Round the Mulberry Bush with Bill Johnson

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
so early in the morning.

Yesterday evening a storm came through knocking out electrical power in the immediate area from just after 5pm until about 1:15 this morning.  No air conditioning.  No computer.  With the growing stuffiness, I had opened some windows to get some air flowing and therefore was rudely awakened by the sound of the condensing unit kicking on which is just outside my bedroom.  But, hey, at least I had air conditioning!  So, I closed all the windows and decided to check emails.  There was one showing a new Facebook quote of Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA.  Just a bit later, another individual sent the same quote plus one other.

“Here we go again,” I said to myself.  “Maybe I’m still half asleep and this is merely a dream,” I hoped.  But, alas, these emails were still in my inbox when I got up just after dawn.  Here are the two statements:

If Jesus Christ performed His earthly miracles as God, I stand amazed. But if He did them as a man dependent on God, I am compelled to follow His lead. [Bill Johnson, Facebook, August 11, 2012]

Jesus is God, eternally God, and never stopped being God. But He was also man, completely man. In His earthly life He lived from His humanity to illustrate dependence on the Father in a way that could be emulated. Jesus said, “the Son of man can do nothing of Himself . . .” illustrating His dependence. 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. [Bill Johnson, Facebook, August 11, 2012]

The first one is merely a reiteration of other similar statements Johnson has made to promote what I call his “Annie Get Your Gun” doctrine – ‘anything Jesus can do I can do better’ – based upon a faulty interpretation of the “greater things” in John 14:12.  This fallacy of Johnson (and other hyper-charismatics) has been covered in a previous article.

The second quote is a bit thornier.  It looks almost orthodox.  One could construe this as functional(ist) kenosis, i.e. that the divine Logos retained all divine attributes when He took on flesh at the virginal conception [this term is more accurate than “virgin birth”] yet He elected not to use any of His divine attributes during His earthly ministry, instead relying solely upon the Holy Spirit for all supernatural workings.  This view does not hold up under Biblical scrutiny, however (cf. John 2:11; John 5:21-22, 24-27; Mark 4:35-41, etc.).  [This will be covered in-depth in an article currently in the works.]

Note that Johnson uses “Son of man” in his partial quote of John 5:19, yet in this passage Jesus uses “Son” only.  It seems Johnson makes the common mistake of ascribing “ the Son of man” to Jesus to denote His humanity at the expense of His divinity.  He does this same thing in the following passage from one of his books:

Most all of the experiences of Jesus recorded in Scripture were prophetic examples of the realms in God that are made available to the believer. The Mount of Transfiguration raised the bar significantly on potential human experience…The overwhelming lesson in this story is that Jesus Christ, the Son of man, had the glory of God upon Him. Jesus’s face shone with God’s glory, similar to Moses’s after he came down from the mountain… [Face to Face with God 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL; p 200.  Emphasis in original.]

Notice how Johnson states that the “Son of man had the glory of God upon Him.”  Let’s be clear: Jesus Christ was/is God.  When the Word/Logos took on flesh at the virginal conception, He remained a divine ‘person’; He remained a part of the Trinity.  Jesus Christ is one divine person consisting in two natures – one divine and one human.   “Son of man” was Jesus’ favorite self-designation; but, He also called Himself “Son of God”.  Both titles refer to the one divine person of Jesus Christ.  “Son of man” was used in the Book of Daniel as a Messianic, prophetic passage – to refer to the coming Messiah (Daniel 7:11-14).  By the context, clearly this “Son of man” would be divine.

I’ve already pointed out the problems in Johnson’s assertion that Jesus had the glory of God upon Him at the Transfiguration [see “Transfiguration” section here]; however, they bear repeating.  During His earthly ministry Jesus was, as already noted, a fully divine person; therefore, it was His inherent glory which the Apostles glimpsed at the Transfiguration.  This was nothing like Moses’ experience on Mount Sinai, and we believers will not experience our own Transfiguration like Jesus.  This illustrates just how far Johnson wishes to go with his “greater works” theology.  To make this doctrine work, he must reduce Jesus to the level of a Spirit-filled man and simultaneously exalt man to the status of Jesus as exemplified in the NT.

But, what does John 5:19 actually say?  As with any text, one must place it within its proper context.  Here are the verses preceding:

16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

Jesus’ Equality with God

18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. [NASB]

“These things” in verse 16 refers to verses 1-15 including Jesus’: healing of the paralytic (v 8) and instructing the now healed man to “pick up his mat and walk” (vv 8, 11-15) – all on the Sabbath.  With Jesus’ statement that He is working as His Father is working (v 17), the Jews understood that Jesus was equating Himself with the Father.  This confounded their strict monotheistic viewpoint; therefore, they deemed this blasphemy wanting to kill Jesus as a result.

So, what does Jesus do in verse 19?  According to Johnson in the Facebook quote above, Jesus, in effect, backs down and states that He can do nothing at all without the Father’s help as He was “illustrating His dependence”, as if He was wholly incapable of doing anything apart from divine intervention from the Father or the Spirit, or choosing not to use His own divine capabilities.  Yet, of course, this does not fit the context.  Note how the NASB begins a new subsection title with verse 18 – “Jesus’ Equality with God”.

In proper context, Jesus, in verse 19 and following, is affirming the Jews’ assertion that He is “equal with God” since Jesus, the Son, is part of the Trinitarian Godhead with the Father.  Jesus claims He can actually “see” the Father (vv 19-20); therefore, His dependence here is as opposed to acting independently from the Father.  Jesus does not just ‘do His own thing’, as it were; He acts of His own divine power as He emulates His Father, following what He “sees”, in obedience. Contrary to Johnson, He is not reliant on the Father or Spirit – as in not having the ability in and of Himself or choosing not to use this ability– as the rest of the context makes clear:

19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. [NASB; emphasis added]

So, in continuing with this pericope, we see Jesus “gives life to whom He wishes” just like the Father (v 21); and, moreover, all judgment is left to the Son (v 22, 24-27).  This clearly illustrates Jesus used His inherent divine power as He was granting eternal life in the then present (v 24-25) indicating inaugurated eschatology, i.e. the Kingdom of God had already begun [cf. Craig S. Keener. The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volume One 2003, 1st Softcover Ed, 2010, Hendrickson, Peabody, MA; pp 650-652].

Marianne Meye Thompson does an excellent job describing the way in which Jesus receives “life” from the Father comparing this to Jesus’ “giving life” to believers and the way in which believers receive “life”:

…Unless Jesus’ life were granted to him from the Father, he would have no life; unless he came from the “living Father,” he would be unable to confer life.  The two assertions of this verse [v 21] offer analogous, although not parallel, affirmations about the way in which Jesus and the believer receive life.  Just as the Father has life and gives life to the Son, so the Son has life and gives life to those who have faith.  Jesus lives because of the Father’s determination that he should have life in himself (cf. 5:21, 24-27), even as believers live because of Jesus’ determination that they should have life.  There is a difference, however, for believers always have a mediated life, never “life in themselves.”  They cannot pass on their ‘life’ to others; they have no offspring or heirs.  If others live, it is because they receive the Father’s life through the Son.  Furthermore, although those who believe are said to become “children of God” who are “born of God” (John 1:12-13) or born “from above” by the power of the Spirit of God, the terminological distinction between them as children who are born of God and Jesus as the Son who comes from God remains. [Marianne Meye Thompson The God of the Gospel of John  2001, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI / Cambridge, UK; pp 79-80.  Emphasis in original.]

Jesus did not “give life” by the Holy Spirit and neither can we.  To paraphrase Thompson, Jesus “gives life to whom He wishes” by the divine authority conferred upon Him by the Father; yet, it is of His own inherent divine power that Jesus confers eternal life to those individuals who have faith.

Craig Blomberg notes that there are two things Jews recognize that God continues to do on the Sabbath, namely, giving life (birth) and passing judgment (death) [The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel: Issues & Commentary 2001, InterVarsity, Downers Grove, IL; pp 112-114].  Jesus illustrates that He Himself does these very things so that the Jews may understand He is further equating Himself with God (vv 21-22 & 24-25; cf. John 9:39-41).  This indicates quite clearly that Jesus did not live his earthly life merely and solely “from His humanity” as Bill Johnson states above implying this is to the exclusion of utilizing His inherent divine attributes.

Note also that Jesus uses both Son of God (v 25) and Son of Man (v 27) for Himself (speaking in the third person) in this particular pericope.1  This illustrates that Jesus used these self-designations almost, if not wholly, interchangeably.2  Both refer to God in the flesh, i.e. the Person of Christ, including both His divine and human natures.

Here’s the bottom line.  Even if Bill Johnson comes out with an unambiguously orthodox Christological statement, this would not undo the unclear, contradictory, and flat-out false statements he’s made with respect to Christology.   There are many unclear statements such as the following which could be construed as either functional(ist) kenosis or ontological kenosis (the Logos divested Himself of certain or all divine attributes during His earthly ministry), in and of itself:

…Jesus set aside His divinity, choosing instead to live as a man completely dependent on God. [Face to Face; p 108]

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.]

And here’s one that is flat-out false.  An essential aspect of a divine Being is the possession of supernatural capabilities:

…He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! [When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles 2002, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 29]

Unless and until Bill Johnson both comes out with an unambiguous, orthodox statement and corrects all his other unorthodox statements I remain unconvinced that he actually intends on promoting orthodox Christology.  This would be a monumental task, for sure; however, “with God all things are possible” [Matthew 19:26].

[See also The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit and the series Bill Johnson's Christology: A New Age Christ?.]

1 I note that my NIV 1984 omits “of man” in v 27 (NASB capitalizes the “M”); however updated NIV translations (that I checked) contain it.  I’m assuming it was an error as it is in the original Greek.
2 Yet, there may be a very nuanced difference; see Herman Ridderbos The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary 1997, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 200-201, 92-93.

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19 Responses to Round the Mulberry Bush with Bill Johnson

  1. Craig Bridgforth says:

    Mr. Johnson sure is a slippery character. It appears that he is trying to set up the argument that we can emulate Jesus, that is, if He can do something, so can we. It sure sounds good but the Bible seems to contradict Mr. Johnson. First, “There is NONE good, no NOT ONE”. Second, for believers, “The Spirit is willing but, the flesh is weak” and “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth NO good thing” and “To will is present with me but how to perform that which is good I find not”. In fact, Jesus reminds us that a bad tree CANNOT produce good fruit and that a good tree CANNOT produce bad fruit. Furthermore, we were distinctly told that “By their fruits ye shall know them”.

    Our lives are a CONSTANT reminder that we are indeed by nature, a BAD tree!!! Unfortunately, pride gets in the way and what we soon discover is that the flesh will do ANYTHING to remain active and in control including serving God. We do ourselves a great favor when we recognize that God thought so highly of our ability to serve Him that He did NOT tell us to ask Him for help to live the christian life. Our God did the only thing He could do with creatures who were infested with sin, He placed us in Christ and crucified us with Him.

    To make sure that we understood our true sinful condition, He established the ordinance of baptism (our funeral service) so we could be CONSTANTLY reminded of who we really are. Our ONLY hope of living the christian life (much more so the doing of “mighty deeds”) is trusting the Lord Jesus to live through us (Galatians 2:20). All talk about being able to use Christ as an example to live up to and implying that such a life is possible if one engages in the latest fad of self actualization is foolishness of the highest order. Those who engage in such discourses and hold themselves out as the “enlightened ones” merely prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are merely deceived and are teaching the doctrines of demons.

  2. Bud Press says:

    Craig:

    You are right about Bill Johnson and his going around the “mulberry bush,” which is typical of false teachers, in that they are forever returning to the same place and making modifications to their “revelations from God”.

    As you well know, IF Johnson was hearing from the God of the Bible, he wouldn’t be running around in circles and playing damage control. He would trust God’s written word as his authority and convey it to his followers.

    Sadly, most of Bill Johnson’s followers can’t see how he has twisted Scripture, and don’t recall what he has said in the past. They have been conditioned to believe in and except what’s happening now, which keeps the doors of their minds open to “new revelations” that contradict the old revelations.

    I, too, would like to see Bill Johnson correct his false and misleading statements, and submit to solid, Bible-based council. Until then, I say to Johnson, If you are a Christian, repent.

    Good work, Craig. I pray that God will bless your efforts and use your material for His glory.

    Bud Press

  3. Arwen4CJ says:

    I agree — Johnson needs to clearly contradict his statements about Jesus giving up His divinity/deity that he has made elsewhere.

    He needs to explain HOW Jesus can both give up His deity AND remain God.

    I still think he is trying to appeal to anyone who will listen to him, like a chameleon. He wants to come off as being orthodox to everyone.

  4. Carolyn says:

    The Mulberry Bush…that’s a hard act to follow…we’re on a well worn path…

    Well, even if Bill Johnson tries to persuade us that Jesus was born to be our example, those that lived during his life on earth, for instance, the Pharisees, knew that he was making himself equal with God, which due to their jealous lust for power, made them furious. Given, Christ’s own statements about himself, I would be walking in fear of the wrath of God if I were Johnson. He is treading on ground that reminds me of the kind of reaction that Peter got from his earthly thinking:
    Matthew 16:21-23 (King James Version)
    21From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
    22Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
    23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

    Good thoughts Craig. It puts us back in the realm of understanding the real Christ who worked as a unit with the Father and the Holy Spirit, to bring redemption to mankind not as an example to follow so that we can take one verse out of context and do some “greater works” that our imaginative, power hungry, earth-centred senses crave.

  5. Carolyn says:

    This idea of greater works that has lodged as a stronghold (belief) in the brains of those who follow false teachers need to take a second or third look at the overall context of the NT. As a firm believer, myself, at one time, in the concept of “greater works than these shall you do”, I have since repented as the reality of the Word of Life has set in and broken this stronghold.

    Bill Johnson will be worthy of greater judgement according to Scriptures, because he has presumed to be a teacher, has led many off the path of orthodoxy, bringing his disciples into
    an occult realm with greater and greater deceptions and lying wonders.

    Quote from above: Furthermore, although those who believe are said to become “children of God” who are “born of God” (John 1:12-13) or born “from above” by the power of the Spirit of God, the terminological distinction between them as children who are born of God and Jesus as the Son who comes from God remains. [Marianne Meye Thompson The God of the Gospel of John 2001, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI / Cambridge, UK; pp 79-80. Emphasis in original.]

    We are not given the liberty to interpret the Word privately, as false teachers, BJ, being one of them, are doing. If the Word is added to or subtracted from, as it stands, we will be worthy of condemnation, as clearly stated in Revelation. It’s not a matter of “rising to some level of spiritual development…it’s a matter of DNA, the code that writes our origins. Christ’s origins were from old, The Ancient of Days, the Son of Man, the Eternal God. Doesn’t make any sense for us to try to emulate him. We’ll never get there. The divine spark is a lie. We are born in sin and shaped in iniquity and no imaginative shape-shifting is gonna change that.

    I’m not waiting for Heaven to brought to earth. I’m waiting for this body to be transformed and brought to my heavenly home. That’s the gospel that I believe in, cause it’s in the Bible!

  6. Issic Balbir Singh says:

    Came across the following status and am persuaded to comment on it:

    “If Jesus Christ performed His earthly miracles as God, I stand amazed. But if He did them as a man dependent on God, I am compelled to follow His lead.” – Bill Johnson

    Apparently, there is something seriously wrong with the kind of theology and doctrine that emerges from here. Does Bill Johnson mean to suggest that Jesus as man on this earth was somewhat devoid of His Divinity? And does he mean that if he were given the choice between Jesus as God and Jesus as man, he would be more impressed and compelled to follow the “man” Jesus rather than the “God” Jesus?

    This is questionable doctrine and theology as it sows the ever so subtle seed of distinction between Jesus’ divine and human attributes. This kind of doctrine lowers the level of Christ and makes him equal to us. John 10:30 says: “I and my Father are one.” If Jesus’ divinity is separate from his human attributes, then I am afraid that only a man shed his blood for me and died for my sins. I don’t know if I would be saved in that case. Jesus was, is and always will be God and if at any point in time his existence was devoid of His divinity, then he loses His right to be God in the first place. Jesus in His incarnation never separated from His Deity. If this were true, we have no hope.

    Philippians 2:5-10: 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being IN THE FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to BE EQUAL WITH GOD: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. (Emphasis mine)

    This whole distinction takes the focus away from God and places it only on his attributes as a man. No wonder, this kind of gospel is a “man-centered” and a different gospel that is preached by the proponents of Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation and their ilk of dominion theologians. Have we not been already warned against false doctrines and false preachers in the Bible? It is very sad that those who do read the Word of God still get sucked into error. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.

    Evidently, people like Bill Johnson focus on the ‘earthly miracles’ or ‘experiences’. Is it not very interesting to note that when he says, “But if He did them as a man dependent on God, I am compelled to follow His lead”, he is very subtly indoctrinating the idea of following a leader who performs miracles? By the way, there are reports of unedifying and strange miracles like ‘gold-dust’ appearing in his church, Bethel Church, Redding. I am not surprised, with the kind of teaching taught in his church and associated churches, he commands a great following. Wouldn’t it warrant us well if we were not to follow God just because of His ‘eartly miracles’ but because HE IS GOD IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    I have been praying earnestly for my family members, relatives and friends so that they can separate themselves from these kind of fallacious doctrines in these last days and return to the pure and wholesome Word of God. There is a lot of error in the so-called christian circles today and we are warned to be watchful and vigilant. This is definitely a manifestation of apostasy leading to a one world religion of the last days. This is just the tip of an iceberg.

  7. Craig says:

    Issic,

    All very good points! Read more here and I believe you’ll find even more evidence of all that you’ve mentioned. I’ve been reading/researching Bill Johnson for about 2 years now.

    The Philippians passage you cite is the very one kenoticists use to claim Jesus was somehow less than fully divine (yet most claim He’s still God even so). See here:

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

    Prayer is key to getting individuals away from the growing apostasy in what I feel are the last of these last days.

  8. Brenda says:

    And what about Col 2:9 “For in Him all the fullness of Diety dwells in bodily form.” I may not completely understand how Jesus is both fully God and fully Man, but the Bible clearly teaches it; therefore, I absolutely believe it.

    Thanks for exposing these charlatans, Craig & all you wonderful commentators! Please LORD, lead them to submerse themselves in Thy Word that they might truly know Thee and the Power of Thine Resurrection. God Bless. ~Brenda 

  9. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Speaking of old English fairy tales…….here’s a great post about the occult nature of this year’s Olympics, including the opening “hymn” and the significance of the gnostic paganism so prominently featured in the pageantry…..

    “Exposing The New Age Influence Within English Hymn “Jerusalem” As Sung At London 2012 Games”

    http://www.watchmanforjesus.blogspot.com/

    or

    http://www.watchmanforjesus.blogspot.com/2012/08/exposing-new-age-influence-within.html#more

  10. Craig says:

    I think the text to Blake’s “Jerusalem” (or, more accurately, “And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time”) refers to British Israelism – the belief that the lost tribes of Israel reincarnated in WASP’s who will take dominion of the earth and proclaim the New Jerusalem. I’m not 100% certain, but I think I read that a while back.

    OK, here’s an article which speaks on this subject:

    http://www.seekgod.ca/identity.htm

  11. Craig says:

    A point implied in this article but not made explicit is the following. If we are to believe that Johnson is teaching functional(ist) kenosis – that Jesus Christ retained all divine attributes yet chose not to use them relying instead on the Holy Spirit – then, certainly, His divine glory would have shown through at the Transfiguration. So, why did Johnson claim it was “the glory of God upon Him” rather than Jesus’ own inherent glory shown? Clearly, by the Biblical text (Matthew 7:2/Luke 9:29), this was more dramatic than Moses’ appearance coming down the Sinai

  12. henryfrueh says:

    Let him do what Jesus did and we will give him some credibility. Until then I guess we will have to bow to the supremecy of Scripture and not the supremecy of his interpretation.

  13. Craig says:

    Do you mean something like immediately stilling a “furious squall” by “rebuking the wind” with the words, “Quiet, be still” [Mark 4:35-41 (all quotes from NIV 1984)]? Or, turning water into wine [John 2:1-10] by which Jesus thereby revealed His own glory resulting in His disciples ‘putting their faith in Him’ [John 2:11]? Or, do you mean making Atonement for the sins of the world?

  14. Steve B. (omots) says:

    Wow! Thanks for the “Seek God” link on British Israelism Craig. Made my head spin noting how everything I’ve been seeing lately seems to all tie together.

    The old English nursery rhyme, “Here we go round the mulberry bush” is an appropriate theme song for today. It is particularly appropriate to Glastonbury Tor and the 2012 Olympics. As Blake wrote, “…the antiquities of every Nation under Heaven is no less sacred than that of the Jews.”

    The truth of course is much different. New age Glastonbury (Britian) is not the new Jerusalem, but in every way shape and form, a mirror image of the old Babylon..

    This excerpt from the Seek God article says it all:

    “The Druids are the priests, lawgivers, philosophers and mathematicians of Urizen, but by Jerusalem, “All things Begin & End in Albion’s Ancient Druid Rocky Shore”…’Was Britain the Primitive Seat of Patriarchal Religion?’ Blake asked, and straightway gave his answer: Patriarchal Druids originated in Britain and spread their doctrine far and wide, even to the oak-groves on the Plain of Mamre. ‘Your Ancestors,’ he told his readers, ‘derived their origin from Abraham, Heber, Shem and Noah, who were Druids, as the Druid Temples (which are Patriarchal Pillars and Oak Groves) over the whole Earth to witness to this day.’ And in a single phrase Blake takes us, and the Druids, back to a familiar landscape. ‘The Nature of my Work, ‘ he wrote, ‘is Visionary or Imaginative; it is an endeavour to Restore what the Ancients call’d the Golden Age.’”

    I am convinced this so-called “Golden Age”, or “New Age”, which was played up so prominently in the Olympic ceremonies, is an attempt to return to Eden (without God of course). But since those well armed Chrubims won’t give way anytime soon, we’ll just have to settle for a return to the next best thing, which is living under the bankrupt social and apostasy riddled conditions as they were just prior to the flood. No doubt there is already plenty of opportunity for those who would lead others astray.

    Jonathan Cahn’s “The Harbinger” reflects much of Armstong’s (WWCG) teachings of British/American Israelism, or “replacement theology” as noted in the Seek God article. Pat Robertson’s endorsement shows his druidic/masonic colors. While Armstrong concluded “that instead of applying the House of Israel prophecies to the Jews, one should apply them to the United States and what was then called the British Commonwealth…,” Cahn promotes a more dualistic view, namely that the prophetic word is directed equally to Israel and the British/US modern commonwealth. Two branches from the same tree, sharing the same covenant with God, or so Cahn says, (and by his endorsement, Pat Robertson agrees).

    I think this covenant nation/national repentance stuff is about to to be played up big time. Never let a good crisis go to waste, they say. What a great opportunity for signs and wonders promoters like Bill Johnson to attract new followers. What a great time to sell a couple million more volumes of “The Harbinger”. What a great time for arm chair pundits and TV preachers to strut their stuff.

    Lighthouse Trails has posted an excellent critical review of “The Harbinger” here. It is the best summation I have read yet:

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=9653

  15. Toby Fruth says:

    One thing for sure: God, by his very being God and all it entails, cannot ever be anyone else. Without beginning, without end, always and forever, God. Any other definition of God fails. If you are God, you can’t ever stop being God.

  16. Craig says:

    Amen, to that! But, this is where that doctrine of functional(ist) kenosis comes in. Does the claim that Jesus retained all divine powers while Incarnate yet choose not to exercise those powers (relying on the Holy Spririt instead by choice) contradict your stance that God cannot ever stop being God? Some argue that this functional(ist) kenosis doctrine does not violate divine immutability (God’s changelessness). I beg to differ, however; and, as pointed out, this doctrine violates Scripture.

  17. Craig says:

    In reading over some of the comments on another thread I see how there were those who questioned just what Johnson means by “divinity” – whether this is equated with the word “deity” or not. In reading this portion of the recent Facebook quote and keeping in mind Johnson’s full context:

    His limitations were in His humanity, not His divinity.

    …Johnson makes it clear that he equates the two terms. He already made the claim “Jesus is God, eternally God, and never stopped being God”, therefore, for Johnson, “divinity” indicates deity.

    So, again, how can he square this recent Facebook comment with the following?:

    …Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7).

    Given Johnson’s definition, by the context provided in the first quote of “divinity” as “deity”, we’ll just substitute one for the other in the second quote:

    …Jesus emptied Himself of deity [divinity] and became man (see Philippians 2:7).

    Then, continuing with this same quote:

    …Jesus emptied Himself of divinity/deity and became man (see Philippians 2:7). While He is eternally God/deity, 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.

    So, what we have is very likely a ‘start-stop-start’ deity, i.e. 1) the Word in His preincarnate state was deity/divinity; 2) when the Word was made flesh, He became a man devoid of deity/divinity; and, 3) at the Ascension (Resurrection?), He regained deity/divinity.

    So, going back to an earlier Facebook comment:

    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!” [Facebook 3/21/2011]

    Jesus was God in His preincarnate state (past tense); Jesus is God after the Ascension (Resurrection?) (present tense); but, during His earthly ministry (probably including post-Resurrection) Jesus was a man who “chose to live with self imposed restriction while living on earth in the flesh”, i.e. the choice to live in this restricted, non-deity state was made prior to His earthly, temporal existence. Hence, Jesus is “eternally God” while in the eternal realm, but temporally He is man devoid of divinity/deity.

    Now, going back to the Facebook quote in this particular article:

    Jesus is God, eternally God, and never stopped being God….

    This seems to indicate that Jesus both lived eternally as God while simulateously man on the earth, i.e., not one Jesus but two, in the Johnson view. This is either a blatant contradiction or Johnson views eternity as completely separate from the temporal realm.

    No matter how ya slice it, Johnson’s Christology is fatally flawed; it’s unorthodox.

  18. IWTT says:

    Amen… not sure how you can have others who have read the statements made come up with the same interpretations of the BJ statement and say they are unorthodox and othesr read it and say they are?

    Frankly, with the foundation of what is taught and preached at Bethel, seems that if that foundation is full of leaven so is their Christology, making it all un-orthodox.

  19. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Some have questioned what Johnson means by “divinity” in the phrases “He laid his divinity aside” and “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and came man”; yet, Johnson has made it clear that “divinty” = God / Godhead in this most recent Facebook quote. Now that we have that settled, to me, the question remaining is: How does Bill Johnson define “eternity”; and, additionally, how does Johnson view the relationship between the temporal and the eternal realms?

    Orthodoxy requires clarity. Johnson is, at best, unclear. Johnson is unorthodox in his Christology.

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