, our dear friend may be dying. But with cults, there is no logic. Undoubtedly they have some excuse related to her faith level or something else. Very sad. Thank you for continuing to expose this.

  188. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Misunderstanding, misapplying, or misinterpreting the mystery of the wedding feast of the Lamb, the bride and bridegroom, a divine marriage where the two shall become one flesh, etc. is at the heart of Bethel’s errant theology.

    Bethel Church/Bill Johnson teach that God imparts His divinity to us, (mankind), if we but worship Him. In other words, our worship opens the door to becoming part of God, like God, or acting with the power of God right here on this earth. It’s a give and take kind of thing, with the results wholly dependent on our level of faith, our intensity of worship. “Ask and you shall receive”, so why not ask for it all. This is what I believe Bill Johnson means when he refers to being “partners with God”. This is what Kim Walker is singing about when she moans “I will pursue you” over and over. They are in effect saying, “See how much I worship you? Now give me your glory, I won’t stop moaning, begging, pestering you about it until I have it all!”

    The simple fact is the marriage feast of the lamb has not taken place yet, and it certainly does not take place here on this earth while man is still in his fleshly state. It is a heavenly marriage, and it is still in the future, is it not?

    The “ministers” at Bethel act like they are already married to God. This is a different gospel from proclaiming our salvation, a different gospel from being saved by grace. If, by marriage, the two shall become one flesh, and if we are already married right now to God through the death of Christ, then we would have every right to expect to be able to exercise ALL the power and authority of God. After all, if the two shall become one, and we are really already one with God right now, then why should we not expect to be able to exercise God’s full authority?

    Isn’t this what Bill Johnson is really teaching when he says “we” will do greater things than Jesus?

    I just can’t wait to see what these greater things are. Not.

  189. Craig says:

    Steve,

    Yes, you’re right; it’s about a ‘union’ with god. Whether it’s the Platonic/Neoplatonic concept of the the preexistence of the soul in which the soul is essentially a literal part of god, or the ‘divine spark’ concept, we must, through contemplation, “intimacy”, etc. ‘unite’ ourselves with god in order the fully actualize ourselves and simultaneously be rid of the inferior physical existence. It comes down to this dualistic concept of spirit=good and matter=evil. This union, though, comes in stages thereby necessitating this continual ‘seeking his presence’ in order to fully become ‘one’ with him. It’s just like the Eastern Transcendental Meditation.

    Once we redeem ourselves in this way, then we can redeem creation, i.e. free the individual souls/sparks within creation and thereby enable us to unite with all these sparks/souls in order for god to be completely whole again. That’s the ‘marriage supper of the lamb’ according to the occult. After this, the shells around all of creation, including the human shell, will need to be destroyed.

    Now, THERE’s a greater work than Jesus as He never did anything like that. ;-) No, He just created and continually sustains all of creation (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17; Gen 1:1; John 1:1).

    Note at about 2:55 of the 2nd video Walker-Smith sings “I will not be denied”. It’s her right apparently to seek and have this ‘presence’ of/with God.

  190. Carolyn says:

    28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the LORD. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

    Listening to this video creates in me a most impatient response…like I’ve heard these kinds of stories too many times…and will you please get through it? I’m bored already….

    Way back in the dark ages when Paula White was starting out and came as the speaker to our Women’s Retreat…she was sharing similar outrageous details of her encounters with this “other Jesus”. Since then the crowds and the gullibility have increased, or the delusion, for what else could it be?

    It reminds me of a time in Israel’s history when God promised them a famine:
    Amos 8:11 (New International Version)
    11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD,
    “when I will send a famine through the land—
    not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
    but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.

    People have become so distracted and enamoured by these demonic spiritual encounters that they haven’t noticed that the Word of the Lord has been stolen from them and they are eating “straw”………and Pnissila, how can they possibly “thrive” on straw?

  191. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Craig, you, Carolyn, and I are on the same page when it comes to Bethel. Let’s hope the work that you have done here Craig, and our comments, is of benefit to the readers who come here looking for answers about Bill Johnson’s ministry. If even one is helped to get back on the narrow path, it’s all worth it.

    Are sinners being saved through the ministries at Bethel? Or, are those who think they are already saved being led back into bondage? The draw at Bethel is not salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, but in acquiring power.

    “Dream Culture” promises the power to fulfill one’s dreams, make dreams real, from cars, to careers, to acquiring that perfect marriage partner.

    “Sozo” promises the power to heal one’s self physically or psychologically, to get rid of that which hinders so a person can “fulfill one’s destiny”.

    “The School of Supernatural Ministry”, “School of the Prophets”, “Jesus Culture Worship Team”, etc. all promise the attendee supernatural abilities and powers.

    God does certainly give gifts, but not for our own glory, not for our own satisfaction, and not so we can have everything we want right here on this earth. God’s gifts are not for sale.

    Bethel’s ministry list is right out of the shaman’s playbook. The only difference is they have slathered everything with Christian terminology, a veneer of godliness, on what otherwise is simply a mix of new age/pagan practices.

    But let it be said, there is no greater display of supernatural power on earth than when one sinner repents and turns to our Lord Jesus.

    Amen?

  192. Craig says:

    Steve,

    I will wholeheartedly “AMEN” your comment. I don’t know if you’ve seen this particular post just yet which echoes your last statement:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/

    Within that post is a quote from 19th century expositor J.C. Ryle:

    In short, ‘greater works’ mean more conversions. There is no greater work possible than the conversion of a soul.

  193. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Take a look at this (16 min.) trailer for “Wide is the Gate Vol. 2″. It appears to be a very well put together synopsis of what we are talking about. The entire film is over 3 hrs. long.

  194. Craig says:

    Steve,

    I’d say that generally it’s a good overview. However, one of the inherent problems in these sorts of things is the tendency to make broad sweeps. And sometimes in doing so, one person is mischaracterized as a bit worse than what they are while another is not seen to be perhaps as dangerous as they really are.

    The idea to ‘reappropriate’ “what the devil stole”, i.e. ‘Christianize’ occult practices goes back to Biblcal times. An example is in the Book of Colossians and Clinton Arnold makes a good study of this in his book The Colossian Syncretism. Bill Johnson exemplifies this idea in the following statement:

    Many prominent authors and conference speakers add fuel to the fire of fear assuming that because the new age movement promotes it, its origins must be from the devil…

    I note that the video places a book by D.A. Carson exposing the Emergent/Emerging church movement amongst others who are promoting it [at 1:57] – an obvious error that I’m certain Carson would not appreciate. Carson is a scholar whose work I generally appreciate. I may have to buy the book as I wasn’t aware of it till just now:

    Also, I note that the video says that it was Schuller who first used the term New Reformation. While Warren was no doubt influenced by his mentor Schuller, the idea was previously used by New Ager Jeremy Rifkin in his book The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity [w/ Ted Howard, 1979, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, NY] :

    If to be revolutionary is to challenge the existing authority with a new vision, then to be revolutionary today is to challenge the authority of science and technology; these are the principle assumptions upon which modern industrial society rests. The Charismatics are doing just that. Their challenge to the existing order is profound and could well end up turning the world upside down, just as the Reformation theologians did a half millenium ago… [p 224]

    The hyper-charismatic wing has run parallel with the Emerging/Emergent church for a while but is now converging.

  195. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Craig,

    Since the origins for all this stuff go back to Genesis 3, who said what first lately really doesn’t matter much, just confuses the broader issue, which is the diminishing ability of Christians to recognize (hear) heresy in the church.

    Schuller is notable because of his high public profile and his general acceptability, and also for his many White House visits during the Clinton years. Hillary was reportedly a big fan. Sad how a lot of Christian folks did, and still do, consider Schuller mainstream. The center always seems to be moving left doesn’t it! All the rest of these emerging turkeys are just birds of a feather.

    There’s been heretics preaching falsehoods in the church for two thousand years, so what’s new?

    What’s new is that there aren’t just a few heretics preaching in a few churches, but that the heresy is so widespread as to be almost “mainstream” today. I think (hope) that is the most important point of the film, but without seeing the whole thing, can’t say for sure.

    As for the groundwork for this modern flood of heresy, many of the (sand) bricks were laid at least a hundred years ago by the theosophist Rudolf Steiner. Of course one can’t “Christianize” theosophy per se, that would be impossible, but Steiner did take the darkest evil and re-package it into recognizable and familiar church lingo and terminology. Steiner reinterpreted the scriptures to fit theosophical concepts, and by doing so set the pattern that so many of these modern heretics follow, which is reading into the scriptures things that simply aren’t there and ignoring the things that are there but don’t fit their worldview.

    Here’s a little taste of Steiner …(believe me, I can’t stomach too much!)

    “The revelation of the spiritual worlds from the Heights and its answering reflection from the hearts of men brings peace to all whose purpose upon the evolving Earth is to unfold good will.”

    [ From : “Christianity and World Religions” – “According to Luke” – Rudolf Steiner (1909)]

    http://www.rudolfsteinerpress.com/pages/religion.php

    Rick Warren says much the same things in almost the same ways as Steiner. Coincidence? Surely not.

    Steiner also wrote extensively about Christ’s humanity, as well as the divine nature, which he called the “Christ force”:

    “Among the many spiritual riches in this work are Steiner’s explanations of the nature of true Christian initiation and the mission of Christ Jesus as the bringer of “I” consciousness. Steiner’s insights also lead us to understand the miracles Christ performed, significant events such as the Transfiguration, and how the Christ force lived among the disciples.”

    [From the description of “According to Matthew”- “The Gospel of Christ’s Humanity” by Rudolf Steiner]

    It would be interesting to do a comparison of Steiner’s words/concepts/teachings with those of Bill Johnson. I bet there are a lot of parallels.

  196. Craig says:

    I didn’t mean to sound overly critical of the trailer; but, I may have come across that way. I think this sort of thing is good for those who have absolutely no idea of just what’s going on in ‘the church’ today. These sorts of things are also usually good primers for those interested to do further research.

    Schuller certainly was very popular in his day and Warren is even more high profile. Yes, the ‘center’ has been steadily moving leftward by the Hegelian dialectic process. And, it’s STILL going that way.

    I don’t think you’re off the mark at all with the thought that heresy is now mainstream. (Some would argue that heresy must by definition be a teaching that was specifically anathematized by an ecumenical Council. I think that places too high a burden on these unorthodox teachings and practices.)

    I’ve not read any of Steiner’s material. I may have to some time to get his point of reference. I’d not be surprised to see parallels to hyper-charismatic (and Emergent/ing) teachings.

  197. Yessy says:

    You are deceived brother.

    1 John 4: (KJV)
    2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world

    Note that the spirit of the anti-Christ, is not anti Jesus, but anti Christ.

    1. The New Age teachers are of the spirit of the Antichrist, because the “redefine” the word Christ, which means the annointed Messiah, to mean an individual’s own consciousness. Therefore they make themselves out to be Christ, and not Jesus to be the Christ. Therefore they are opposing that Christ, the annointed Messiah is come, by redefining the definition, and replacing the annointed Messiah with themselves.

    2. The Religious crowd of today, even within church circles, also operate from the spirit of the anti-Christ, because they are blinded to the revelation that Paul brought, of Christ in us the hope of glory, and therefore dismiss signs and miracles for today. They do not believe that he IS COME through His bride.

    Bill Johnson does not operate from the spirit of the anti-Christ, Christ the anointed Messiah, is manifesting His glory through him, Christ is come through him.

    But you are opposing him, so from which spirit are you operating from?

    Selah…

  198. Craig says:

    Yessy,

    Thanks so much for your comment as you so very well illustrate a number of problems with Bill Johnson’s (and other hyper-charismatic’s) teachings. I hope you will come back and read here and not prove to be another of the many ‘drive-by’ commentators as this is very important to your own spiritual welfare.

    First of all, by your statement, “Note that the spirit of the anti-Christ, is not anti Jesus, but anti Christ” you, like Bill Johnson, violate the very thing the Apostle John warns of in separating “Jesus” from “Christ”. (See 1 John 2:22 and this article which shows explicitly how Johnson does this while also explaining in detail what it means to be antichrist according to Scripture.) By this I mean that by the Apostle’s very definition, even thinking along the lines of “anti-Jesus” as opposed to “anti-Christ” is to have fallen into antichrist ideology. Biblically, to be antichrist is to separate the Person of Jesus [Christ] from Christ. “Christ” (the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew “Messiah”) means Anointed One, thus denoting exclusivity, that is, there is and can only be one Christ/Messiah. And, that One is Jesus the Christ/Messiah, or as He is commonly referred to in the NT: “Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus”.

    One of the points John is making in his first epistle in 4:2-3 is that to understand “Christ” as separate from the person of Jesus – as in understanding Jesus came in the flesh but that “Christ” is distinct from Jesus and thus did not come ‘with’ Jesus (separating the two) who/which instead ‘anointed’ Jesus at a later time (at baptism) – is antichrist. You illustrate the separation of “Christ” from the physical body of Jesus especially in your point 2 above. If you understand that the Church ‘body’ is now Christ’s body, rather than Jesus’ own body in which He “became flesh” [John 1:14] at His 1st coming being His body exclusively, you are adhering to an antichrist doctrine. [The Apostle John’s other point is that those who could not conceive of Jesus as the Christ because of a belief in Dualism (all spirit is good while all matter is evil) – a prevailing Hellenistic belief of the time – is to be antichrist. This is known as Docetism, from the Greek word “to seem”, as in Christ only ‘seemed’ to have a physical body.]

    In addition, you do not fully comprehend how “Christ” is used in New Age circles as there’s more than one aspect. One of these is exactly what you claim is correct within Christianity in your point 2 above. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the fact that each true Holy Spirit indwelt Christian has “Christ” in a sense, yes; however – and this is very important – we are not individual ‘Christs’ and, therefore, Jesus is not “COME through His bride” as you state. Jesus “COMES” / returns for His bride at His Second Coming which will then culminate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb occurring in heaven (with all the other dead in Christ, the children of God who’ve preceded the generation of Christ’s return), not in our temporal realm and not at any point before His bodily return. You really should read part II of this series as it specifically compares a Bob Jones and a similar Earl Paulk quote regarding Christ “coming IN My people” to New Age teachings on this very thing.

    Your understanding of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” IS the same as the “Christ consciousness” teaching (your point 1 above). In this New Age teaching, each person is “anointed” (“Christed”), and with this “Christing” the doorway is opened to continue ‘going within’ to expand the “Christ within” (the “Christ consciousness”) until one achieves total ‘one-ness’ (or complete “intimacy”) with “god”. [In point of fact, this is actually demonic possession (see part IIIb, last quote in “The Word Becoming Spirit” section).] When enough individuals have achieved this level, known as ‘critical mass’, the 100th monkey, etc., then “Christ” (actually the antichrist) “reappears” (the teaching is that he never left which means it’s not a ‘second coming’ but a “reappearance”).

    You wrote, “Bill Johnson does not operate from the spirit of the anti-Christ, Christ the anointed Messiah, is manifesting His glory through him, Christ is come through him.

    But you are opposing him, so from which spirit are you operating from?”

    Since, as illustrated above, Bill Johnson’s doctrine is antichrist by definition, then opposing his teachings is to be contending for the faith [Jude 3-4] and helping others to not be led astray [1 John 2:26] by testing the spirit of these antichrist teachings [1 John 2:22, 4:1-3].

  199. Yessy says:

    The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

    See also Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus. His spirit wasn’t made alive and he wanted to understand the things of the spirit with mere intellect.

    The understanding of the Christ teaching that Paul brought does not come by human reasoning and debate, but it comes by revelation.

    Gnostic teachings of “christ” and Paul’s teaching of Christ is worlds apart.

    Albert Schweitzer did a lot of work to explain the difference between gnosticism and Pauline mysticism, if you want to read up on that.

    I challenge you to go humbly and prayerfully before the Lord and ask Him to give you revelation on the revelation, the mystery, Paul brought to the Church. Debates and arguments won’t give you that unveiling, but the Holy Spirit can.

  200. Craig says:

    Yessy,

    And yet still you are mistaken.

    One is either born from above / born again or one is not. That’s what differentiates a Christian from a non-Christian. When one is indwelt by the Spirit one does not move by power at the expense of the intellect. Your argument is the same as the New Age and Gnostic one. You may wish to read Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:15-23 and Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (the latter referenced in part II of this series).

    I have some of Schweitzer’s work who is quoted enthusiastically by Alice Bailey in her book of how Jesus is our model in the attainment of our own divinity titled From Bethlehem to Calvary which has been quoted in a number of CrossWise articles, including this particular series. You may benefit from reading this one:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/christ-in-the-new-age/

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how Paul (and other NT writers) used the word mysterion, or “mystery” in Scripture. Christ IS the mystery now revealed or will be revealed in His Second Coming [cf Rev 10:7 as but one example]. Apparently, you do not realize that you are actually adhering to the Gnostic concept of mystery.

    Paul’s teachings are in harmony with the rest of the NT; they are not some additional teaching. The understanding that Paul is somehow different than Jesus and rest of the NT is “liberal” Christian thinking. It’s wrong.

    25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [Colossians 1:25-27, NASB]

    The mystery has already been revealed as “God willed to make [it] known”. The “hope of glory” is our future home in heaven with our Lord and Savior; it’s not about some secret life we live here in earth (our treasures are in heaven, not here). The Jews thought salvation was only for the Jews, excluding the Gentiles; however, Paul refutes that notion. Paul’s main point in the book of Colossians is to refute the ‘Colossian syncretism’ – a combining of Christianity (which was new, novel at the time) with the pagan mystery religions prevalent at the time. He reappropriated the word mystery to use as an apologetic against this sort of thing. You would benefit by reading this whole book slowly in one sitting with this in mind.

    I implore you to take heed to Paul’s warning:

    2 I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not spare anyone, 3 since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. 4 For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you. 5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. 10 For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down. [2 Corinthians 13:5-10, NASB]

    Paul states the above after warning of ‘another Jesus, another spirit, another gospel’ and of ‘false apostles’ who are ‘deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ’ for ‘Satan himself masquerades is an angel of light’ [2 Corinthians 11:1-15].

  201. Craig says:

    Here’s New Ager Alice Bailey in a quote (used in part IIIa) which illustrates her adherence to the Schweitzer idea of the ‘historical Jesus':

    …the keynote of the Gospel story [is] the human-divine nature of the [person of Jesus] Christ, relating Him to the Father through His essential divinity and also to man through His essential humanity. The Christian Church gave a wrong slant to the teaching by making Christ appear as unique, though the higher criticism (deemed so shocking fifty years ago) has done much to correct this false impression. [Bailey, Alice A. Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle. © 1950 Lucis, NY, (2nd printing, 1957), George S. Ferguson, Philadelphia, PA; pp 127-128]

    The “higher criticism” is of the likes of Schweitzer who deems Jesus as a pattern to follow. Here’s a quote from Schweitzer’s The Mystery of the Kingdom of God as cited in Bailey’s From Bethlehem to Calvary [Copyright 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis, NY, 4th paperback edition, 1989; Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; pp 102-03]:

    In Jesus’ messianic consciousness the thought of suffering acquired now, as applied to himself, a mysterious significance. The Messiahship which he became aware of at his baptism was not a possession, nor a mere object of expectation; but in the eschatological conception, it was implied as a matter of course that through the trial of suffering he must become what God had destined him to be. His messianic consciousness was never without the thought of the Passion. Suffering is the way to the revelation to the Messiahship! [Emphasis added]

    What is this “mysterious significance”? And, again, Bailey who refers to Schweitzer as “[o]ne of the finest thinkers in the field of Christian interpretation” [Bethlehem; p 110] quoting him again from the same work

    ..all they who are destined for the Kingdom must win forgiveness for the guilt contracted for the earthly aeon by encountering steadfastly the world-power as it collects itself for a last attack. For through this guilt they were still subject to the power of ungodliness. This guilt constitutes a counterweight which holds back the coming of the Kingdom. [Bethlehem; pp 110-11]

    Perhaps she misappropriates some of his words; but, it seems Schweitzer is not speaking of the Gospel message as overcoming the world but, rather, some kind of self effort. Here’s another quote, this time from Schweitzer’s The Decay and Restoration of Civilisation [as quote in Bethlehem; pp 278-279] which is quite clear about our self-effort towards perfection of the human race:

    Civilization, put quite simply, consists in our giving ourselves, as human beings, to the effort to attain the perfecting of the human race and the actualization of progress of every sort in the circumstances of humanity and of the objective world…

    Do you feel that statement is congruent with Christianity?

  202. just1ofhis says:

    Yessy, you stated: “Note that the spirit of the anti-Christ, is not anti Jesus, but anti Christ.”

    How do you figure that the “anti-christ” is not against Jesus who is the Christ?

    Jesus Christ in the flesh is the same Jesus Christ who is the Word of God made flesh; it is THIS Jesus the “anti-christ” opposes. I tell you the truth, the antichrist has no problem with gold dust and feathers and glory clouds; but the antichrist is and always has been a twister of scripture and always denies Jesus Christ in the flesh. A “born-again jesus” is a by-product of scripture twisting; it denies the Christ in the very flesh of Jesus. As Craig pointed out, by separating Jesus from Christ in your thought process, you are doing the same thing.

    What does the Bible say about the final coming of this “antichrist”:

    “He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints AND TO CONQUER THEM. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (Rev 13:6-8)

    How do you figure that is not against Jesus? It also speaks against any idea of a great end-time “revival” which puts the body of Jesus in “equal proportion to His head” (BJ).

    “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work (my note: the “anti-christ” spirit); but the one who holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (note: final coming of the antichrist) will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming (my note: It is Jesus Christ and His return which overthrows the evil one…not you or I). The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, sings, and wonders, (note: gold dust, “angel” feathers, trips to heaven, “glory” clouds), and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. (note: “drunk in the spirit”, “token the holy ghost”, “grave sucking”, “slain” in the spirit, etc.) They perish because they refused to love the truth (note: the Word of God who is Jesus Christ in the flesh) and so be saved. FOR THIS REASON GOD SENDS THEM A POWERFUL DELUSION SO THAT THEY WILL BELIEVE THE LIE AND SO THAT ALL WILL BE CONDEMNED WHO HAVE NOT BELIEVED THE TRUTH BUT HAVE DELIGHTED IN WICKEDNESS.” (2 Thes 2:7-12)

    That you are here and reading these things gives me hope that God, in His mercy, will give you eyes to see and ears to hear.

  203. just1ofhis says:

    Yessy, you stated “2. The Religious crowd of today, even within church circles, also operate from the spirit of the anti-Christ, because they are blinded to the revelation that Paul brought, of Christ in us the hope of glory, and therefore dismiss signs and miracles for today. They do not believe that he IS COME through His bride.”

    You assume that, because I dismiss Bill Johnson and his false gospel, that I also dismiss signs and miracles from the Most High. So, if Craig will put up with me for a few more minutes, I’m going to boast in the strength of Jesus Christ through my many weaknesses; if you want to talk miracles through the power of Jesus Christ, my friend, than you’ll need to move beyond being amazed at cheap parlor tricks.

    When I was first “born again” and just beginning to study God’s Word and understand how amazing God really is, I was nearly mugged in a dark parking lot. The man who wanted to mug me got right up to my shoulder; and then I witnessed something that I will never forget: He was literally beaten back away from me, flew backward about 15 feet, his hat came off, he nearly fell, and he looked terrified. This man gathered himself and took off running down the parking lot to a car that was waiting for him. I wish I had the words to describe this in a way that does it justice. When I was in the word-of-faith church, people asked me what I said for God to bring about this miracle. NOTHING! It happened too quickly, and I was thinking about little but getting into my car. My Sovereign Lord brought the miracle on His own.

    Since that time I have witnessed hands on healing and miracles big and small; all of them in God’s time and bringing glory to none but Him. A few examples, if you will indulge me: I witnessed a hideous infection that had inflamed a child’s hand and was crawling up her arm disappear before my eyes, all because of prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. I personally was suffering through a back injury, when someone who loves me laid hands on my back and prayed for me. I haven’t had a moment of pain since. The thing is, this person didn’t even tell me what he was doing. His prayer was silent and between himself and God. I ONLY know because the Holy Spirit opened my heart to the fact that this man was praying for my back in faith and that I have been COMPLETELY pain free since…all to the glory of God through the name of Jesus Christ. If you knew the agony I had been suffering, this might impress you even more. A marriage of people dear to my heart was brutally falling apart, when a small group got together and implored God to intervene. Said marriage is happier today than it has ever been, and they don’t even know about the intervention that was sought. Praise God for all that He does for us!

    Signs, visions, dreams?….I could go on here for some time, should I amaze you with these? Should I charge for them? Write a book, maybe?; tongues? I actively pray in them, quietly “behind closed dooors” as I have never met anyone gifted in interpretation (and I am not, aside from whatever God chooses to reveal); but I have been greatly helped by them in times when I knew not what to pray and desperately needed His help. Cessationalist, I am NOT! But NONE of these things holds a candle to the one I will tell you about next.

    The greatest miracle of all, is the absolute joy and peace I have when I am in God’s Word learning about Him through His Holy Spirit. What this has brought to my heart is: absolute conviction as to the truth of the Word of God and the reality of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, a humble and broken and repentant heart, and a burning desire to serve the Most High God and please His Son. And, in this humility, I will tell you that this miracle was one given for ALL time to ALL the saints of God, to all He will call and consecrate through His Word. 2000 years and counting of saved souls is testimony to this.

    Many are the stories I have heard of true miracles of God coming from people who attend churches you would call “dead”. Keep your gold dust. It is worthless.

  204. Craig says:

    ‘Coincidentally’ at lunch today I re-read an article by Walt Russell titled “The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the Fourth Gospel” [Grace Theological Journal 8.2 (1987); pp 227-39] which explains how John’s Gospel was written to Gentiles who were influenced by Hellenization:

    Some of his [John, the Gospel writer’s] first readers appear to have been Hellenized Gentiles who were uninformed of the rich OT foundation underlying the life and ministry of Jesus and the Church. John’s Gospel is perfectly intelligible to them without this [OT] background… [p 238]

    Russell goes on to state that Jews and Hellenized Gentiles familiar with the OT would see the OT references. Then, continuing

    The person and work of the Holy Spirit can be seen in the same two-fold manner in John. The Holy Spirit can be distinguished from the impersonal forces and unholy spirits with which Gentiles would be familiar from the standard Greco-Roman mystery religions [p 239]

    The mystery is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. “Such an anointing both inaugurates a new Messianic age and empowers those who believe in Jesus to make a ‘prophetic’ proclamation to the nations that he who has been lifted up wants to draw all men to himself (John 12:32)” [p 239]. It’s all about preaching the simple Gospel message. As Paul states, preaching “Christ and Him crucified.”

  205. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yessy,

    Craig’s blog here isn’t against the biblical spiritual gifts in operation today. An individual’s position on this is not the issue that we are discussing on this blog. Some who comment on this blog would be cessationalists, others very strongly are not. In other words, the issue isn’t that Bill Johnson believes that the spiritual gifts are for today.

    What we ARE discussing here is Bill Johnson’s theology and practice, as well as other hyper-charismatic leaders, such as Bob Jones.

    Bill Johnson promotes another gospel — one that is almost entirely about miracles, signs, and wonders. I personally am not a cessationalist, but I do have a problem with the overemphasis on spiritual gifts that the hyper-charismatic community has. The teachings that are at the core of what people like Bill Johnson teach is such that it has replaced the real gospel in their churches. (There is hardly any talk about salvation, repentance, sin, etc.)

    Not only is Johnson teaching another gospel, but he is teaching another Jesus. For him, Christianity seems to be entirely about people doing signs, wonders, miracles, and having spiritual experiences. The sermons in hyper-charismatic circles are about things like “angel encounters,” “supernatural experiences.” People go on and on about the things they claim to have seen and done in the supernatural realm. Thus, there is very little real biblical exegesis in these sermons, and no expounding on Scripture in its context. Rather, it’s a lot of eisogesis.

    Another theme that these pastors tend to preach on is how great a person is, and how much that each individual is loved by God. This has become a constant theme that is embedded in hyper-charsismatic circles. It’s the same message that the New Age spirit guides are giving people. They are loved by “god,” and are, in fact, little gods. Each person is great just the way they are.

    Yes, we are loved by God, but there also needs to be some conviction. The truth needs to be proclaimed.

  206. Yessy says:

    1 John 4: (KJV)
    2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ IS COME in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world”

    From an early stage, Christians believed that Jesus was the Christ, a belief that gave them their name. The word ”Christ” soon came to apply to Christ rather like a name, although it was really a title.
    ”’Messiah”’ meaning “annointed one”, a figure described in some Jewish scriptures, associated with the coming kingdom of God. Different groups had different expectations of the Messiah – some believed he would be a warrior-king, others a sort of priest. The first Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah. ”’Christ”’ is the Greek equivant of ”’messiah”’

  207. Yessy says:

    How do you define “IS COME”?

  208. Craig says:

    Yessy, you wrote:

    From an early stage, Christians believed that Jesus was the Christ, a belief that gave them their name. The word ”Christ” soon came to apply to Christ rather like a name, although it was really a title.
    ”’Messiah”’ meaning “annointed one”, a figure described in some Jewish scriptures, associated with the coming kingdom of God. Different groups had different expectations of the Messiah – some believed he would be a warrior-king, others a sort of priest. The first Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah. ”’Christ”’ is the Greek equivant of ”’messiah”’

    That’s all correct. And your point is…?

    I’ve already written most of this previously. In a nutshell: Jesus is the Anointed ONE. Jesus is THE Christ. You apparently believe all Christians are Christs. That’s a New Age belief. And, it’s the same thing Johnson alludes to, as I’ve pointed out more than once in articles on this blog.

    You wrote, “How do you define “IS COME”?

    Perhaps you should consult other translations. More to the point, you should look at 1 John 4:2 in the original Greek.

    2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, [NKJV]

    2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, [ESV]

    2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, [TNIV]

    The Greek form of the verb used here for “to come” is εληλυθότα (transliterated elhlythota) which is a perfect active participle. This indicates a focus on the continuing impact of a past event (has come in the flesh). In other words, the fact that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-3] is a historical past event which has continuing importance/relevance. Therefore, the verb here is best translated “has come” rather than “is come”.

  209. Craig says:

    Are you willing to concede that Albert Schweitzer’s material is not a proper example of orthodox Christian orthodoxy?

  210. Yessy says:

    Perhaps I should have asked differently:

    How would a english speaking person (Religious or not, irrelevant to this question), understand the words “Is come”.

    What does that mean in plain english?

  211. Craig says:

    In plain English is come, as in the KJV, is not a correct translation of the verb form “to come” used in 1 John 4:2. A more correct translation is has come as the other translations, including the NKJV, render it. Even has come does not convey the importance as from the Greek. It’s basically not fully translatable as the English has no exact equivalent of the Greek perfect tense. The best way to describe it is to use the words has come and then provide a bit of commentary to illustrate that it’s not the historical event which is being stressed, it’s the continuing importance of that event. It’s not that Jesus was born of a virgin that is stressed here (important as that is!); it’s the idea that Jesus Christ had/has to be, and yet is, both God and man. The Word (God) was made flesh (human) culminating in the unique theanthropos (theos = God; anthropos = man), the God-man.

    I hope that helps. I’m not sure if I’ve explained it well enough.

  212. Yessy says:

    If there is one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt it is that Bill Johnson is an anointed man of God, in whom the Spirit of the Living God dwells and reveals the very heart and nature of God.

    I suspect that because you persecute him that you are from the spirit of the antichrist.

    The test is
    1. Do you believe Jesus is the Christ? You say you do
    2. Do you believe He is come
    3. In the flesh ( see link to define flesh http://biblelight.net/antichrist_and_jesus.htm)

    I hope that if you are from the spirit of the antichrist that my post may help to open your eyes to this truth, so you can repent.

  213. Craig says:

    Yessy,

    Are you actually reading the material here? It seems you are not. All you wish to do is defend Bill Johnson – sadly, at the expense of Jesus Christ our Savior.

    Johnson denies Jesus Christ came in the flesh as his jesus becomes Christ via “the anointing” aka the “Christ anointing” which occurs just after Jesus comes out of the water at his baptism. Further, according to Johnson, Jesus cannot even see or hear the Father without this “anointing” which I note in footnote 27:

    This creates a logical fallacy within the Johnson theology: if Jesus could only see/hear the Father by virtue of the “Christ anointing” He received at John’s baptism, how could He know to ‘be about His Father’s business’ [Luke 2:49] as a 12 year old?

    How do you know Bill Johnson is “an anointed man of God” without testing the spirits? Johnson has shown over and over that his jesus has “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” Is God not supernatural by nature? His jesus “so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…” Johnson’s Jesus “did not raise Himself from the dead”. Johnson’s Jesus is “powerless” without “the anointing”. Johnson has separated Jesus from Christ. Johnson’s teaching is then by definition antichrist.

    I presume you’ve not read:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

    In addition, you’ve a faulty idea on what “persecuting” is. If you wish to see persecution, look at how Christians are treated in the Middle East Muslim-controlled nations. Given your faulty definition, it seems you’re “persecuting” me.

    I implore you to actually read the material before you make any further comments.

  214. just1ofhis says:

    Yessy, you said:

    “1. Do you believe Jesus is the Christ? You say you do
    2. Do you believe He is come
    3. In the flesh”

    As this question is so important in the “testing of all things” required of the Christian (and it is a rather simple test), I just want to clarify:

    “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the anitchrist–he denies the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)

    “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that JESUS CHRIST HAS COME IN THE FLESH is from God.” (1 John 4:2, my emphasis)

    A demon can say “He is come in the flesh”….or “god has come in the flesh” (what “god” are they referring to)…or any other variant of this statement. Satan is the ultimate twister of scripture. The anti-christ will also twist the scripture to redefine the words “flesh” or “christ”. This test is a simple test that has a simple understanding at the heart of it:

    Do you believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?

    This means that Jesus came into this world as the Messiah in his very flesh. You want to argue over words, but the scripture is very clear. He, who was incarnate of the Holy Spirit, was fully man AND fully God.

    “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” (Col 2:9)

    Paul goes on to state what we’ve been given:

    “and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Col 2:10)

    Yessy, you said:
    “If there is one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt it is that Bill Johnson is an anointed man of God”

    If this were true, than Bill Johnson would pass this simple test in his confession of Jesus: that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. He doesn’t. He hops around it, skips around it, leaps over it, twists it, and says just about everything else; but he never gets to it simply and directly. How can such an “anointed” man have so much difficulty with such a simple statement?

  215. pnissila says:

    Yessy, you seem to have trouble with an intellectual approach to discernment (as do friends of mine involved in Bethel) yet one of your main arguments, i.e., the “is” interpretation, deals with an intellectual examination of a linguistic symbol, aka, a word…

    And from what I have read about his spin on the Gospel as critiqued above and elsewhere, and from what I know of Bill Johnson’s ministry by my friends’ involvement, he uses the tools of the intellect quite well to convince thousands via his carefully crafted arguments presented via–the elements of argument/persuasion, regardless of the truth or error of them (I teach college English and deal with this every day).

    Please note that the same God Who gifted us with a body and a spirit also gifted us with an intellect. He intends for us to use it; indeed, we must use it to “study and show ourselves approved,” so that we are not fooled by false christs and so that we understand, in full context, in the original languages, if you will, what is presented in the Word of God.

    Please review what you are hearing and reading very, very carefully. In addition to honest inquiry of the Lord, I highly recommend a good interlinear Bible. You wouldn’t throw random words at a small child to teach him/her how to communicate in his/her native language. You would express yourself according to the rubric of the language and teach him/her the same way. I believe God has also presented Himself in an orderly fashion, not just in the physical and spiritual realm, but in the intellectual realm as well.

    Stay in the unvarnished Word. Settle for nothing less. We live in dangerous and seductive times, my friend.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  216. just1ofhis says:

    Yessy, you said: “From an early stage, Christians believed that Jesus was the Christ, a belief that gave them their name. The word ”Christ” soon came to apply to Christ rather like a name, although it was really a title.”

    Well, let’s see. “Christ” used as a name for Jesus from an early date….like maybe as far back as the original apostles? Just a few examples:

    “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.” (Col 2:6)

    “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Col 3:1)

    “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. (James 2:1)

    “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

    “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.” (1 Peter 4:1)

    “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

    “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1)

    “Many deceivers, who do not acknowedge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.” (2 John 7)

    “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality (my note: drunk in the spirit, anyone?) and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 4)

    “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw–that is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev 1:1-2)

    You could only hold to Bill Johnson’s teachings if you believe that the original apostles were somehow in error or insufficient in some way. But God has an answer for that in the book of Revelation when He gives us a glimpse of the Holy City, Jerusalem:

    “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Rev 21:14)

    If God says one thing and someone else says another, the someone else is always wrong no matter how appealing that “someone else” might be.

  217. just1ofhis says:

    Arwen: “Craig’s blog here isn’t against the biblical spiritual gifts in operation today. An individual’s position on this is not the issue that we are discussing on this blog. Some who comment on this blog would be cessationalists, others very strongly are not.”

    I just wanted to add to that, as I’ve heard so many from the charismatic camp focus on little else, that the Holy Word of God doesn’t tell us that we know them by their gifts, but by their “fruits”. As the letters of the apostles make clear, the goal for the Christian is living a godly life full of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. If God’s primary focus had been gifts, the primary focus of the letters of the apostles would have also been gifts. It clearly isn’t.

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21)

    That ought to give EVERY Christian pause. These folks call Jesus Lord, but His Word has no place in their hearts.

    “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 perform many miracles?’ ” (Matt 7:22)

    So, not only do these Christians believe that “Jesus is Lord”, but they are doing miracles in His Name. This ought to give EVERY charismatic pause.

    “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” (Mat 7:23)

    There numbers are many, they profess Jesus, and they do many miracles in His Name. AND HE NEVER KNEW THEM.

    Clearly, living a life filled with signs and wonders isn’t what Jesus considers “doing the will of my Father who is in heaven”. I just tremble at that, especially when I consider the focus of so many of these churches. God have mercy.

  218. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yessy,

    We do need to define terms here so that we are not talking passed one another. How we define both Christ and Anti-Christ is very relevant to our discussion here. Also, how we define Christ coming is essential to our discussion. As it is right now, we are talking about two completely different concepts.

    First, you need to understand the gnostic like understandings of the term. There are those who lived in the first, second, and third centuries who believed that all of matter was evil. Since the physical human body was made up of matter, these people believed that the human body, flesh, was evil. (Now, you have to look at the context of how flesh is used in the Bible, because sometimes it means the sinful nature and sometimes it means the physical body, etc.) Since John was writing an apologetic against gnostic type beliefs, flesh in 1 John 4 means the physical body. Also, the context implies it. Obviously, John is not talking about the sinful nature.

    Anyway, some of these individuals believed that since the material body was “evil,” (it was made up of matter, after all), then Jesus couldn’t have really had a body of flesh. They taught that Jesus just appeared to have a physical body. At the very least, they taught that Jesus didn’t physically die or physically rise from the dead.

    These people also believed that everything spiritual was good — so all spirit was good and all matter was bad.

    There was more to the gnostic beliefs than that, but this is the reason that John wrote what he did in his letters. He was saying that the gnostic type beliefs were given by the spirit of the antichrist. Okay, so that is what the context of 1 John is. Does this make sense?

    Now, let’s apply this concept to modern times. Although modern gnosticism and gnostic like ideas are not identical to what was being taught at the time of early Christianity, the same spirit inspires doctrine that is opposed to the gospel. There are some teachings that have been carried down since the early gnostic like ideas, and they have somewhat morphed through time. These doctrines can still be traced back to ancient gnosticism.

    One such concept is the idea that the Christ is a spirit rather than a specific person. This idea is sometimes known as the Cosmic Christ or the Christ Spirit or something like this. Yes, Christ and Messiah mean the same thing. Anyway, these people teach that Christ was a spirit that took over Jesus. Since Jesus had this “spirit,” Jesus became known as Christ. Oh, some use the term Christ Consciousness for this. In other words, they teach that it was something Jesus possessed.

    To myself and others who have been commenting on this blog, it appears that Bill Johnson has this understanding of Jesus when he teaches that Jesus became Christ at His baptism, and that He wasn’t Christ until this. Johnson seems to teach that all of us can become Christs as well, because we can all be “anointed” by the Holy Spirit, just like Jesus was. This is the connection that Craig has been talking about in his blog, and this is why we are all saying that Johnson is teaching a gnostic understanding of Christ.

    It appears to us that Johnson is separating the person of Jesus from the title Christ (Messiah).

    I have more to say….but I need to eat lunch now.

  219. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yessy,

    I don’t know if you have ever heard of a theology called New Thought before. It is one of the descendants of ancient gnosticism. New Thought has retained the idea that matter is evil and spirit is good. Some New Thought groups have even gone so far as to say that nothing that is matter is real. Most of these groups have a strange view of sickeness. They claim that there is no such thing as illness.

    It has been shown that much of Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel teaching can be linked back to New Thought. These things include things like words having power — speaking things into existence, reciting affirmations, and praying prayers in order to “make things happen in the spiritual realm.”

    Some of the things that Bill Johnson teaches are not that different from what is taught in the Unity Church (a New Thought church).

    Demons often twist Scripture in order to keep people deceived. Since 1 John is a piece that does put spirits to the test, sometimes these demons twist Scripture by changing the definition of both Christ and Anti-Christ..

    An example of this can be found in the teachings of Abraham-Hicks who channels a spirit (demon) who defined Christ as those who knew the “truth” and practice things like “The Law of Attraction.” He defined the spirit of the Anti-Christ as Christians who proclaimed Jesus. Why? because Christians who proclaimed Jesus were against the teachings of the demon who was providing all the information to Abraham-Hicks.

    It seems that Bill Johnson has done the same thing. He teaches that people who reject his teaching are the anti-Christ because we are “anti-anointing.” He’s defined Christ as an anointing experience.

  220. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yessy,

    Now, let us deal with the Second Coming. Christian orthodoxy says that Jesus will physically return someday. The Latter Rain teachers of long ago taught something else. Some taught that there would not actually be a physical return of Jesus, but rather a spiritual return of Jesus — that Jesus would return corporately in believers. This Latter Rain teaching has continued in the doctrines of many of the big name teachers in the hyper-charismatic movement.

    So, to teach that Christ comes in people in a corporate way is very close to saying Christ is an anointing that people can possess, or that Christ is a spirit that people can possess.

    We can show the love of Jesus or do things that point people to Him, but we are not “possessed by a spirit called Christ.” We are not the second coming of Christ.

    I would also like to address your comment about the gospel coming with power, since this is a related concept.

    The gospel doesn’t come with power because of signs and wonders or whatever, but rather because the real gospel itself has power. Now, it’s not because the words themselves have power, but rather because it is a testimony of what God has done. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, took on flesh (became human), lived a perfect life, and then laid down His own life for us. All of our sin was imputed to Him. He paid the price that we deserved to play, and He died in our place. The love of that very act is powerful because it is the greatest demonstration of love hat this world has ever known. On account of what Jesus did, we can now be counted righteous, if we accept the free gift that has been given to us. Although our sin makes us filthy, God has acted on our behalf to make us white as snow, as though we have never sinned. Not only did Jesus die for us, but He physically rose from the dead!! And because of His bodily resurrection, we know that our hope is secured in Christ.

    Don’t you see how powerful the gospel is? What other true story has that kind of impact on a person?

  221. just1ofhis says:

    Btw, the angel of the Lord apparently had the same problem using “Christ” as a name for Jesus that you claim the early Christians did:

    But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
    (Luke 2:10)

    On the day of His birth, He was referred to as “Christ” by the angel of the Lord. This little passage alone is enough to disprove Bill Johnson and his “born-again jesus”. Today has been born a Savior to you….HE IS CHRIST THE LORD…..And there you have, from the mouth of the angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ come in the flesh. Are you going to listen to God or to Bill Johnson?

    Yessy, many of us have been in the place you are now…the path out is repentance in the name of Jesus Christ and simple devotion to the Word of God.

  222. just1ofhis says:

    Just to clarify:

    But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is CHRIST the Lord.”
    (Luke 2:10)

    The word for “Christ” in Greek is Christos (khristos), meaning the Messiah, the Anointed. In other words, the angel of the Lord is referring to Jesus as the Anointed or the Messiah in the flesh as a new born baby. He doesn’t say Jesus “will be”. He says He is.

  223. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yessy,

    Here is the wiki article on Albert Schweitzer:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Schweitzer

    From the beginning paragraph of the article:
    “Schweitzer, a Lutheran, challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by historical-critical methodology current at his time in certain academic circles, as well as the traditional Christian view. He depicted Jesus as one who believed the end of the world was coming in his own lifetime and believed himself to be a world savior.”

    From the theology section in the wiki article:
    “In The Quest, Schweitzer reviewed all former work on the “historical Jesus” back to the late 18th century. He showed that the image of Jesus had changed with the times and outlooks of the various authors, and gave his own synopsis and interpretation of the previous century’s findings. He maintained that the life of Jesus must be interpreted in the light of Jesus’ own convictions, which reflected late Jewish eschatology. Schweitzer, however, writes: “The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the kingdom of God, who founded the kingdom of heaven upon earth and died to give his work its final consecration never existed”

    My response:
    Do you think it wise to hold this person up as a bright light of Christian thinking? Or as a model to look up to? This man says that Jesus never publicly claimed to be the Messiah, etc. Basically, he is saying that there is a difference between the historical Jesus and the Jesus of faith. He says the Jesus of faith — the one described in the Bible NEVER EXISTED. Instead, he says that the historical Jesus is just a guy who believed in Jewish eschatology, and was convinced that the end of the world would happen in His lifetime.

    Do you really think that he is preaching Jesus Christ?

    If Schweitzer were alive today, he’d probably be part of the Jesus Seminar. Many on the Jesus Seminar would agree with Schweitzer’s views. In fact, this is one of the defining threads within theologically liberal biblical scholarship.

    This kind of view of Christianity has led some theologically liberal scholars to embrace New Thought theology. John Shelby Spong has become a favorite speaker in the Unity Church. So has Bart Ehrman — a man who denies everything in the New Testament as being real. Spong made the comment that he hoped that New Thought theology would become the future of Christianity.

    So, again, what kind of spirit is behind all this?

  224. Yessy says:

    Here is the link I pasted about Jesus coming in the flesh: http://biblelight.net/antichrist_and_jesus.htm

  225. Craig says:

    Yessy,

    I don’t understand your point on the link you provided. From what I see, it backs up what I’ve been saying 1) about Bill Johnson’s Christology being antichrist; and, 2) that my Christology is not. Can you show what is specifically you are trying to communicate regarding this link?

  226. IWTT says:

    The link provided by Yessy I believe is run by a 7th Day Adventist, who links at the bottom of the home pahe other 7th Day Adventist sites, so their teachings and documents will be found to be established with-in their doctrines and theology. So Yessy are you 7th Day Adventist?

  227. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yessy,

    Actually, the link you provided does a poor job of explaining the concepts it set out to do. I admit that I do not know Greek, but I do know that when translators translate one word into another language, several things can happen. No two languages have the exact same words for everything.

    This means that sometimes one word in the original language (in this case Greek) might have several words in another language (in this case English). It also means that sometimes several different words in the original language might use the same word in English. People need to use context to determine what is meant.

    In English, the term flesh is one example of this. It can sometimes be referring to the sinful nature, and other times it is referring to the actual physical body. It doesn’t have the same meaning 100% of the time when we see it in the Bible. Therefore, we can’t say that all instances of a given word in English ALWAYS carry a certain meaning.

    The article you linked could actually be used to twist the meaning of the 1 John passages to make it say the opposite of what John was trying to convey. The author of the article is almost saying that flesh = evil (because of the sinful nature), and spirit = good.

    Is that your point with linking the article here?

    Let’s look at a study Bible’s introduction of 1 John.

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/1-john/

    This intro is similar to the intros that I find in all intros that I’ve seen.

    Let me highlight a few of the points made in this intro:

    “Date

    The letter is difficult to date with precision, but factors such as (1) evidence from early Christian writers (Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria), (2) the early form of Gnosticism reflected in the denunciations of the letter and (3) indications of the advanced age of John suggest the end of the first century. Since the author of 1 John seems to build on concepts and themes found in the fourth Gospel (1Jn 2:7-11), it is reasonable to date the letter somewhere between a.d. 85 and 95, after the writing of the Gospel, which may have been written c. 85 (see Introduction to John: Date).

    Gnosticism

    One of the most dangerous heresies of the first two centuries of the church was Gnosticism. Its central teaching was that spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil. From this unbiblical dualism flowed five important errors:

    The human body, which is matter, is therefore evil. It is to be contrasted with God, who is wholly spirit and therefore good.
    Salvation is the escape from the body, achieved not by faith in Christ but by special knowledge (the Greek word for “knowledge” is gnosis, hence Gnosticism).
    Christ’s true humanity was denied in two ways: (1) Some said that Christ only seemed to have a body, a view called Docetism, from the Greek dokeo (“to seem”), and (2) others said that the divine Christ joined the man Jesus at baptism and left him before he died, a view called Cerinthianism, after its most prominent spokesman, Cerinthus. This view is the background of much of 1 John (1:1; 2:22; 4:2-3 and notes.
    Since the body was considered evil, it was to be treated harshly. This ascetic form of Gnosticism is the background of part of the letter to the Colossians (Col 2:21,23 and notes.
    Paradoxically, this dualism also led to licentiousness. The reasoning was that, since matter — and not the breaking of God’s law (1Jn 3:4) — was considered evil, breaking his law was of no moral consequence.

    The Gnosticism addressed in the NT was an early form of the heresy, not the intricately developed system of the second and third centuries. In addition to that seen in Colossians and in John’s letters, acquaintance with early Gnosticism is reflected in 1,2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter and perhaps 1 Corinthians.

    Occasion and Purpose

    John’s readers were confronted with an early form of Gnostic teaching of the Cerinthian variety (see Gnosticism above). This heresy was also libertine, throwing off all moral restraints.

    Consequently, John wrote this letter with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teachers (2:26 and note) and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation (5:13 and note). In keeping with his intention to combat Gnostic teachers, John specifically struck at their total lack of morality (3:8-10); and by giving eyewitness testimony to the incarnation, he sought to confirm his readers’ belief in the incarnate Christ (1:3). Success in this would give the writer joy (1:4).”

    Whenever you read the Bible, you need to keep in mind the surrounding verses, as well as the chapter and the book. You also have to keep in mind the historical and cultural stuff that were going on at the time of the writing.

    Is it applicable for us today? Of course. In order to understand what John was saying, though, we need to know a little bit about the spiritual climate that John was writing against. We also need to be aware that these gnostic teachings have also been handed down, and that they still do pop up. Since the Holy Spirit inspired John to write what he did, we need to understand that gnosticism is another gospel.

  228. Arwen4CJ says:

    In the intro I found on 1 John, it says this:
    “and (2) others said that the divine Christ joined the man Jesus at baptism and left him before he died, a view called Cerinthianism, after its most prominent spokesman, Cerinthus.”

    My response —
    The divine Christ joining the man Jesus at baptism seems to be the exact argument that Bill Johnson and others make when they claim that that was when Jesus became Christ!!!

    It seems that some aspects of the Cerinthianism form of gnosticism have survived intact from their early gnostic days. It seems this same teaching is what most New Agers and New Thought adherents believe as well. Nothing shows the origin of this demonic teaching clearer.

  229. Craig says:

    I’ve been extremely busy today and am just now trying to get caught up on the excellent comments here.

    I only skimmed the site Yessy referenced early; however, just now I spotted something that I wholeheartedly disagree with:

    Christ could only inherit the fallen nature of the children of Adam and Eve from his mother, because she was a sinner, yet scripture tells us that Christ was NOT a sinner, and never sinned

    No, this is NOT correct; Jesus did NOT inherit a fallen human nature. Leo’s Tome, instrumental to the proceedings of the Chalcedonian Creed states, “…What was assumed from the Lord’s mother was nature, not fault; nor does the wondrousness of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, as born of a Virgin’s womb, imply that his nature is unlike ours.”

    From here:

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xi.vii.html

    More comments from me forthcoming in a bit…

  230. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    You are correct re: Cerinthus. See footnote 6 of The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit. This is also brought forth in a quote from the Apocryphal / 2nd Century Gnostic Gospel of Philip as quoted in part IIIa in the quoted material at footnote reference 108:

    The chrism is superior to baptism. For from the chrism we were called ‘Christians’, not from baptism. Christ also was (so) called because of the anointing. For the Father anointed the Son. But the Son anointed the apostles. And the apostles anointed us. He who is anointed possesses all things. He has the resurrection, the light, the cross.

    I compare this to Johnson quotes in part IIIa.

  231. Craig says:

    Phyllis,

    So, you are college English teacher, eh? Perhaps I can query you if I run into some questions re: grammar?

  232. pnissila says:

    Nah. Just ignore my day job. I always hesitate to mention it unless it supports some point I make. And then when I make errors myself, it’s twice as humbling ;).

    I am learning quite a bit more about Johnson and his teachings here. I think this is extremely valuable and I am saving all of it. A few more churches in my area of the Pacific Northwest have bought into his teachings and I guess other places as well. Keep up the good work, everybody!
    Cheers,
    Phyllis

  233. Craig says:

    I’m glad you’re learning more about Bill Johnson here. The theology is very well developed and shaped to look like orthodox Christianity – either that, or to be or seem so ambiguous that those who understand and adhere to orthodoxy give the benefit of the doubt.

    As regards grammar, I found this booklet by Dr Braun quite helpful:

  234. just1ofhis says:

    Why grammar matters (one for Phyllis):

    A panda bear walks into a bar and orders a sandwich. The waiter brings him the sandwich. The panda bear eats it, pulls out a revolver, shoots the waiter, gets up and starts to walk out.

    The bar owner yells for him to stop. The panda bear asks, “What do you want?” The bar owner replies, “First you come in here, order food, shoot my waiter, and then try to go without paying for your food.”

    The panda bear turns around and says, “Hey! I’m a Panda. Look it up!” The bar owner goes into the back room and looks up “panda bear” in the encyclopedia. It reads:

    “Panda: a bear-like marsupial originating in Asian regions. Known largely for its stark black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”

    Silly and totally off topic, but consider this:

    Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35 NIV)

    And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:34-35 KJV)

    And the same verses from The Jerusalem Bible (a Catholic Bible):

    Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected–and a sword will pierce your own soul too–so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.”

    It is a subtle difference that has contributed to the very catholic idea that the piercing of Mary’s soul was what laid bare the secret thoughts of many, elevating Mary to equal stature with Jesus. So Mary became the “Queen of Heaven”, the “co-Redemptrix” of Jesus, the “co-Mediatrix”, the “Mother of God”, etc.

    The following is but a small portion of one of dozens of prayers to Mary in the Catholic church:

    “I greet thee, Mary,
    Virgin of virgins.

    I greet thee, Mary,
    Queen of martyrs,
    whose soul was pierced by the sword of sorrows.

    I greet thee, Mary,
    Lady and Mistress,
    to whom all power has been given
    in Heaven and on earth.”

    http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?s=31

    It’s a little exercise in the importance of testing everything against the full counsel of scripture and how minor changes and subtle slight-of-hands can ultimately have devestating effects.

  235. just1ofhis says:

    “I would like to focus initially on the last two passages, that give a special identifiable characteristic of Antichrist. Clearly, the spirit of Antichrist denies the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This seems initially to be fairly straightforward, but actually involves a subtlety that requires study and understanding to perceive the deception spoken of in 2 John 1:7. So, just what does “flesh” mean in those verses?”

    The quote above comes from the link Yessy posted. How very complicated! Jesus Christ in the flesh is NOT complicated. It is straightforward. Yet, for 2000 well-meaning people have attempted to make it so very complicated; and I would put Bill Johnson and his “born again/speared with the Holy Spirit jesus” at the top of that list. If it’s complicated, then maybe I will need to purchase his books or study materials to understand it. How convenient for BJ!

    It does not take subtlety (nor sophistication, nor fluency in Greek, nor a PhD) to understand Jesus Christ in the flesh. ALL that is needed is faith in the Word of God.

    “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” (1 John 2:26-27)

    Jesus Christ: the Word of God made flesh, fully God, fully Man, Son of God, Son of Man, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit of God, Christ from before the creation, in him all the fullness of the Diety dwells in bodily form, the Lamb of God, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Savior, Lord of lords and King of kings, the Alpha and the Omega, a little baby lying in a manger–the Christ humbled to meekest state of human body, a 12 year old amazing the priests in ‘his Father’s house’, a spotless sacrifice hanging on a cross shedding his precious blood for your and my sins…

    My 6 year old understands this. And how I hope to come as simply as he….

  236. just1ofhis says:

    Yessy,
    If you are reading these, I would like to ask you something. You follow a man in Bill Johnson who believes that healing is always God’s will. While I believe in healing, I also believe that sometimes God has a better purpose or plan for our lives.

    I have an uncle who has severe down syndrome. When I was a baby, he held me. I don’t know a world without looking up into that face of his, always smiling at me. He is in his 50’s now; and I have had the priviledge to love and learn from him my entire life–this crippled man who defines unconditional love. He looks different; he sounds different; he can only say so many words; he has walked with a shuffle since I can remember; he is missing teeth; and sometimes he makes funny noises. Yet, he has a hug for everyone and laughs right along with those who laugh at him. Every Sunday he walks up with all the little kids and leaves money in the donation jar for the poor. Try to stop him!

    Where, in Bill Johnson’s church or in any church like it, would a person like my uncle fit? Would he, or anyone like him, be welcomed up on stage to leave his dollars in the donation jar?

    What about the poor? I’m talking about the poor who, for various reasons, stay poor–and you know when you look at them that they are poor? They drive cars with rust spots all over them and wear the same sweater to church for 6 months.

    Or what about the person who is really fat? Do they put him on the Daniel Fast? Do they pray for deliverance from the “fat demon”? I went to church with a dear man who was fat and poor. Do people love him for who he is or try to change him?

    I know a lovely and devoted Christian woman who is missing a bunch of her teeth and can’t afford the expensive procedure to fit her with false ones. Do they pray for new teeth? With “gold” fillings? And if she doesn’t get new ones, do they explain to her how she just didn’t have enough faith?

    My experience is that charismatic churches try their best to “change” these souls; heal the sick (it’s your fault if it doesn’t work); prosper the poor; get every body trim and healthy; remove the warts; straighten the teeth; “paint the barn”.

    Where at Bethel, or any church like it, do people like these fit?

    When I was at the word-of-faith church, I came to understand quite painfully that they wanted to change me; not because of what was on the inside, but because I was too plain, a bit heavy, and didn’t express enough joy in my worship (translation: I didn’t wear makeup or fancy clothes, I need to lose a few pounds, and I didn’t raise my hands high enough during the obligatory 30 minutes of soft-rock performance before the sermon). I witnessed others who were struggling with difficult events in their lives. Instead of reaching out and helping them, they were each given “words” and told how to pray and each reminded that their trial “wasn’t God’s will for their life” (meaning it was their own lack of faith). But hey, nothing builds faith like tearing down faith!

    I’ve never been to Bethel in Redding. Do you know how these people would be received there?

  237. pnissila says:

    If this isn’t out of place, here, I have a book out, too, on writing, only with a humor slant. It’s listed under Products on my writing blog: http://www.writingpromptstogo.wordpress.com I just started the blog a few days ago. My other blog is on faith issues.
    You don’t need to post this comment in the middle of this theological discourse, however.
    Phyllis

  238. Craig says:

    Phyllis,

    I’ll allow your comment as I think good writing is a skill that many have never acquired. (I’m still learning and, hopefully, growing in skill.) So, anything which can make it fun may help some improve their writing habits.

    I like the title of your writing blog – “Write where you are” – as I appreciate double entendre. I try to incorporate it when I can.

    It’s sometimes difficult to write on serious subjects, such as theology, which can get tedious. I try to inject a bit of humor – even if it may be a bit over the heads of some readers. I thought the title of this one was a bit humorous (the part before the colon) given Bill Johnson’s penchant for redefinining terms and concepts:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/learning-etymology-with-bill-johnson-a-new-age-repentance/

    In addition, I thought the section title of “Johnson’s Word of Faith Roots Showing” was humorous without being in any way condescending.

    The Gospel writers showed Jesus using rhetorical skill, primarily when dealing with the Pharisees and Sadducees. He liked to use hyperbole, a rhetorical device which was apparently heavily employed at the time.

  239. pnissila says:

    Yes, the rules of rhetoric and, my personal favorite, figurative language, both grace the muti-genre book called the Bible. I hesitate to say I relish the metaphor of the Scriptures as some might think that means I reject the black and white truth therein. However, as a writer I see metaphor everywhere even as God invites us to “see” Him, the Designer of designers, in physical creation (I mean, what human would ever have come up with, say, a stink bug? Dust mites [insert shiver, here]? All that stuff at the bottom of the ocean we couldn’t even have imagined until we finally came up with machines to be able to withstand water pressure and get down there? Water pressure?). And of course my conclusion incorporates the elements of logic, too.

    As the kids might say, God rocks creation. And He speaks to us through it. That is, of course, unless we get caught up in the cacophony of enterprising word-smiths who bank (figuratively and literally) on our human proclivity to follow after the gold dust and feathers of spiritual whim and fancy and seduce us with their shiny wares. (Somebody stop me. ;)) So, anyway, we need to stay tight in the Word of God. He’s made Himself known, and He knows how to speak to each of us whatever our station or craft in life.

    I think it’s time to write another devotional and let the reader’s eyes unglaze ;): http://pnissila.wordpress.com/category/devotionals/ (and other stuff).

    Cheers,
    Phyllis

    P.S. And vis-a-vis “spiritual phenomena,” Johnson’s followers “ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” I grew up intensely Roman Catholic (including twelve years of Catholic school) and there are flights of spiritual fancy unimaginable to those outside the system that would make your eyes bleed. And I’m not just talking about Purgatory. My own testimony abides here: http://pnissila.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/out-of-the-fire-on-leaving-roman-catholicism/

    TEST THE SPIRITS. PLEASE!

  240. pnissila says:

    To just1of His: I love that panda joke!

    And to your second topic: having grown up Catholic, I can still recite from memory many strange prayers directed at Mary and at others. I also had my fill of stories of the lives of the (Catholic) “saints.” My personal favorite, but nor for religious reasons, is the story from a few centuries ago about the guy who ran off on his wife on their wedding day. As the story goes, he then dedicated his life to the Lord and lived in some local hovel for seventeen years. In my mind (even as a kid) it was the wife who was the saint, here, but what did I know. Come to think of it, she was probably better off without him, but I don’t even want to think about that…

    On a more serious note related to Mariology, I had an opportunity, some thirty years ago, to meet a Catholic woman who allegedly had a “vision” of Mary. According to the woman, this “Mary” offered her “gold rosary beads.” This was when I was working for a cult ministry and at the same time extricating from the last of the false doctrines, notions, and assorted spiritual practices of Catholicism in my own “exit process” from that system. This is a poignant story, nevertheless, about the power of false spirits, erroneous doctrine, and a woman caught up in tremendous grief. And I completely understood why she was convinced beyond a doubt that that spirit was “Mary,” and those beads were the “rosary.” Read about it here: http://pnissila.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/mrs-p-and-the-gold-rosary-beads-the-danger-of-one-degree-off/

    I am still in awe that God reached down and saved me, as He has many former Catholics, as bound up as I was as a child in the mental, spiritual, and psychological manipulations of that all-encompassing system. The Jesuits, smart, powerful, and quite famous for the idea “give us a child until he’s seven and we have him for life” obviously know nothing about the wisdom and power of God. Nothing.

    And to our essential topic, here: although Sozo is somewhat stronger than many cult teachings because of its strong physiological manifestations, it is also nothing compared with the power of God to save, heal, and deliver, in the real sense. We need to keep praying and communicating, if possible, with our loved ones caught up in it. There is tremendous power in those two activities. For a little more encouragement, here is another story, if I may, from my cult ministry days that might give you hope if you, too, are contending for someone caught up in Sozo: http://pnissila.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/is-your-loved-one-caught-up-in-false-teaching-heres-a-story-of-hope/

    Blessings and cheers,
    Phyllis

  241. Maria Billingsley says:

    Yessy,
    Test the spirits. God has sent you strong delusions because you have left your first love. Read what you have posted carefully..

    1 John 4: (KJV)
    2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ IS COME in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world”

    Man is not mentioned here, spirit is. I challenge you to test the spirt you have let in. God loves you and wants you back.

  242. Shawn says:

    Hi CrossWise,

    Not sure if you already thought of adding this to your post on Bill J., but the Christology he presented is actually a form of Adoptionism (second century) and all who believed it were labeled heretical. Nestorianism was a follow-up to this heresy in AD 428.

    So Bill isn’t saying anything new, he’s just recycling older heretical teachings.

    Hope this helps.

    Shawn

  243. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    I’m glad you’re reading the material here and are aware of the heresies of the past. See footnotes 34 and 35 which I think better describe Johnson’s Christology as separationist. Strictly speaking, this is a bit different from adoptionism – although see footnote 27. Johnson has spoken about Jesus as a 12 year old boy referring to Luke 2:41-52 elsewhere in When Heaven Invades Earth.

  244. Craig says:

    Here’s the relevant quote:

    He was simply a 12-year-old boy with priorities that were different from everyone else. [p 98]

    This is inconclusive and may well point to adoptionism in and of itself. This is part of the reason I prefer separationist Christology in describing Johnson’s belief. Adoptionism is also separationist, of course.

  245. Shawn says:

    Thanks Craig,

    I didn’t realize your articles on Johnson’s Christology covered several chapters so I’m bound to have missed it!

    From what I just read online (http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html), I’m not sure that I would use the term “separationist” to fully describe Johnson’s belief. There they seem to indicate that a separate being called “Christ” entered into Jesus and then later departed back to heaven prior to the crucifixion, i.e. there are two beings, Jesus the man and Christ who sits at God’s right hand. Is there another source I should see for the definition of separationist if this one is not correct?

    From what I understand from Johnson’s comments, his opinion is that it was via the anointing of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gained power to do miracles and, at that time, became the Christ. I know he is not regurgitating exact Adoptionism theology, but Johnson seems pretty close to it.

    It’s almost as if Johnson is saying that Jesus was indeed sent from God to earth and is the son of God but that he was born as 100% fully human, having left His divinity in heaven. That at the anointing, Jesus becomes the Christ, the Messiah, the Chosen One of Israel, by taking up the divinity conferred by the Holy Spirit i.e. at that point he is approved to become the Messiah/Christ (and the Holy Spirit couriers Jesus’s divinity to Him from heaven or He takes on God’s divinity? Very confusing) and from that point on He is able to perform miracles because He now has the power of the Holy Spirit in Him.

    I think Johnson is taking John 12:49-50 and making that into something I don’t think Jesus intended.

    Anyway, whatever the case, I think we can agree that the man is both a heretic and that he is robbing many of their trust in a 100% devine Christ. And I don’t say this lightly – just because I disagree with people doesn’t mean I automatically write them off. But Johnson’s deception is messing up many believers and that makes me both angry (becuase of all those people being damaged by his teachings) and very, very sad.

  246. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    You wrote:

    From what I just read online (http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html), I’m not sure that I would use the term “separationist” to fully describe Johnson’s belief. There they seem to indicate that a separate being called “Christ” entered into Jesus and then later departed back to heaven prior to the crucifixion, i.e. there are two beings, Jesus the man and Christ who sits at God’s right hand. Is there another source I should see for the definition of separationist if this one is not correct?

    I didn’t read the material in the link you provided, but what you describe in the above is the belief of Cerinthus from the latter part of the first century. That IS what I think can best describe the teaching to which Johnson most closely adheres. That is, Jesus was a man – but a REALLY good man – who later became ‘Christed’, having received the “Christ anointing” (which we can also receive). This “Christ anointing” is what gave Jesus of Nazareth his power to do do miracles. Yet, as Johnson states, Jesus was a ‘powerless lamb’ on the Cross. See what I mean?

    The author I cited at footnote 34 is referring to Cerinthus’ belief as separationist, i.e. Jesus was a man, Christ is a separate spirit – an anointing one can receive.

    I largely, if not totally, agree with the rest of your comment! In the New Age Christology, Jesus of Nazareth was worthy enough to be “christed” and become “the Christ” for the Piscean age, our current aeon. If you read the rest of the series (yes, it’s LONG), you’ll see it.

  247. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    I actually think this article is more convincing of Johnson’s separationist, and hence antichrist, Christology:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

  248. Shawn says:

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the response. So you’re saying that Johnson’ does believe that an entirely separate being came from God and entered into Jesus the man (who also came from God?). Do you think Johnson then means there are FOUR beings in heaven – the Father, the Son (Jesus), The Holy Spirit, and the Christ?

    My earlier point was that I was not sure I understood what you meant when you used the term “separationist” since the explanation of “Gnostic Separationist” in that other link seemed to vary slightly from what you were describing (dude, I didn’t read the entire thing either, I just used cntrl F to search the “separationist” term and read that part). Just FYI – I had never heard the term before so was searching online to try and find out the definition.

    “…if not totally, agree with the rest of your comment.” In order for my own education and growth, which parts specifically do you disagree with? I don’t want to hold a false Biblical understanding or teach something contrary to the Word of God. Please feel free to point it out – I’d be thankful for it.

  249. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    I’m saying that the way I read Johnson’s myriad of confusing and even downright contradicting (seemingly) statements, it seems Johnson’s Christology boils down to being akin to Cerinthus’ separationist Christology. This is apparently what the other author’s mean by “Gnostic Separationist”. I will point out that there are others who do not agree with my assessment. But, that’s my assessment nonetheless.

    You wrote: …Do you think Johnson then means there are FOUR beings in heaven – the Father, the Son (Jesus), The Holy Spirit, and the Christ?

    No, that’s not what I’m getting at; you’ll have to read further into the series to see exactly what I mean.

    By this portion that I wrote, “…if not totally, agree with the rest of your comment”, it was your assessment of Johnson in your comment at 10:23am, not you’re own personal beliefs.

  250. Shawn says:

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks again for the response. I can’t say that I understand really what Johnson means either – to me, and no disrespect intended, he comes across as nuttier than a squirrel full of nuts (I believe that may be in the Bible somewhere lol).

    I’m enjoying reading all your topics so I will, I hope, get to the end of the IV part on Johnson “soon.” Frankly speaking, however, you’ve made such a convincing case for his heretical stance point I don’t feel a need to have to read everything you wrote on the topic.

    I’ve spent the past few months researching and documenting the foundational sources of the Sozo Prayer Ministry out of Bethel Church. As part of that research I came across many blog posts and comments on Johnson. In nearly every single one that offered a critique of his teachings, they all confirmed that his description of Christ was without merit.

    Having watched videos and read interviews/articles by Johnson, it saddens me greatly to see how far from the truth of the Word he is.

    In your article on IHOP, Mike Bickle lied while trying to offer an explanation for Bob Jones’ false prophesy. Johnson, however, doesn’t even bother to try defend his own teachings or to answer the abundant criticism of his theological position(s). This to me speaks loudly and should to every other discerning Christian.

    Thanks for posting so diligently on these topics as you contend for the faith – they are, unfortunately, very much needed.

    In Christ.

  251. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    If you go to part II of this series you’ll see other Christological statements that appear, on the surface, to be orthodox – or at least quasi-orthodox. However, I’ve spent quite a bit of time/verbiage assessing those. This is where others part company with my assessment. Yet, I maintain my stance.

  252. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    The reason this article and it’s subsequent parts is so lengthy is that I think there’s a larger spiritual agenda afoot.

  253. Maria Billingsley says:

    Question to everyone in this forum. Have any of you experienced or know of fellow Christians who have dreams that are more in the realm of demonic? Also, since all this nonsense is happening in hyper-charasmatic churches, are they opening themselves to the demonic realm? I am very concerned as my niece now attends Bethel and ever since I have been getting TONS of dark supernatural visitations in my dreams. Whats happening??

  254. Shawn says:

    Hi Craig,

    I didn’t get through all of Part II but I read enough to confirm in my mind what I said earlier, Johnson is heretical.

    Because he is heretical, I would no more listen to anything he has to say than stick my hand into a fire – both would be stupid decisions. Paul writes extensively on the topic in 2 Corinthians 11.

    No disclaimer for the length of your writing is needed. There are some who will need to read all of it to become convinced that Johnson is “off” and there are others who, despite reading it at all, will still remain unconvinced.

    Again, I applaud you for your site and your effort to help shed light on heretical teachings that lead believers astray. I for one agree with you 100% that there is a spiritual agenda afoot. But then again, there has always been two agenda’s afoot; God’s and the devils.

    I for one am not surprised that the devil would use deception and false teachings to infiltrate the church. He’s been doing it since the time of Christ and nothing exists that shows he’ll change that approach (again, 2 Cor. 11).

    I always remember that at the Day of Judgment there will be those who say that they have done miracles in the name of Christ, yet He will reject them. I’m just doing my best to make sure I’m not one of them.

    Shawn

  255. just1ofhis says:

    Craig said (in summarizing Bill Johnson):

    “That is, Jesus was a man – but a REALLY good man – who later became ‘Christed’, having received the “Christ anointing” (which we can also receive). This “Christ anointing” is what gave Jesus of Nazareth his power to do do miracles.”

    The greatest clarity I had on understanding the mucky-mess that Bill Johnson teaches came from a sampling of the children’s “bible” study material. They describe the Holy Spirit as an anointing that is spread on us, just like Jesus had, compairing this anointing to being spread with peanut butter. You get spread with your “Christ-anointing” and now you can be as He is. As has been pointed out sooooooo many times, that is the original lie out of the mouth of the serpent which led to the original sin.

    Jesus didn’t need an external covering as He was and is the dwelling place of God in whom all the fullness of the diety dwells in bodily form.

    Looking at how they taught it to children really helped me understand how far BJ’s teachings are from the truth. I’ve found the same thing to be true in other churches. If you really want to understand what they teach, look at what they teach to children (if you can get your hands on it).

    The simplified version of the lie (“you can be as God” in all its many variants), stripped of all its intellectual double-speak, can be found in the garbage pushed on little children.

  256. just1ofhis says:

    How many degrees of subtleness of the devil! And how important each and every word from the mouth of God!

    This today on Elijah’s list from Bob Jones:

    http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=11768

    “Through obedience to the written Word we learn righteousness; right standing with God. By developing relationship with God we take on the divine nature of Christ and sanctify the imagination (thoughts). When we surrender our soul to our spirit we allow the spirit within us to rule over the soul.”

    WE DO NOT TAKE ON THE DIVINE NATURE OF CHRIST ANY MORE THAN WE ARE SPREAD WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT LIKE PEANUT BUTTER!

    We participate in the divine nature. That is a world apart from taking it on. We are not the Christ. We are below Him. We serve and love and follow, BUT HE ALONE IS HEAD. What did Peter say?

    “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may PARTICIPATE in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)

    “take on”: to assume, to acquire. (Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary)

    “participate”: to have a part or share in.

    “surrendering your sould to your spirit”: new age gobbledegook.

  257. Craig says:

    This sort of stuff by Bob Jones is a recycling/restating of other old Jones teachings. It’s part of the ‘spiritual DNA’ doctrine which I touch on in part II of this series and cover more in-depth in part IIIb:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iiib/

    See especially the “Getting Down to the DNA of Spiritual DNA” section.

  258. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    I had forgotten Johnson’s “peanut butter” analogy which you had pointed out a while back.

  259. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    The following may help add a bit of clarity until you read further into this series. According to the occult, and some (most or all?) of 1st/2nd century Gnostic teachings, each person has a “divine spark” or “seed” which needs to be awakened. Jesus was the first such person who had his “divine seed” awakened by the “Christ anointing”. Then, Jesus continued progressing towards perfection, thus becoming a god/divine. Thus, according to this occult teaching, Jesus’ life is a symbolic roadmap we are to follow. (As Johnson likes to say, “Jesus is our model”.) So, if we follow Jesus’ example, we will become gods ourselves.

    The Gnostic worldview was such that all matter is evil while the spiritual realm is inherently good. Therefore, our goal is to activate, then perfect our spiritual side, then eventually we will totally transcend the material/physical. This is the point at which we become gods.

    The way I see Johnson is a ‘Christianized’ version of the above.

  260. just1ofhis says:

    Maria:

    “Question to everyone in this forum. Have any of you experienced or know of fellow Christians who have dreams that are more in the realm of demonic? Also, since all this nonsense is happening in hyper-charasmatic churches, are they opening themselves to the demonic realm? I am very concerned as my niece now attends Bethel and ever since I have been getting TONS of dark supernatural visitations in my dreams. Whats happening??”

    Remembering that we are fighting against “forces in the air” and not flesh and blood, I’ll give you my take.

    Dark dreams aren’t necessarily demonic any more than light dreams are of God, imo. Satan comes disguised as an angel of light; so the most dangerous dreams, visions, and other such things to me are those which could seem like they are “of God” but don’t line up with the Word of God. Some of the greatest deceptions and heresies of all time have originated with folks who thought they were talking to an angel of God or even Jesus.

    So, the test isn’t darkness or what seems like darkness or light, but the Word of God.

    Hyper-charismatics are not just opening themselves to demonic; they are actively participating, worshipping, and carrying out the work of demons. The fruit is bad, bad, bad….. There are no shades of grey here. There is truth and repentance, or darkness and death.

    Regarding your neice, pray for her. Ask God to show her mercy and bring her out of false teachings. Ask Him to help you speak the truth of His Word to her…to put His Words in your mouth. I’ll pray with you from here. Keep yourself safely in His Word, as both an example to her and a defense from her.

    As to your own dreams, as with everything, test them against the Word of God. If they don’t line up in any way, then you give them no further thought and don’t entertain them. Think of it as stubbornly taking your place on a wall that is the Word of God. This wall is immovable, and you must become immovable on it.

    I used to wonder about the line that Jesus drew in the sand. Sister, it is His Word. Rest in it. He will always be true to it!

  261. Craig says:

    I believe there are a lot of individuals who have subscribed to the comments of this particular article; with that in mind, I’m posting a link to a comment which is posted in another thread which is somewhat related to this article:a

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/misplaced-trust-part-i/#comment-7294

  262. Craig says:

    I’d like readers to really contemplate the following words of occultist/New Ager and then compare these to the words of Johnson in this article. This is all taken from From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus from 1937. First, from the back cover:

    “…These experiences are both symbolic and actual, setting guideposts along the way of the disciple. They exemplify the experience of the human soul through the five stages of its spiritual journey and can be invaluable to individual man facing the vast span of the same five-fold experience.”

    [Note: “five-fold” refers to the five initiations – see part IV of this series – NOT the so-called “five-fold ministry”.]

    Basically, the author is stating that Jesus experiences are “guideposts along the way of the disciple”. And, here’s a quote inside the book [pp 100-101] which describe Baptism:

    “This initiation marked a tremendous change in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Up to that time, for thirty years, He had simply been the carpenter of the little town, and the son of His parents. He was a personality doing much good in a small sphere. But after the purification in Jordan, having ‘fulfilled all righteousness’, He became the Christ, and went about His country, serving the [human] race and speaking those words which have moulded for centuries our Western civilisation. For each of us there must come the same great expansion [of consciousness], and it occurs when we are fitted to take the second initiation….

    Do you see how this fits Johnson’s words – quoted between the words in the article by the footnotes 20 to 24 – like a glove? Do you see how Johnson’s claim that “without the experience there could be no title [of Christ]” amounts to the same as Bailey’s words above? Do you see how Johnson’s words “…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…” match Bailey’s?

  263. Shawn says:

    Craig,

    [Not trying to get off topic]

    Do you have anything on “the anointing?” I’ve been thinking about that in terms as being used by those in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements and as used by B.J. (typically the old, “touch not the Lord’s anointed” as a way of trying to bully other believers into not speaking out against heresy).

    It seems to me that in the OT the anointing was something done on an individual basis and involved the Holy Spirit coming into or upon the individual being anointed (is that correct)??

    So for believers in Christ, who are being born again and receive the indwelling of the H.S., does that mean we are all “anointed” or is that still a separate occurrence?

    I’m planning to reasearch it but if you already had something I could read, that would be super!

    Shawn

  264. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    Understanding “the anointing” is central to understanding the occult basis of its use in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) / modern prophetic. This article briefly discusses the way in which anoint/ed/ing is used in both OT and NT in the “Christ” in Christian Orthodoxy section:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/christ-in-the-new-age/

    This article shows how Johnson has changed the meaning of both “Christ” and “antichrist”, the latter meaning essentially ‘anti-anointing’ – the “anointing” as hyper-charismatics define it, that is:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

    And, the following quote, from a 2nd century Gnostic source, may be helpful (in the following, “chrism” is erroneously used instead of the Greek transliterated “chrisma” which means “anointing”):

    The chrism is superior to baptism. For from the chrism we were called ‘Christians’, not from baptism. Christ also was (so) called because of the anointing. For the Father anointed the Son. But the Son anointed the apostles. And the apostles anointed us. He who is anointed possesses all things. He has the resurrection, the light, the cross. [The Gospel of Philip as quoted in http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iiia/ ]

    However, when “touch not thine anointed” is used by hyper-charismatics, it is an attempt to quell any opposition to leadership. But, if they were to take the way in which the “anointing” is applied within hyper-charismaticism consistently, then ANYONE who is “anointed” is ‘anointed’ the same as another. On the other hand, if we take it like the Alice Bailey version of progressively important anointings/initiations, which get one closer to the full revealing of the ‘god within’, then those who’ve taken the higher initiations/anointings are ‘more anointed’.

  265. Maria Billingsley says:

    If I may comment…”the anointing” is anyone who has received the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, A ONE TIME EVENT. The Holy Spirit now dwells in the believer forever. No man can orchestrate its re-delivery to believers over and over thus the outcome is “being slain”. It then becomes a Gnostic experience with no sound doctrine from Christ.

    1 John 2:26-28
    King James Version (KJV)
    26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

    27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

    28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

  266. just1ofhis says:

    BJ: “He became the Christ,…”

    There is a day coming when BJ and all those who teach like him are going to have to stand at the feet of a Holy God embodied in the form of Jesus Christ and explain themselves.

    I shudder….

  267. Craig says:

    To save the reader from going back and forth, these are the words of Johnson (with my comments in brackets [ ]). The first one is the quote which establishes Johnson as stating Jesus could not be called “Christ” until the ‘anointing’ in the Jordan:

    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.

    and:

    …The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.

    I interpret the above that Jesus was merely a man who was subsequently ‘linked to the divine’ by the anointing. And:

    …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…

    Put this all together, and we see that, according to Johnson, we become “Christ” at the ‘anointing’ as well – just like the earlier quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Philip.

  268. just1ofhis says:

    “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5…satan)

    “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…” Bill Johnson

    You will be like God/ you will have the same “Christ” anointing as Jesus

    There are no new lies, just old ones recycled, repackaged, and retold to the world.

    I believe you have hit on this before, Craig (at least, I know I’ve read it elsewhere); but if Bill Johnson was correct in his statement, then anyone would be able to pay for the sins of the world. All they would need would be their trusty “christ” anointing (as it is the very same that rested on “jesus”).

    Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. That is plain enough. Only He, of all who have walked on the earth, can claim to be “I am…”, the Alpha and the Omega. We are nothing but the smallest parts of His Body, built up as He ordains it, blessed to participate in His divine nature each in our own small way as He numbers our days.

    But, that message doesn’t make you famous or wealthy when you repeat it. You can only achieve fame and fortune by telling the world what it wants to hear. And that is what Bill Johnson does most effectively.

    Thank you for continuing to drive home this point about BJ. I hope God will grant more people ears to hear and eyes to see.

  269. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    Ahh, but you see, if Johnson’s teaching is really like the Alice Bailey/New Age version – and I do believe it is shown to be so – then Jesus was merely a man who only becomes divine by virtue of the “Christ anointing”. THEN, as we see in part IV of this series, the New Age jesus eventually ‘died to self’ on the Cross, and hence arose victorious over sins, i.e. though He could have sinned, He did not sin. As our exemplar, our model (like Johnson says, “Jesus is our model”), we too can overcome our own sin by following in Jesus’ footsteps (the difference is that we have in fact sinned – at least at some point), by ‘dying to self’ on our own figurative ‘cross’. Then, as we arise from this ‘cross’, we live ‘resurrection life'; we are sinless. This is technically called auto-soterism – self-salvation.

    To put simply: Jesus was a man (after He “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”) who eventually (re)attained divinity/godhood via the Resurrection (or, perhaps Ascension). As our model, we can follow in His footsteps and do the same.

  270. cherylu says:

    Just a quick question. Is the BJ quote above, “He became the Christ” a direct quote from Johnson? I have never heard or seen him make that statement if it is.

  271. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I believe ‘justof1his’ confused it with an Alice Bailey quote from 8:29am.

  272. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    But, do you see how the BJ quote, “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.” amounts to same?

    [This is a direct quote from Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence. 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL, page 109 – see footnote 21.]

    see googlebooks:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=VdzH8O-x3qQC&q=qualified+him+to+be+called+the+christ#v=snippet&q=qualified%20him%20to%20be%20called%20the%20christ&f=false

  273. cherylu says:

    Well, however you understand it or believe that Johnson means that quote, I think we also need to remember this quote from from “When Heaven Invades Earth”:… “For hundreds of years the prophets spoke of the Messiah’s coming. They gave over 300 specific details describing Him. Jesus fulfilled them all! The angels also gave witness to His divinity when they came with a message for the shepherds: “For there is born to you this day . . . a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Nature itself testified to the arrival of the Messiah with the star that led the wise men. Yet with this one statement, “Unless I do the works of the Father, do not believe Me,” Jesus put the credibility of all these messengers on the line. Their ministries would have been in vain without one more ingredient to confirm who He really was. That ingredient was miracles.”

    I see no way around understanding that BJ is saying there that Jesus was divine at His birth. And he certainly seems to be equating the Messiah with being divine in that statement.

    I think that needs to be very closely considered in our understanding of what he means by saying later that “He laid His divinity aside.”

    If the Messiah was divine, and He only became the Messiah at baptism as you believe he is teaching, then according to the above quote, He obviously became divine at His baptism too–which would of course contradict everything that you believe he is saying elsewhere.

    I really can’t spend a bunch of time on this discussion again. But I still just don’t think it is as cut and dried in this area as you think it is.

  274. just1ofhis says:

    Cherylu,
    Sorry for the confusion. To my ears, BJ and Alice Bailey are saying exactly the same thing; which is Craig’s point, I believe.

    I sometimes read through these posts faster than I would like, and respond to them faster than I should; so many are the blessed interruptions in my day.

    I incorrectly read the first quote from 8:29 as from Alice Bailey and the second quote as from BJ. Again, sorry for the confusion. I don’t want to falsely attribute anything to Bill Johnson, what he actually says is bad enough.

    Honestly, if I saw only the second part of the quote from 8:29; I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it came from Bill Johnson or Alice Bailey or any other false teacher. I can tell you with certainty that it doesn’t line up with the Word of God.

    Hope that clarifies.

  275. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t answer that question directly; I find that it’s a pretty straightforward quote. If there could be “no title” “without the experience”, then clearly Jesus could not actually be Christ prior to that “experience” (“Christ anointing).

    That quote you provided does not necessarily imply Jesus was divine at birth (or conception), though it may seem to on initial inspection. As I noted in part IIIa, by quoting from a New Age book by Levi Dowling, one could mean that Jesus was not born Christ, but later became Christ:

    …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…

    If one has this in mind, one could use Luke 2:11, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” [NIV 1984], to mean that Jesus is the future Christ and NOT that Jesus was born as the Christ. This would be similar to stating, “On February 12, 1809 President Lincoln was born.” – certainly, Lincoln wasn’t born President for he was elected to the office of the President later. In the same way, occult / New Age / New Spirituality teachings assert Jesus wasn’t born the Christ for he wasn’t coronated until He was around thirty years of age.

    In fact, I went further in explaining that exact quote in the Kenosis, Christology and Bill Johnson, part II article (under the subsection Johnson Contradicts His Kenosis by Affirming Jesus Christ’s Deity? which I’ll just cut and paste my comments along with the quote:
    ________________________________________

    With the following, a paragraph at the start of chapter 9 in Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth, he appears to affirm Jesus Christ’s full deity:

    “For hundreds of years the prophets spoke of the Messiah’s coming. They gave over 300 specific details describing Him. Jesus fulfilled them all! The angels also gave witness to His divinity when they came with a message for the shepherds: ‘For there is born to you this day…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Nature itself testified to the arrival of the Messiah with the star that led the wise men…’ 124

    Does the above quote show that Johnson affirms Jesus Christ’s full deity and thereby contradict his kenosis teachings above? Or, alternatively, does this show that Bill Johnson is actually teaching a very poorly articulated functionalist kenosis rather than an ontological kenosis? The key is the rest of this paragraph:

    “…Yet with this one statement, ‘Unless I do the works of the Father, do not believe me,’* Jesus put the credibility of all these messengers on the line. Their ministries would have been in vain without one more ingredient to confirm who He really was. That ingredient was miracles.” 125

    Was the archangel Gabriel pacing the heavens hoping that Jesus would perform miracles to prove He really was the Messiah, the Christ, and thus prove Gabriel to be true? Certainly not. The asterisk (*) above refers to John 10:37 in a footnote in the original quoted passage. In this Scripture Jesus Christ was not making some sort of all-inclusive statement “putting the credibility of all these messengers on the line;” He was addressing the unbelieving Jews. Johnson is mixing Biblical contexts here. However, note that John 10:37 is pointing out that they should believe He is the Son of God by virtue of the works/miracles. Jesus’ point is that, though they do not believe who He claims He is, they should believe by the miracles. Johnson proof-texts this in his attempts to ‘show’ that Jesus was not the Christ/Messiah until His Baptism after which, of course, He performed the miraculous works having been “enabled” by the “anointing.”

    So, it would seem the above paragraph can be perfectly harmonized with the rest of Johnson’s ontologically kenotic teachings….

    ______________________________________

    No matter how one slices it, Johnson’s words clearly articulate a non-divine Jesus at times. To claim that we should manipulate the English language in order to essentially ‘fit’ Johnson into Christian orthodoxy is absurd. You say we should take the “He laid His divinity aside” and filter that through your supplied quote; yet, how do we filter “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man” into that? Please don’t try the ‘maybe Johnson means something else by “divinity”‘ explanation as Johnson has clearly equated divinity with deity and ‘Godhood’ as I mentioned in a comment here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/round-the-mulberry-bush-with-bill-johnson/

    Johnson’s facebook quote used in the above makes a clear distinction between “humanity” and “divinity” here, with the latter clearly inferring “deity” by the context:

    …His limitations were in His humanity, not His divinity. Understanding the difference can help us to successfully live the life He gave for us to live.

    Given that, the above quote can be, “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity/deity and became man”.

    On top of that, we have Johnson’s initial statement at the beginning of Chapter 7 of the same book from which you cite (bracketed comments [ ] are mine for clarification):

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

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

    So, when was Jesus “smeared with the Holy Spirit”? As per Johnson, this was just after He came up out of the Jordan, when the Holy Spirit ‘rested upon Him’. Hence, when did Jesus become the Christ? At the “Christ anointing”.

  276. cherylu says:

    If you don’t think he means He was divine at conception or birth when do you think he means it in that particular quote?

  277. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    You wrote, “If the Messiah was divine, and He only became the Messiah at baptism as you believe he is teaching, then according to the above quote, He obviously became divine at His baptism too–which would of course contradict everything that you believe he is saying elsewhere.

    Not exactly, Johnson plays a semantic dance at the beginning of Chapter 7 (see quote supplied earlier). If we all receive the same “Christ anointing” as Jesus, as Johnson states in Face to Face, then aren’t we all ‘Messiahs’ at this same “anointing”? It goes back to the words of New Ager Levi Dowling:

    The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Kristos [ED: actually Christos] and means anointed. It is identical with the Hebrew word Messiah. The word Christ, in itself, does not refer to any particular person; every anointed person is christed. When the definitive article ‘the’ is placed before the word Christ, a definite personality is indicated, and this personality is none other than a member of the Trinity, the Son…

    In the New Age version, there are multiple definitions for “Christ”. The “Christ” of the false Trinity above is NOT that same as the Christ of Jesus Christ. This false Christ is a force, which comes in the form of ‘new revelations’ which awaken the ‘divine spark/seed’ which is inside every thing.

    Levi Dowling goes on to explain how Jesus became the Christ in a book which is set in chapter/verse much like our Bible:

    …and now you stand ready to take the last degree. 6 Upon your brow I place this diadem, and in the Great Lodge of the heavens and earth you are THE CHRIST. 7 This is your great Passover rite. You are a neophyte no more; but now a master mind. 8 Now, man can do no more; but God himself will speak, and will confirm your title and degree. 9 Go on your way, for you must preach the gospel of good will to men and peace on earth; must open up the prison doors and set the captives free. 10 And while the hierophant yet spoke the temple bells rang out; a pure white dove descended from above and sat on Jesus’ head. 11 And then a voice that shook the very temple said, THIS IS THE CHRIST…

    Sounds very similar to Johnson….

    ADDED:

    Sorry, I need to add the following for clarity: According to the New Age belief, this is how Jesus was on the way to becoming “the Christ” of the Piscean Age – our current era/aeon. He became Master Jesus subsequent to this particular ‘initiation’. He is not our model to follow towards actualizing our own divinity; however, we can only eventually ‘equal’ Him as we strive to become a Master ourselves. There will be a ‘new Christ’ for the Aquarian Age; He will be revealed soon according to New Agers. Orthodox Christianity recognizes this ‘Christ of the Aquarian Age’ as the Antichrist.

  278. Craig says:

    If you don’t think he means He was divine at conception or birth when do you think he means it in that particular quote?

    I already explained it. Where was I unclear?

  279. Craig says:

    If you don’t think he means He was divine at conception or birth when do you think he means it in that particular quote?

    Jesus had to ‘prove’ it by the miracles, according to Johnson when He quotes John 10:37; and, since Jesus couldn’t perform the miraculous until the “Christ anointing”, then it was at that point that He became the Christ/Messiah. Does that clarify it?

  280. cherylu says:

    PS to my last comment. Of course, this is not the only place that BJ has said that Jesus, was/is always God. (Not trying to give a direct quote there.) There are lots of them that have to be explained away to come to your conclusions.

    As I have said before, he is very contradictory. And because of that I am not sure that we can say with any certainty that he does not believe Jesus was God while on this earth.

    You said you were disappointed that I didn’t answer your question directly. I am disappointed that you keep insisting that BJ doesn’t believe Jesus was God on this earth as if you are absolutely sure of that when he has made statements affirming that many times in the past. And it seems to me that you have done a lot of filtering and explaining away to come to that conclusion. A good dose of healthy skepticism is one thing. Absolute certainty in the face of this many conflicting statements and affirmations to the contrary seems out of place to me.

    And I have wrapped my brain around this one all I have time and energy for (again)!

  281. cherylu says:

    “If you don’t think he means He was divine at conception or birth when do you think he means it in that particular quote?

    Jesus had to ‘prove’ it by the miracles, according to Johnson when He quotes John 10:37; and, since Jesus couldn’t perform the miraculous until the “Christ anointing”, then it was at that point that He became the Christ/Messiah. Does that clarify it?”

    Prove what, that He was divine or that He was the Messiah, or both?

    Craig, don’t you see what you are doing? I asked when you though He became divine according to Johnson. You say He had to prove it by doing miracles after the “Christ anointing”?

    If that is the case, then he was divine after the Christ anointing, after baptism Then He would not be just a man–not divine–after that time. Which is of course what you insist BJ is saying.

  282. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    And, I’ve taken many of those quotes and explained them throughout this series, especially the latter part of part II. I’ve explained how Bailey’s New Age/occult intent was to purposely twist words in order to make them sound orthodox, and how this could well be what Johnson is doing with those seemingly contradictory statements – those which seem to assert a divine earthly Jesus against those which clearly, unambiguously, state a non-divine earthly Jesus.

    Now, since you specifically asked your question, “If you don’t think he means He was divine at conception or birth when do you think he means it in that particular quote?“, do you see that I’ve answered it via Johnson’s use of John 10:37 in conjunction with his numerous statements that Jesus wasn’t the Christ until the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” / “Christ anointing” / the dove rested upon Him?

    I must rephrase: how can the following statement reflect anything but a non-divine earthly Jesus, “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity(/deity) and became man”?

  283. Craig says:

    cherylu, you wrote:

    Craig, don’t you see what you are doing? I asked when you though He became divine according to Johnson. You say He had to prove it by doing miracles after the “Christ anointing”?

    If that is the case, then he was divine after the Christ anointing, after baptism Then He would not be just a man–not divine–after that time. Which is of course what you insist BJ is saying.

    No, you’re not following ALL the statements. You must remember that the “Christ anointing” LINKED Him to the divine; i.e. the “Christ anointing” did not make Him full deity, as per Johnson:

    …The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.

    That does not actually make Him divine at that point. It’s just like 1st/2nd century Gnostic Cerinthus taught: that the divine Christ Spirit descended upon the man Jesus – and left Him prior to the Cross.

    …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…

    Neither do we become divine at the “Christ anointing”. This ‘anointing’ is just one along the way; we need to ‘resurrect’ and then ‘ascend’ to actually become divine.

  284. cherylu says:

    Two things, first you have to assume that Johnson is deliberately trying to deceive. He may be and he may not be. I don’t think you or any one else knows for sure. But on that assumption it seems that you have come to your conclusions that you are stating as absolute fact.

    And again, when do you believe Johnson was saying in that quote that Jesus became divine? As I thought from your earlier statement, you seem to mean that it was when He became (supposedly) the Messiah at His anointing at His baptism. That being the case, He was then divine for the rest of His earthly life. And His divinity was no longer laid aside and nothing Johnson said about His doing all of His miracles as a man because His divinity was laid aside holds one ounce of water at all. Because now He is stating that He became divine at baptism. Just doesn’t work, does it?

  285. Craig says:

    Prove what, that He was divine or that He was the Messiah, or both?

    The terms are synonymous – both by Johnson AND New Agers. The key is that we, too, become “Christs”, i.e. it’s not unique to Jesus.

  286. Craig says:

    If Johnson isn’t deliberately trying to deceive (whether of his own accord or by the spirits controlling him), then why oh why has he not attempted to correct the multitudes of flat out false or (seemingly) contradictory statements?

    I’ve answered the latter part of your most recent question in my previous comment.

  287. Craig says:

    According to New Age teaching, Jesus was not divine until He Ascended to be “Master Jesus”. He was NOT divine during His earthly ministry. Johnson’s teaching fit right in with that.

    …The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.

    “Linked” Him to the divine, not made Him divine.

  288. cherylu says:

    So when in the world do you believe BJ meant that Jesus became divine?? He did say the angels testified to His divinity at His birth. Were they testifying that He was dvine in the past, that He would become divine again in the future or what? Your thinking totally baffles me here.

  289. cherylu says:

    Prove what, that He was divine or that He was the Messiah, or both?

    The terms are synonymous – both by Johnson AND New Agers. The key is that we, too, become “Christs”, i.e. it’s not unique to Jesus.

    Okay, so to be the Messiah means to be divine? My point exactly. But when did Johnson say He became the Messiah according to your understanding? When He was anointed at His baptism, right? Hence He was divine from His baptism on.

  290. Craig says:

    So when in the world do you believe BJ meant that Jesus became divine?? He did say the angels testified to His divinity at His birth. Were they testifying that He was dvine in the past, that He would become divine again in the future or what? Your thinking totally baffles me here.

    The angels testified to His future divinity (according to Johnson). Johnson makes it clear that Jesus was NOT divine during His earthly ministry by the multitude of other statements; therefore, this statement is not about Jesus being divine at birth. Remember that BJ said specifically that the angels’ statements were “on the line” until Jesus ‘proved’ he was the Messiah/Christ by the miracles – but again, this does not ‘prove’ He was necessarily “divine” at that point. It merely ‘proves’ (as per Johnson here) that He was the Messiah/Christ by virtue of the “Christ anointing”. Put another way: Jesus only ‘became’ the Christ/Messiah when the ‘dove rested upon Him'; i.e. Jesus became the Messiah/Christ when the “Christ Spirit” descended upon Him. Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth, a man, but a ‘special’ man, had received the “Christ anointing” which “linked Him to the divine” – it didn’t make Jesus himself divine, per se. His divinity would only come when He fulfilled ALL 300 Scriptures attesting to Him to include Crucifixion, after which He would rise from the dead and eventually Ascend.

  291. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    You wrote, “Okay, so to be the Messiah means to be divine?…

    No, not at all. You’re not reading all that I’m writing here. Messiah/Christ DOES NOT mean divine. Can you point me to any BJ quote which affirms that ‘Christ/Messiah = divinity’? I can point you to plenty that do not.

  292. Craig says:

    It seems I have to keep reiterating things I’ve previously written; so here goes:

    According to New Age teaching, Jesus was not divine until He Ascended to be “Master Jesus”. He was NOT divine during His earthly ministry. Johnson’s teaching fit right in with that.

    Once again, here’s Johnson:

    …The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.

    “Linked” Him to the divine, not made Him divine. This same “Christ anointing” “links” us to the divine; it doesn’t make us divine.

  293. cherylu says:

    So, the terms Messiah and divine are synonyms as used by Johnson. But when Johnson says that Jesus became the Messiah, He doesn’t mean that He became divine at that time.

    How can you prove that you are the Messiah/Christ without proving that you are divine if you use the two terms as synonyms?

    Besides, BJ said that the angels attested to the divinity of the one born, “the Savior, Christ the Lord.” You say that “Christ” happened at His baptism, but that He didn’t mean that divinity happened then. Hard to fathom if they are synonyms–if one is the same as the other. I guess maybe they are synonyms when you want them to be and not synonyms when you don’t want them to be? 2+2=4. Unless of course you want it to equal 5 today.

  294. Craig says:

    So, the terms Messiah and divine are synonyms as used by Johnson

    No, they are not. Show me where.

  295. Craig says:

    Besides, BJ said that the angels attested to the divinity of the one born, “the Savior, Christ the Lord.”

    I don’t recall Johnson using “Savior” very much; so, is it possible that “Savior” is equated with “divinity”? That works well in the New Age scheme in which Jesus ‘saves Himself’ and thus provides the example for us in order for each of us to save ourselves individually; i.e. to gradually become gods.

  296. cherylu says:

    Um Craig, you are the one that said that BJ and New Agers use the terms divine and Messiah as synonyms just a few comments ago. Unless you misunderstood my question or I misunderstood your answer.

    Prove what, that He was divine or that He was the Messiah, or both?

    The terms are synonymous – both by Johnson AND New Agers. The key is that we, too, become “Christs”, i.e. it’s not unique to Jesus

  297. Craig says:

    OK, I see, in my haste I did not write my intent here. What I MEANT to write was that Messiah and Christ are synonymous NOT that “divine” is equated with either of these.

  298. Craig says:

    I was answering the latter part of your question (“that He was Messiah”), not the former part regarding “divine” (that He was divine).

  299. cherylu says:

    Well, now that I have spent the last umpteen comments discussing what you said instead of what you meant……. I have totally run out of time for anything more. Is dinner time here and time to visit my mother in law.

  300. Craig says:

    Well, I hope you come back after dinner and re-read the comments. Johnson is clear that the “Christ anointing” is what ‘links to the divine”, not that the title of Christ/Messiah makes one divine.

  301. Craig says:

    I’ll put it succinctly: In the Johnson Christology, “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity(/deity) and became man” At the “Christ anointing” aka ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’, Jesus became “linked to the divine”. And, “we must follow Him all the way – to a lifestyle empowered by the resurrection!” This is because “The Christian life is not found on the Cross. It is found because of the Cross. It is His resurrection power that energizes the believer…” [see part IV]. It’s not the power of the Cross; it’s the “resurrection power that energizes the believer”. It’s “resurrection life” that we get to live in the here and now, if we “follow Him all the way…” It’s manifested sons of God teaching with Jesus as our exemplar. Just like Jesus became a manifested son of God post-Resurrection, we can too. In addition, we can actually ascend and become an “Ascended Master”, just like Jesus, if we like.

  302. cherylu says:

    Just a very quick thought here while dinner is starting to cook. I wonder if what Johnson really believes is some form of Nestorianism. I can’t remember if that has been discussed here or not. Quick definition from Theopedia, Nestorianism insisted that there were two natures but that there were also two persons: one divine and the other human. Rather than unifying Jesus, this view separated the person of Jesus along with his two natures.

    http://www.theopedia.com/Two_natures_of_Jesus

    It seems to me that could explain his conflicting statements quite well. Insisting that He is and has always been God but that He lived on this earth as a man that laid aside divinity. Could the man nature just lay aside the other half of Him, the God nature? If He can be divided up into two natures and two persons, it seems to me that he could possibly make all of the statements that he has and not see conflict in them. Particularly the statement that the anointing is what connected Him to the divine. One nature and person being connected to the other nature and person by the anointing.

  303. Craig says:

    Johnson’s teaching does at times seem Nestorian. And, this, I firmly believe, is because Johnson actually adheres to the occult/New Age doctrine that all of mankind, including Jesus, has both a human and a yet-to-be-actualized divine nature. The goal is to work towards actualizing the divine while simultaneously diminishing the human until the divine only remains.

  304. cherylu says:

    You don’t have to be knowingly buying into the occult to believe that though. All you have to do is to have bought into the Manifest Sons of God teaching that has been handed down in the church since the middle of the last century or so. They believe we become Christ in nature and action here on this earth to the point of becoming immortal..

  305. Craig says:

    Yes, it’s true one can be brought up with that teaching (MSoG). However, Johnson’s teachings go beyond that by claiming that Jesus Himself was not Christ until the ‘dove rested upon Him” at which point Jesus was “linked to the divine” and hence still not divine. I’d guess that most who’ve been taught this would be unaware that Jesus Himself was actually not divine during His earthly ministry.

  306. Craig says:

    But, your comment does point to how closely MSoG resembles occult teaching. In fact, it’s directly parallel.

  307. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Health permitting (I’ve been battling a viral infection {flu?} which has left me comparatively weak and thinking somewhat unclearly for 1.5 weeks), I hope to have a new post this weekend in which I’ll forgo my own analysis of a somewhat lengthy selected BJ quote, instead asking respondents to explain what they perceive to be Johnson’s meaning. I hope you’ll participate.

  308. cherylu says:

    Well, if you combine Nestorianism and MSoG, what do get? Bill Johnson maybe.

  309. Craig says:

    I won’t presume that you know this, but, if a charge of Nestorianism is to ‘stick’ to Johnson, then he can quite rightly be said to be teaching explicit heresy. Protestantism generally affirms the Creeds and Christological and Trinitarian teachings from the first five Ecumenical Councils. Nestorianism was specifically termed “anathema” and heresy at the Fourth:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Ephesus

  310. cherylu says:

    I am aware of the fact that Nestorianism was declared a heresy centuries ago. I of course firmly believe that MSoG is a heresy too. I have never said that BJ was “guilty” of orthodox teaching in all things! I have just believed that given all of what he has said that it isn’t necessarily correct to assume that he doesn’t believe Jesus was God while on earth. Nestorianism, as I understand it, is undoubtedly a heresy regarding the nature of Christ. But it does not state that He was not God during the incarnation.

  311. just1ofhis says:

    “Health permitting (I’ve been battling a viral infection {flu?} which has left me comparatively weak and thinking somewhat unclearly for 1.5 weeks)”

    Craig, I’ve been a mom for 16 years, which has left me comparatively weak and thinking somewhat unclearly for almost 900 weeks….at least that’s my best excuse.

    Feel better!

    Cherylu,
    I’m thinking that if you combine peanut butter and gold dust, you’ll get Bill Johnson.

  312. cherylu says:

    Get over that bug quickly, Craig. There have been some really nasty ones out there.

    just1ofhis,

    I am probably not thinking clearly either. (Maybe it is because I have been a Mom for over 34 years and a Grandma for 7! Not going to bother computing the weeks involved there!) But anyway, I am not getting your reference to peanut butter in this equation. Any clarifications from one unclear thinker to another?

  313. just1ofhis says:

    Cherylu,

    Bill Johnson uses a reference to peanut butter in his children’s material. It is how he teaches his “smearing” of the “holy spirit”….

    Each time I read a quote where he talks about the “smearing” of the “holy spirit”, I now see peanut butter. For me, it pretty much sums up BJ’s theology.

  314. cherylu says:

    Oh, I remember that now just1ofhis! I simply couldn’t think where in the world that came from. I’ll probably always think of that PB and gold dust statement of yours now too when I think about him.

  315. Craig says:

    Well, at least my memory is still mostly intact, even if everything I write or say does not come out 100% clear. just1ofhis made a comment on the recent Chuck Pierce thread about Johnson’s peanut butter analogy. Here’s the full context of the comment:

    ____________________________

    I found this off ibethel store. It is a part of their children’s curriculum and simplifies BJ’s “born again” Jesus, smeared with the Holy Spirit teachings.

    http://www.ibethel.org/files/downloads/pdf/lesson6smeared.pdf

    The following are portions from the downloadable sample of lesson 6 “Smeared With God” from the “Kid’s Carrying the Kingdom” curriculum available on ibethel:

    Pg 2: “We have recently discovered that: *we have been given a royal mission to bring Heaven to earth. *Jesus had the same Royal Mission.*Jesus could not do any miracles without God’s power; that’s why He was Baptized in the Holy Spirit.*We can have the same power of the Holy Spirit as well.”

    (NOTE: So, Jesus had the same royal mission as you and I? Really? This is satan’s voice in the garden…you shall be as Him….)

    Pg 6: “Smeared by a Friend” (Note: an illustration using a person dressed in white robe as the Holy Spirit and peanut butter….states the following in the Preparation: “make sure volunteers are not allergic to peanut butter”….so much for healing and faith in God’s power)

    From the teaching session: “The anointing of the Holy Spirit scares the devil and his Kingdom of Darkness. He will do anything he can to stop the anointing. He tried when Jesus was on earth, and that is why the religious leaders had Jesus put to death.”

    (NOTE: Jesus was put to death because the devil is trying to stop the anointing? Where is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world? Where is the Good Shepherd who lays down His own life for the sheep?)

    Pg 7: “In a soaking atmosphere, lead the children in inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit…..Tell Him that we want to be just like Jesus, that we want to do the same things Jesus did and that we want the same anointing. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to smear us with Himself….”
    ________________________________

    …Jesus could not do any miracles without God’s power; that’s why He was Baptized in the Holy Spirit.*We can have the same power of the Holy Spirit as well

    Exactly. Because Jesus was not God in the flesh, but rather, He was “linked to the divine” via the “Christ anointing”, or “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

  316. Maria Billingsley says:

    Have Christians stopped getting drunk in the Holy Spirit yet? Just want to change the subject as this is being sold to youth as the other drug.

  317. Craig says:

    No, I don’t think so.

  318. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I wanted to briefly address Johnson’s “Jesus was/is eternally God. That never changed” quote. I’ll answer it by way of analogy. Every true believer alive today has eternal life. That life actually starts upon belief, but is not consummated until either 1) death; or 2) the eschaton (end of all things). Yet Scripture also makes it clear that believers are/were predestined before the creation of the world [Eph 1:3-5]. Thus we were eternally predestined and “that never changed”, yet from a temporal standpoint we cannot be Christians until after we are born upon this earth and subsequently accept Christ’s substitutionary Atonement. This analogy can apply to Johnson’s words; i.e. from an eternal perspective, Johnson is stating “that never changed”, but from a temporal it is not necessarily so.

    If Johnson’s other statements were fully in line with orthodox Biblical Christianity, I’d certainly given him the benefit of the doubt; however, since he’s clearly far afield of orthodoxy in MANY statements, I won’t give him the courtesy here.

  319. Craig says:

    In the following article I mentioned the possibility of an understanding that the eternal realm does not intersect with the temporal realm, in Johnson’s understanding:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/round-the-mulberry-bush-with-bill-johnson/

    ______________________________

    This one below reads like ontological kenosis and perhaps even metamorphosis (the Word literally transformed Himself fully into a man devoid of all divine attributes during His earthly ministry). While some have tried to read functional(ist) kenosis into this, such a reading is forced. Johnson’s claim of Jesus being eternally God either contradicts the first part of the quote; or, Johnson construes eternity as wholly separate from temporal time and thus envisions an eternally divine Jesus apart from an earthly non-divine Jesus:

    Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7). While He is eternally God, He chose to live within the restrictions of a man who had no sin and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In doing this, He provided a compelling model for us to follow. [Bill Johnson & Randy Clark. The Essential Guide to Healing: Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick © 2011 by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark, Chosen Books (a division of Baker Publishing Group), Bloomington, MN; p 125. Emphasis added.]

    To rephrase my point: Johnson could envision eternity as completely separate from the temporal realm such that the two never intersect. Thus, Jesus is “eternally God” in the eternal realm but is merely a man in the temporal realm since He “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”. Hence, while walking the earth [pre-Resurrection or pre-Ascension] Jesus was a man totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit for any supernatural workings as “He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” [from When Heaven Invades Earth; p 29].

  320. just1ofhis says:

    Craig,

    Does Bill Johnson ever teach an indwelling Holy Spirit?

    My only encounters with his teachings refer to “covering”, “anointing”, and “smearing” (like peanut butter). In the terms I’ve read from him, it always sounds like he is talking about something external that rests on a person. Have you seen anything that would counter that?

  321. Craig says:

    He seems to teach both concepts. See footnote 26 of this article:

    …Certainly this is not talking about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that was already in Jesus’s life. This was the inauguration of Jesus’s ministry, and the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Him [baptism in the Holy Spirit / “Christ anointing”] 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…

    But, note the 2nd bolded section: Jesus apparently was NOT God because he was “perfectly trustworthy with the presence of God” which “came to rest upon Him”.

  322. Shawn says:

    Thank you Craig and Maria Billingsley for your responses. As soon as I have finsihed with my Sozo research, I look forward to studying up on the anointing.

  323. just1ofhis says:

    I guess confusion sells more books.

    If people can never fully understand what you are saying, then you sound brilliant.

    Rob Bell uses that strategy with his perversion of quantum physics. You won’t ever really be able to understand what he is saying, but boy does he sound smart!

    What comes to my mind:

    “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” (Rom 1: 18-19)

    So God makes it plain, men muddle it up. The idea that the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer but “rests on” very few is foreign to the Holy Word of God. It is a very confusing addition that leads to a sense of spiritual elitism among other things.

    There are different degrees of faith in believers…some have faith that is strong and some have faith that is weak (but growing!). There are different levels of maturity in believers. There are different gifts given out as God sees fit, which include things like generosity and showing mercy (not things high on the “miracle” chart per Bill Johnson, I think). But the idea that the “holy spirit” only rests on some serves nothing but Bill Johnson’s ego and pocketbook.

    Jesus answered, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matt 24:4)

    Well, if you have the exact same “christ anointing” that “jesus” had, are you not laying down a claim of “I am the Christ.” ?

  324. Maria Billingsley says:

    Shawn,
    As you explore the anointing make sure you look into being “drunk” and “slain” , These are considered anointing’s . Just youtube it and see for yourself what an apostasy this is and how the Holy Spirit has been taken to a whole different level.

  325. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    Yes, this second ‘blessing’ / “baptism in the Holy Spirit” / “Christ anointing” / ‘Spirit resting upon an individual’ all breed elitism, with the effect of creating a sort of two-class Christianity of “haves” and “have nots”. However, as I’ve argued in this series, I believe it’s much more sinister than that. I believe each “anointing” is actually a demonic initiation. The first one – which Johnson claims “links” one to “the divine” – is, IMO, a “linking” to the demonic realm, amounting to oppression (true believers) or outright possession (non-believers). This is clearly what is being taught in the Alice Bailey material, and this – again, as I argue in this series – is analogous to what Johnson (et al) teaches.

    Here’s a short Bailey quote (used in part IIIb):

    Emphasis should be laid on the evolution of humanity with peculiar attention to its goal, perfection…man in incarnation, by the indwelling and over-shadowing soul…The relation of the individual soul to all souls should be taught, and with it the long-awaited kingdom of God is simply the appearance of soul-controlled men on earth in everyday life and at all stages of that control…The fact will appear that the Kingdom has always been present but has remained unrecognized, owing to the relatively few people who express, as yet, its quality….

    To explain, going in order with the Bailey subject first, followed by the hyper-charismatic application:

    1) “evolution of humanity” with the goal of “perfection” – This is the last and greatest generation, one which, apparently, has been evolving towards this for centuries. This is the basis of the ‘victorious eschatology’, which includes the manifested sons of God teaching, rampant in hyper-charismatic circles.

    2) “man in incarnation” – Similar to #1, and, as Bob Jones (and Earl Paulk as well as others), “Christ” will return “IN My people”, as we are the (ongoing) “incarnation of Christ”:

    As you begin to grow into the likeness of Christ you’re gonna begin to partake of the divine nature. And, once you begin to grow up in that-a-way you’ll continue to mature until you look like Christ all over the world. Jesus was one person. Now get ready for Jesuses [sic; plural of “Jesus”] all over the world. [quoted in part II]

    3) “indwelling and over-shadowing soul” – This is possession (or oppression in the truly saved). The “Christ anointing” is the initial stage, with each subsequent “anointing” bringing the individual progressively more possessed.

    4) “relation of the individual soul to all souls” is an important occult concept as groups “evolve” and “reincarnate” in groups; therefore involvement with the “group” is of paramount importance – Hyper-charismatics stress group unity to the detriment of doctrinal purity. Those who refuse to become part of the “group” or who leave the “group” are antichrist having a “religious spirit”, “jezebel spirit”, or more-succinctly, an “antichrist spirit”. The question that needs to be asked is: Against/anti WHICH Christ? My belief is this is flipped on its head as true Christians reject the antichrist spirit, while those of hyper-charismaticism reject the true Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. This flipping of the tables is evidenced in the article The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.

    5) “kingdom of God” is believed to be currently on the earth, yet hidden from the ‘unenlightened'; once one receives “soul-control” one begins to ‘see'”the kingdom of God” – Hyper-charismatics wish to “bring heaven to earth”, which amounts to the same thing as Bailey. Johnson calls this “repent to see” the Kingdom, with the word “repent” defined much like New Agers, which is essentially ‘expanding one’s consciousness’ through contemplative/meditative prayer aka soaking. Biblically, our Kingdom is “not of this world”.

  326. Shawn says:

    Thanks Maria,

    I’m mostly looking at it from a Biblical perspective and not a Charismatic one – but thanks for the tip!

    Shawn

  327. Craig says:

    I should add: When I posted that Alice Bailey quote used in my comment above at 1:54pm on Constance Cumbey’s site (with very little explanation following) one astute reader, in horror, recognized it as fitting the hyper-charismaticism of which she was formerly a part.

  328. just1ofhis says:

    “The spirits of hell are at war against the anointing, for without the anointing mankind is no threat to their dominion.” BJ

    In following the link, I found that statement. I’ve read this before from Bill Johnson, and he repeats it in his children’s curriculum. I’ll relay the following story, Craig, and you can decide whether you want to share it or not. It speaks to this spiritual elitism and the dire results for people who are seduced by it.

    When I was mixed up in the WOF teachings, I had a friend who I believed to be a “born-again” Christian approach me about becoming involved with a Healing Room (IHR) that she was going to be running. I went through the first part of the training, kind of shrugging off all the red flags. Fortunately, we have a Heavenly Father who is unwilling that we “shrug off” His warnings, and He used a number of events to correct me from the error (that is a different story altogether).

    Anyway, this woman returned from her final “initiation” in Spokane, Washington. She was all excited and had this great prophetic word that had been spoken over her that she wanted everyone to hear (it had been recorded!). By this time, I was understanding that I would not be involved in any way with the IHR and was looking for an opportunity to share what I had come to understand through the Word of God with her. I was blissfully ignorant of the devices of the enemy.

    When I finally connected with her, she wasted no time in giving me the verbatim of the “prophecy”. As I didn’t attend any meetings from that point on, I missed out on actually hearing the tape, although I did learn that it was played publically. It was “prophesied” over her that she would raise the dead and bring many to healing. It was also “prophesied” that she would encounter a “spirit of jealousy” when she returned, led by the enemy, which would try to undo this great “ministry”.

    So this puffed up woman, believing herself to be walking in some kind of amazing anointing, absolutely would not hear any of the people who loved her who began calling into question the falsehoods. We were a part of the “spirit of jealousy” of the “enemy” who were trying to oppose her. Do you see how she was manipulated? She could not be challenged through the Word of God (even an old pastor of hers tried to lead her back), because our words were doing nothing but fulfilling this amazing “prophecy” spoken over her. It is the same form of “against the anointing” that Bill Johnson preaches to the same effect. What this woman will never know is how she was wept over as I and others saw her fall from the truth of scripture into the realm of darkness. She cannot/will not state that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, although I believe that she at one time may have known that truth. She has taken the hand of demons, and is actively serving the kingdom of darkness to pull as many souls out of the Word of God as she can.

    The only true anointing that the enemy is against is the one that convicts a person as to the truth of the Word of God.

  329. Maria Billingsley says:

    just1ofhis

    you said…She cannot/will not state that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh

    How could she raise the dead or heal if she does not believe that Christ came in the flesh? What does she believe? Curious….. for this criteria is exactly the testimony one needs to receive the Holy Spirit and the gifts there of.

  330. just1ofhis says:

    Maria,

    As far as I know, not a single person has been healed in truth in that Healing Room. There are people who have claimed “relief” from pain and “emotional healing”. I am aware of many return customers who return over and over again for prayer (which points to no healing actually going on). I would qualify this: that I believe there are false signs and wonders; and even if they did have actual healing, it would not be anything more than part of a powerful deception.

    She believes that she is “anointed” with a “gift” of “healing” in “jesus” name. If you are healed when she prays for you, it is because of her gift. If you are not, it is because of your lack of faith (not hers).

    She believes in a “jesus”, but not the Jesus Christ who is the Word of God made flesh. That is how I know it is the spirit of the anti-christ working in her. When this discussion came up (and I had believed her to be “born-again” prior to it), she could not state Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Why? Because she is deceived and walking hand in hand with the demonic realm. Demons will pervert the truth of Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. I have heard it twisted. But, they will not acknowledge it directly. I’m refering to a face to face contact with a person, where they are confronted with openly confessing this truth or not. Her “jesus” is a “son of god”, but “he” is not “god in the flesh”. Her “jesus” came into this world doing many miracles and even died on a cross; but “he” is not God in the flesh. This is a woman who told me that I could not learn about miracles from reading the Bible and needed to read all kinds of other material. So the truth of the Word of God is not what she loves.

    The way that I have understood this best is through 2 John. She is one who started out with true faith, but loved a lie more than the truth and ran ahead, past the truth, and away from the teachings of Jesus:

    “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. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 7-9)

    Remember, Jesus said that they come IN HIS NAME.

  331. Pingback: This is Jesus Culture. Beware. | Rooted & Relevant

  332. Steph says:

    …I apologize if this is offensive…

    You probably will respond to this and don’t be offended if I don’t respond. I happened to stumble upon this website and do pn’t care to debate or degrade anyone. It doesn’t accomplish anything but a waste of time. No debate ever won over anyone but it may have ruffled feathers or made a proud peacock. It’s Jesus who wins, influences and changes and we are not acting in the way he instructed. Therefore, it will be of no effect. Bless you in your future endeavors.

  333. Craig says:

    Steph,

    Don’t be offended if I seriously edit your comment and choose not to respond. With those of your mindset “[i]t doesn’t accomplish anything but a waste of time”.

  334. Steve says:

    Found this article looking for something else…

    Exposing false teachers is a good thing, but what we have here in the case with Bill Johnson is a man who’s heart and love for God is very evident. I don’t quite get how this article is glorifying God or even doing a service to Jesus who we will all meet in the end. I don’t follow Bill Johnson very closely mostly because I don’t view the Almighty in the same light but I have seen direct effects of his ministry and if we are judging by fruit, Jesus has used him to both directly and indirectly change millions of lives, I know of at least 3 first hand testimonies of deliverance and healing.

    This article is bordering calling Bill Johnson demon possessed when I do believe he is very much filled with the Holy Spirit. The Pharisee’s also called Jesus demon possessed in which Jesus responded, “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”. The Pharisees also got hung up on the small nuances of the word, but completely missed the heart of God” (Matt 12:32). The problem with the many different denominations is they believe God doesn’t go outside their box, when God very much will not be confined to your personal box, God doesn’t dwell inside man made houses and he certainly won’t dwell inside man made boxes (ref Acts 7).

    I have heard some anecdotal evidence of Bill Johnsons preaching leading to some weird stuff. Yes some people can take the spoken and written word of God and without confirmation of 2 or 3 witnesses go off on the deep end. This can happen to any ministry and shouldn’t be the baseline for accusations. Those people usually don’t have a good foundation and are essentially in it for themselves. They should be prayed for and restored to the body. If you feel that Bill Johnson has some sort of wrong teaching, then praying for their restoration will do one of two things, it will put a strain for change on their lives or it will put a strain for change on your life, but this is the proper course of action and puts the matter in God’s hand. If you are wrong in this account and you very much could be blinded by pride, then give it up to God through prayer and fasting.

  335. Craig says:

    Steve,

    You wrote: Exposing false teachers is a good thing, but what we have here in the case with Bill Johnson is a man who’s heart and love for God is very evident.

    How is it you KNOW his heart? Signs, wonders and purported miracles (including “healings”) are not necessarily indicative of a true Christian. In part two of this series we find:

    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 miraclesWe are reminded that signs and wonders can come from other sources other than GodIt is worth emphasizing, however, that one can never know with absolute certainty the spiritual state of any other individual.79

    Blomberg’s last statement works both ways: one cannot affirm with absolute certainty whether another is a Christian and one cannot affirm with absolute certainty that s/he is not. We must look at their ‘fruit’. Johnson’s ‘fruit’, as outlined above, should give us cause for concern.

    I note that you’ve not actually engaged in this article (part I) in your comments. Did Jesus really have “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” Did Jesus really not receive the “title” of Christ until just after John’s baptism, when the Spirit landed on Him as a dove? Wouldn’t this mean Jesus was not actually JESUS CHRIST before baptism; and, if so, just who was He before this event?

    Etc….

  336. Pingback: Heresy Alert!! Why Jesus Culture, Bethel Church, and Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry are Spiritually Dangerous (Part 2 of 3) | The Shepherd/Guardian

  337. mywordlikefire says:

    Reblogged this on My Word Like Fire and commented:
    There is a real problem with Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding Church. Here, from Crosswise, is an analysis of Bill Johnson’s Christology. Johnson’s foolish belief that we can gather truths from the New Age (see: The Physics of Heaven) can be better understood from the perspective of this well researched article.

  338. Kim says:

    Reblogged this on DiscernIt.

  339. Shawn says:

    Hi All,

    I wanted to share with you some of the research I have been putting into the “Sozo Prayer Ministry” that came out of Bethel church. Sozo has swept through the Church and caused a lot of confusion to many. I’ll be trying to get the final pages typed up and posted prior to November so please bear with me as I get organized on that front. The blog is here: http://biblehealing.wordpress.com/

    If you know of anyone that is concerned about a family member caught up in Bethel church or who is attending Sozo, please feel free to share with them.

    Thanks all and thank you to Craig for allowing me to share this on his site.

    Shawn

  340. Craig says:

    Thanks for your work on this, Shawn.

  341. Shawn says:

    Thanks Craig, hope you like it.

  342. Craig says:

    To the individual who just posted “Please read…” and then supplied a link to your own website, your comment was deleted, as per my “Before Commenting” instructions, which read:

    …Any comments containing only a weblink with no explanatory notes as to how or why it relates to the topic at hand may be summarily deleted, especially if it’s from your own website.

    If you wish to engage with the article, feel free to make a comment here. You may quote portions of this article, placing it within the comments section here, adding your own comments. Also, before commenting you should read the information hyperlinked in the following portion of the article:

    In essence, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, a recognized “apostle” by some, teaches that at conception, or at least prior to the Virgin Birth, Jesus divested Himself of all His divine attributes thereby living a sinless earthly existence by being totally reliant upon the Holy Spirit while receiving the power to do miracles at His baptism. This divine self-emptying is known as the kenosis doctrine as discussed here

    The very last hyperlink goes to an article on the kenosis theory, the most extreme of which makes the claim that Jesus possessed no divine powers while Incarnate. This belief is heretical, as being divested of divine properties means being no longer divine. As an analogy, if you were to somehow have the ability to divest yourself of your human properties, would you still be human?

  343. Joel says:

    Craig, thanks for the instructions. I certainly want to obey your rules for posting. My response is in contrast the the majority opinion on this website about Bill Johnson’s teachings. It shows you the BIBLE verses that pertain exactly this this theology, which is 100% biblical, in fact to twist these bible verses to fit any other theology is a perversion of the bible, and should be thought of as heretical, in my humble opinion, but really read them, and ask Holy Spirit to give you revelation – don’t take my word for it :) Yet It is clear to me that my view point is supported from verses like:
    Philipians 2:6-11
    Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his
    own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the
    highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue
    acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philipian 2:6-11 NIV).

    and Hebrews 5:8-10
    Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek .

    I took the time to copy-paste this article and inline my comments directly into the article on this webpage. Please, feel free to read it, if you want to be accurate as to the semantics of the bible.
    Thank you and may God bless you, keep you, make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you, and lift his countenance upon you and give you peace.

    Blessings,
    Joel

    http://www.olordgod.com/cms/index.php/topical-verses/65-response-to-bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-i

  344. Craig says:

    Joel,

    I skimmed through your post yesterday, yet I’ve no desire to continue to do so, going back and forth from your site to here. If you wish to engage the article on CrossWise point to point using multiple comments as part of a ‘discussion,’ feel free. However, I need to set this straight from the outset: the view you are propounding, based upon your (faulty) understanding of these Scriptures is heretical. And, with all due respect it is you perverting the Scriptures, contrary to the Truth that has been handed down over the centuries.

    First of all, the two-part article I reference above titled “Kenosis, Christology, and Bill Johnson” explains the Philippians passage; so, I won’t go into that in detail. Suffice to say that it does not mean that the Word, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity, divested Himself of ANY divine attributes in becoming the incarnate Jesus Christ. They were ‘veiled’ under His flesh, for the glory of God would be too much for mere man to behold (as no one can see God and live; cf. Exodus 33:20; John 1:18, 6:46). If the Word somehow gave up any of His divine attributes for the Incarnation, then He would be less than God, and hence not God at all. You seem to be suggesting that the Word WAS fully God pre-incarnate, became less than God for the entirety of the Incarnation, then reattained Godhead at the Cross or Resurrection. There are many problems that obtain with this view.

    If Jesus was not fully God, then how did He get to be God once again? I’m reminded of what I wrote in a book review:

    In his own essay, Evans promotes an ontological kenosis such that the claim is that if God is omnipotent then to be so necessarily means He should be able to forego His omnipotence. Thinking this through, Evans rightly claims, “If he has given up omnipotence, he cannot use omnipotence to get it back” (p 213). Excellent point. Evans, however, explains, “That is why the glorification of the Son is described by Scripture as accomplished by the power of the Father” (p 213). While I don’t believe this can be backed up Biblically, there are other problems with this view. Both John 2:19 and 10:17-18 indicate that Jesus was in fact omnipotent as He raised Himself on the Third Day. [In fact, the entire Trinity was involved in the Resurrection as other Scripture attests.] Moreover, John 2:11 makes the explicit claim that Jesus performed the miracle at Cana by His own inherent powers which “thus revealed his glory”.

    Now, regarding Hebrews 5:8-10: please note that the author of Hebrews uses the same word “perfect” (Greek τελειόω, teleioō) in verse 2:10, which is better understood, however, as “complete.” Jesus Himself used this verb (in the Greek perfect tense) on the Cross in John 19:30 to indicate that His work was complete: τετέλεσται (tetelestai) – “it is finished,” or “it is completed,” or, less satisfactorily, “it is perfected.” Actually, a better translation of this verbal form is “it stands completed,” or “it stands finished.” This is essentially what the writer of Hebrews refers to in 5:9, i.e. once Jesus was “perfected” on the Cross, His mission to become our Savior was complete.

    You should do a study of what is called the hypostatic union, that is, the union of the two natures of Jesus Christ – His eternal divine nature, and His human nature. See the following:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/hypostatic-union.html

    http://carm.org/dictionary-hypostatic-union

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/what-is-the-hypostatic-union

  345. Joel says:

    Craig,

    The article you reference states in reference to Phil 2:7:
    “definition of kenosis in which Jesus’ divine attributes were “veiled” under flesh” and further states: Kenosis comes from the Greek verb transliterated kenoo rendered “to make empty” [Phil 2:7]; “destroy;” “render void, of no effect” [I Cor 1:17, 9:15; Romans 4:14]; “deprive of (its) justification” [2 Cor 9:3].1

    Bill Johnson has never, to my knowledge, preached or written that Jesus is/was NOT God in the triunity nature of God. So, why do you construe his words like “laying aside His divinity” and “He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.” to be sacrilegious or heretical? In your own definition, “veiled”, “to make empty”, “destroy”, “render void, of no effect” are all semantically equivalent to “laying aside His divinity” .

    Do you claim to know the mystery of the very act of humbling yourself as God to become man?
    Like being able to explain the virgin birth… These are divine phenomenons – left unexplained until we see God face-to-face I’d imagine.

    Anyhow, the N.T. is filled with statements like “today I call you my Son”, “I only speak what the Father tells me to speak”, or “He is in me and I am in Him” .. Clearly Jesus was dependent on Father God, and Holy Spirit for His power, and Jesus had to “learn obedience to the cross” (these are FACTS as stated in the bible). Why do you think Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness to start his ministry?

    Thanks for considering my view point. Remember Love covers all. “If I … can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing”. So in a spirit of brotherly love I offer my opinions to you to pray about and consider.

    Blessings to you.

    Joel

  346. Craig says:

    Joel,

    If you continue reading this article, you’ll find that the word ‘kenoo’ (actually, should be kenoō – I should correct it) is best understood as metaphorical and not literal. Here’s one Bill Johnson quote not used in this article:

    Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7). While He is eternally God, He chose to live within the restrictions of a man who had no sin and was empowered by the Holy Spirit…

    Here Johnson clearly intends a literal self-emptying. I’ll ask a rhetorical question to make an analogy: If (per impossible) you were to ‘empty yourself of humanity,’ would you remain human? And from the same work as above Johnson states the same thing essentially:

    …While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Philippians 2:7). It is vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God…

    Johnson has bifurcated the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity into deity in the eternal realm, but a human in the temporal realm. And this is the Manifest Sons of God heresy (see here.

    From a quote used in this article and part II of the article on kenosis:

    …Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’ He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us…Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…

    The above quote makes it crystal clear that Johnson’s Jesus did not have divine attributes to use, even if He wanted. Having no divine attributes implies being no longer divine/deity, i.e. no longer God.

    The examples you use in the paragraph quoting “I only speak what the Father tells me,” etc., are answerable by a proper understanding of the hypostatic union and the communication of attributes, as explained in this very article. You must take all of Scripture – as the Council which codified the Chalcedonian Defintion did in 451AD – in order to arrive at the Scriptural teachings on Jesus Christ. What about the first miracle (at Cana) which revealed Jesus’ glory (John 2:11)? What about Mark 4:35-41 (see kenosis article near the end)?

    Not sure what your point is about love covering all. Is it somehow unloving to point out false teaching – false teaching as per historic orthodox Christianity?

  347. Joel says:

    John 2:11 is after John 1:32-34 (after he received Holy Spirit power)
    I think the clearest and cleanest evidence of Jesus being a “man” in right relationship with God is by the mere fact that Jesus said he is “the way, the truth and the life”. And since he is the “way”, he sets an example for us to live by. He also plainly stated in John 13:15, and he says “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Now, if Jesus manifested his divine Godly power (during his time as a man walking), then what example could we possibly live up too. We wouldn’t have a chance. But as a man he was showing us how to “call on Him” and we’d have a helper – Holy Spirit, then we have divine power to do His will . Have you ever seen anyone raised from the dead? Or blind eye’s opened? Acute Pneumonia healed in 1hr? Holy Spirit physical manifestations…etc. I have. And it’s all in the name of Jesus that these events happened. No glory what so ever to the observer, participant…etc, they happen when the disciple is a right relationship to our Lord Jesus.

    Love: Are you married? Kids? Do you minister the belt of shame and condemnation when they step out of line or do you teach them the Fathers love, and let them be motivated by their hearts to obey the Father? Do people feel heard or hurt by you? I’m saying this because your accusations are harsh, critical and divisive – Jesus taught us to Love one another, and win them over by our love for them. If you think you’ve got God/Jesus all figured out, then you have missed soooo much. Open your mind to the possibility that even non-believers can teach you something (yet put the filter of Jesus on them of course) – ask them questions and explore.

    We have a common love for Jesus. Focus on that, and if you are right in what you say to help win the more, you’ll be more effective in reaching their hearts and changing there minds. Let Holy Spirit lead… (Romans 8:5-10)

    And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal body because of his Spirit who lives in you; In other words, the LIFE IN YOU WILL BE THE TESTIMONY OF OUR LORD. Love, Smile, and rejoice, Jesus paid the price.

    Bless you,
    Joel

  348. Craig says:

    Joel,

    You must look at the context of John 2:11, as it clearly indicates it was Jesus’ intrinsic glory being revealed – not the Holy Spirit’s. Yes, John 1:32-34 is Jesus’ baptism; but, this does not necessarily mean that Jesus must have used Holy Spirit power each and every time He performed something miraculous. Moreover, John 2:19-22 illustrates, in Jesus’ own words, that He would raise Himself from the dead. And further, if Jesus only received supernatural power at His baptism, then how did He know to be about His Father’s business/house as a twelve year old?

    Your questions about witnessing the miraculous are an example of the tail wagging the dog. Supernatural workings are not necessarily indicative of God’s work. Pharoah’s magicians were able to do miracles (Exodus 7), Satan was able to inflict all sorts of things against Job (with God’s permission), and the Apostle Paul states that Satan will deceive many by signs and wonders (2 Thess 2:9-12).

    You wrote, I think the clearest and cleanest evidence of Jesus being a “man” in right relationship with God is by the mere fact that Jesus said he is “the way, the truth and the life”. And since he is the “way”, he sets an example for us to live by…

    No, that’s NOT a correct interpretation of that verse! Jesus is the only way to the Father by His sacrifice on the Cross (see John 6:35, 10:9); this verse does not mean that Jesus is providing an example of how to live in order to be ‘in right relationship’ with the Father. The “life” portion of this verse applies to eternal life, not earthly life. Yet, yes, Jesus does provide an example in certain ways; but, Jesus was the one, unique God-man, the one sent to pay for the sins of mankind. The only way to the Father is belief in Jesus Christ: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

    You wrote, …He also plainly stated in John 13:15, and he says “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Now, if Jesus manifested his divine Godly power (during his time as a man walking), then what example could we possibly live up too. We wouldn’t have a chance. But as a man he was showing us how to “call on Him” and we’d have a helper – Holy Spirit, then we have divine power to do His will…

    In context, John 13:15 is about Jesus washing the disciples feet; the point is that Jesus is providing the example of servant leadership, which is precisely the thing Paul is using in Philippians 2, as he prefaces the kenosis passage thus:

    Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

    5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (NIV)

    In fact, the NIV subtitles this section “IMITATING CHRIST’S HUMILITY.”

    As to Matt 5:48, the context is about being perfect in love, which we can only be by the power of the Holy Spirit. But, this doesn’t mean that Jesus could only have been perfect with the Holy Spirit. Joel, you need to do a proper study on the hypostatic union and communication of attributes – things Johnson does not teach.

    You comments on love seem to leave out the fact the God Himself “disciplines those whom He loves” (Heb 12:7-11).

    You wrote, …If you think you’ve got God/Jesus all figured out, then you have missed soooo much. Open your mind to the possibility that even non-believers can teach you something (yet put the filter of Jesus on them of course) – ask them questions and explore.

    I’ve not said I’ve got God/Jesus all figured out; in fact, I make note of this most especially in part II, quoting 1 Tim. 3:16. Yet, it seems you are the one who has things all figured out nice and tidy, while criticising me. You’d do well to study the early Church Councils and how others have historically understood the Person of Christ before you so quickly agree with the teachings of Bill Johnson and others of his ilk.

    You wrote, We have a common love for Jesus. Focus on that… Yes, but it is of utmost importance to truly understand who He is. Johnson’s portrayal of Jesus, and your understanding as well, are not very far from the New Age version. This “Jesus” does not provide salvation, as it is “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4).

    My suggestion is that you read slowly, and in its entirety, the two-part kenosis article, then seek out other material to see what Christian orthodoxy has taught over the centuries on Christology.

  349. Craig says:

    Joel,

    You wrote, …I’m saying this because your accusations are harsh, critical and divisive – Jesus taught us to Love one another, and win them over by our love for them…

    While I do my best to maintain a neutral tone when writing, I’m aware that it can be difficult to ‘read’ someone else’s tone. I’ll agree my words are critical, as in making a critique, but I don’t intend them being hyper-critical. “Divisive”? – well, I suppose that someone, like you, who agrees with Johnson (contrary to what’s been historically believed and taught) would find this divisive.

    But, I’ll ask you this re: love. Is it unloving to warn the unknowing pedestrian of a car that is speeding up behind them? It is unloving to warn of impending bad weather? Well, of course it isn’t. Just like warning about teachers of false doctrine.

  350. Joel says:

    Craig,

    God has gifted you with an amazing brain, and ability to
    see the details in His word. I praise you for earnestly seeking
    the truth, and aspiring to know God in the purest form. I see
    this in you, and I can earnestly relate to you.

    I know this, because, I too was in your shoes. I came
    from a “Calvary Church” background. Very by the book. I
    was very legalistic in this sense. So, perhaps you can relate
    to what I’m about to say. As I pursued the truth, I realized
    that most of the folks around me where not walking “truthfully”
    with the word. I kindly pointed out all their faults, and
    accused them. I truly alienated the ones I loved, instead
    of doing the very thing I intended to do which was want
    to love them by showing/teaching them the truth. Yet, when
    I turned inward, I really saw my own hypocrisy. I was prideful,
    arrogant, and self-righteous and not actually living a life of
    freedom in the Lord. I felt depressed, and I was alienated from
    my children and wife. I didn’t understand them, and nor
    did they understand me. I was sad, and I tended to write it
    off as if I was suffering for the Lord. I also tended to justify
    the hypocrisy in me as it’s OK, no body is “perfect”. Truth is, that
    I was powerless. I knew the head-knowledge, but not the heart. I
    really didn’t know how to love one-another. And He teaches, that
    though we have “faith” to move a mountain, if we have not Love then
    our faith is “worthless”. So, the truth is, the Lord
    wanted to teach me to LOVE my neighbor, having healthy boundaries,
    and not engaging in SIN at any level. The Lord also teaches
    us to be “perfect” in a sense that we don’t have ANY sin in us.
    How is this done? Well, by having Jesus “in me” and in the
    power of Holy Spirit. Question for you. If you see a passed
    out drunk in the street with a bottle of booze at his side, what
    do you do? Most might say (Actually most would really do nothing
    and walk away), preach a little to him about honoring
    God, and getting a job, and pray for him, and perhaps leave him
    a Bible, and justify this by saying if he really wants to know
    God he will wake up oh sleeper and “choose” to seek the truth.
    This is all good, but somewhat in effective. Jesus teaches us
    in the good Samaritan to pick him up off the ground and take
    him to the “inn” (hospital, or some would say the church) and
    as such become engaged in his life. We actually get down on
    our hands and knees, and feel this mans pain. God LOVES this
    man intensely. Do you? or do you feel like he should be condemned
    for the sins he has committed. If you truly answer this question
    in your own heart, you’ll see the “inner” you. Over the past
    5 years now, we (my wife and I) have invited the homeless, poor
    and prostitutes into our homes to teach them the ways of the Lord.
    Every day I’m up seeking the Lords face in prayer, worship and study,
    before I begin my day. I seek Jesus with all my strength. I call
    on his name in every situation. From what I can see
    about your criticisms of Bill Johnson, is that you think he
    is a false teacher, and quite possible some form of the anti-christ.
    I appreciate your “warning” and wanting to pull me back from
    a car accident. But truthfully, I have examined and scrutinized His
    teachings as a Berean, and yet, I still believe that Holy Spirit
    has lead me to Bethel, Redding, to learn how to be Spirit Lead
    instead of lead by my flesh (my intellect, yet I do filter and
    always weigh any teachings against my knowledge of the Bible
    everything that is preached – that is wisdom).
    I guess my final point to you, is this: LEARN TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
    in the name of Jesus, and you will find enlightenment. Jesus’s deity
    being “veiled” or being “set aside”, is ridiculous to argue. You
    and I both know that Jesus was walking the earth as a man. Any
    biblical scholar will tell you this. The power of the Holy Spirit
    in your life, I’ll leave for you to answer inwardly. The assertion
    that Bill teaches some “New Age” theology, is wrong, and a lie.
    We have never, not once, prayed to anything/anyone other
    than Jesus, and we in fact, practice Romans 8:5-11, by meditating
    on the word, and calling on Jesus to continually baptize with
    Holy Spirit power – the same power that raised Jesus from the dead
    and the same power he gave us to make disciples of all nations.
    Without it we are powerless; and would be subject to much frustration
    depression.

    This will be my last word on this, sorry. So consider
    this a kind, loving and humble rebuke of your teachings.
    Bless you my friend, and go in the peace of Jesus.

    With Love,
    Joel

    1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister

    Romans 8:5-11
    5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

    9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

  351. Craig says:

    You’ve gone a bit off track; so, I’ll just let Jesus reply to that particular portion:

    6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you…” (ESV)

    You wrote, From what I can see about your criticisms of Bill Johnson, is that you think he is a false teacher, and quite possible some form of the anti-christ.

    Bill Johnson is propounding an antichristian doctrine by promoting “another Jesus,” aka, another (“anti”) Christ.

    You wrote, You and I both know that Jesus was walking the earth as a man. Any biblical scholar will tell you this.

    Any Biblical scholar who adheres to the full counsel of Scripture will assert that Jesus did, indeed, walk the earth as a man, but they will not stop there. Jesus was not merely a man, He was God in the flesh. He was fully man and fully God.

    You wrote, The assertion that Bill teaches some “New Age” theology, is wrong, and a lie. We have never, not once, prayed to anything/anyone other than Jesus…

    Ah, but which “Jesus” is being ‘preached’? THAT is the question. The New Age “Jesus” is merely a man who had the Christ/divine spark inside of Him, just like any man; but, He had the Christ Spirit (“Christ anointing” Johnson calls it) descend upon Him at Baptism, at which time He was ‘christed.’ This experience is open to anyone, according to the New Age (Neognostic) doctrine, since Jesus of Nazareth paved the way, being our example. That my friend, mirrors Bill Johnson’s “Jesus.” And, there other parallels, as this multi-part article lays out.

  352. iwtt says:

    From: Bethel Church and Christianity – I would ask the same question…1) Show me where in scripture this is a practice believers should participate in and 2) Which Jesus taught believers this…

    Many of us are aware of Beni Johnson’s doctrines of frequencies – and the parallels with New Age practices. And that Bethel meetings feature talks about the nature of sound and how it spiritually impacts us. Even demonstrations of sand patterns. Furthermore, Beni Johnson recently co-wrote a book “the Physics of Heaven” in which she shares “what they sense God is doing in the realms of sound, light, energy, vibrations, and quantum physics..”

    So it is no surprise that a recent Bethel missions trip to Los Angeles advertised a side trip for many to experience a “sound bath.” Apparently this is very popular in Yoga circles.

    Here’s how the purveyor of these sound baths describes it:

    “This is an unforgettable sound experience for those who seek deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and introspection. All Sound Baths are 60-minute sonic healing sessions that consist of 25 minutes of crystal bowls played live and the balance of the hour to integrate the sound and relax in the sound chamber to recorded music.

    You will be resting comfortably in the deeply resonant, multi-wave sound chamber while a sequence of quartz crystal singing bowls are played, each one keyed to the energy centers or chakras of the body, where sound is nutrition for the nervous system. The results are waves of peace, heightened awareness, and relaxation of the mind and body.”

    The lust and desire for more mystical experiences is fed, yes even taught, by Bethel Co-Pastor Beni Johnson. Under the doctrine of recovering what the devil stole from the church, they have gone totally New Age. Said one Bethilte to another – discussing the sound bath: “Hope it was as magical for you as it was for me!” No wonder the locals in Redding call BSSM the “Harry Potter School.”

  353. pnissila says:

    And they go further and further and further away from Truth.

    Donna, Desi, Joby and family, should you read this: I will not stop praying that you “come out of her”.

    Phyllis

  354. Craig says:

    BTW, the term “chakra” refers to so-called ‘energy points’ in the body, and comes from Hinduism and tantric yoga. It is somewhat similar to the Jewish mystical Kabbalah.

  355. IWTT – This is witchcraft, plain and simple. I posted a video a while back with a witch performing just such a ceremony with bowls…and she was proud to be a witch. One thing leads to another in witchcraft…rituals. I saw a book out by Mark Batterson, being advertised on the Bible Gateway site. His first book on the subject was “The Circle Maker”. His more recent one is “Praying circles around your children”….oh ya…pure witchcraft!

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