Book Review: Bill Johnson’s ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’

In his book, When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles [Treasure House/Destiny Image, 2003, Shippensburg, PA], Bill Johnson teaches New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) doctrine, a teaching denounced as heresy by the Assemblies of God (A/G) in 1948.  This teaching includes Dominionism – that Adam lost dominion of the world to Satan, Jesus won it back, and it’s up to the church to wrestle it from Satan [pp 31-33 (all page #s from 1st edition)].  Integral to NOLR doctrine is the Manifested Sons of God (MSoG) teaching which includes diminishing Jesus Christ to a mere man having surrendered His divinity when the Word became flesh (at the Incarnation) and subsequently re-attaining His deity at the Resurrection.  This is by virtue of the heretical kenosis doctrine (self-emptying) using Philippians 2:5-7 as a proof-text [pp 79, 85 fn. 3].

In “His self-imposed restriction to live as a man” [p 29], Johnson claims that Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” [p 29] clearly reducing Jesus to a man given that God is in very essence supernatural.  Even though Johnson makes the statement, “[w]hile He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He [sic?] was redeemed” [p 29] Johnson negates this with “He had No supernatural capabilities whatsoever” and “He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father…” [p 79].  One could construe Johnson’s “while He is 100 percent God” statement as present tense as opposed to past tense (i.e., during the Incarnation) especially in light of his numerous statements pronouncing Christ’s humanity at the expense of His deity including “the anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil” [p 79].

This diminution of Jesus Christ’s deity is crucial to MSoG doctrine as Jesus “became the model” [p 29] for all to follow “to do as He did and become as He was” [p 138] in order to attain our own divinity as fully manifested sons (and daughters) of God.  This glorification of mankind is spoken of by distorting I John 4:17, “As a sculptor looks at a model and fashions the clay into its likeness, so the Holy Spirit looks to the glorified Son and shapes us into His image.  As He is, so are we in this world” [p 145].  According to NOLR doctrine, Jesus can only return once the ‘church’ body receives this perfection as his tweet on August 20, 2011 illustrates: “Jesus is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head.”

Bill Johnson also claims that Jesus did not receive the title of Christ until His baptism by John in the Jordan [p 79] which is at odds with Luke 1:35/2:11.  And, while at the very beginning of chapter 7 he states correctly that “Christ” means “Anointed One” or “Messiah” [p 79], he subsequently changes “Christ” to mean simply “the anointing” – an anointing that all can receive [pp 80, 133-35] even describing it as tangible and transferable [p 135].  He is more explicit in his book Face to Face with God describing Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan as the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ [pp 21-22, 58, 77-80]: “The baptism of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him” [p 77, Face to Face].  To be clear, Johnson is referring to this as a second ‘baptism.’

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

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

Bill Johnson is leading many into apostasy and my heart grieves for these.  May the Lord have mercy upon us all.

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197 Responses to Book Review: Bill Johnson’s ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’

  1. Mary Lisec says:

    Craig,

    Thanks again for getting the information out.  Our two young adult sons are still involved with the local Vineyard and still being influenced by people like Bill Johnson.  Please lift up a prayer to God for them to be moved out of that church and movement into a more biblically grounded church and body of believers.  God bless your efforts.

    Mary

    ________________________________

  2. Craig says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about your sons’ involvement with this corrupted church. I’ll continue to share in your prayers.

  3. words of a foreinger says:

    Mary I will pray. I will pray that your children come to the Truth and nothing but the Truth.

    I came out of Vineyard church myself. It was exactly one year ago that I attended a school there called RED school, in which Johnson’s teachings were very very much taught. It took a few months for God to reveal the extreme error in that whole movement. But I remember clear as day, early on in that school, that the idea of being able to heal anyone anytime and if not than there is something wrong, I knew that idea and/or teaching wasn’t right. The Holy Spirit convicted me of a lot resulting from there, my pride for one, it was going through the roof with much I was being told how “anoited” and “special” I was. There is a lot more stuff He showed me, not just about myself but in general. After getting out I turned borderline cessasionist, I turned almost religious. Its easy to go straight the opposite way when you get out of all that, it messes with your head…

    God bless you!

  4. Steve says:

    My old Church here in Australia, “River of Life”, has completely gotten in bed with this false movement spread by Johnson and many others.
    The Church had been (since mid 90’s) one that justified any and all weirdness as “The Work of the Holy Spirit”. Thanks to websites like “Rapture Ready” and “Deception in the Church” I finally couldn’t take the rubbish anymore and left. Many others have too, but unfortunately it flourishes nevertheless. A sign of the apostate times we live in.
    I would like to say that there are well grounded Pentecostal churches out there, just keep away from the extreme ones.

  5. Dee Robinson says:

    This makes me sad. The word of God says youbwill know them by their love. Here we go judging and pointing the finger at a brother in the Lord. These things ought not to be. My guess is none of you have sat down with Bill Johnson, probably haven’t heard him speak let alone get to know what is in his heart. Sad part is we get judged in the same way we judge another. No wonder the world doesn’t want to have much to do with us. Jesus is our example..He hung out with the sinners and LOVED them…

    Bill Johnson, a man of great compassion and love with a heart that we should all want to be somewhat like….anyhow, shame on us…let’s learn to love one another, we don’t have to agree on every point to honor and love each other. Bill leads by example…hopefully the rest of us will do the same. We don’t need an enemy we have each other…that is sad.

    I am special by the way…not by my works but by His righteousness…He thought I was special enough to die for me. He delights in me, that makes me special. Knowing all this doesn’t fill me with pride it fills me with gratefulness, it humbles me that the King of Kings would do that for me. It compels me to live for Him with Everything inside me because my very life I owe him..He took my filthy rags and dressed me in His righteousness….when I realize what He has done…wow…He gave me beauty for ashes..great trade….

    Blessings on you….may you get to know my God….He loves…He is awesome, and is totally setting me free, which requires get responsibility on my part…He is a good God….

  6. Craig says:

    Dee,

    The thing that makes me sad is the folks who accept the sort of thing Johnson and others are promoting without testing the spirits as we are commanded to do.

    OK, where do I begin?

    You wrote, Here we go judging and pointing the finger at a brother in the Lord…Sad part is we get judged in the same way we judge another. So, first of all, you know Johnson is a ‘brother in the Lord’ while Scripture is clear that we can’t really know the heart of another but that we should look at the fruit (Matt 7:15-23); that there will be tares/weeds amongst the wheat (Matt 13:24-30)? Secondly, you claim that I am ‘judging’ Johnson while you simultaneously are hypocritically ‘judging’ me. It seems the finger is pointing right back at you. But, you miss the point of Matthew 7:1-6 which is about hypocritically judging. Perhaps you should read 1 Corinthians 5 in which Paul writes about how “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” – the very words Jesus used in referring to the false teachings of the Pharisess and Sadducees.

    12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” [1 Cor 5:12-13, NIV]

    My guess is none of you have sat down with Bill Johnson, probably haven’t heard him speak let alone get to know what is in his heart. I’d love to sit down with Johnson; but, the thing is, he doesn’t return questioning emails. It goes against his ‘culture of honor’ to actually dialogue with those who question his teachings. If you would read the rest of the info on this site, you’ll see that I not only have heard him speak (via his own ibethel and youtube videos), I’ve transcribed a number of his teachings exposing them as being faulty interpretations of Biblical truth.

    let’s learn to love one another, we don’t have to agree on every point to honor and love each other. You may want to read through the New Testament and take note of the many warnings against false prophets/teachers and their cunning ways. They look like the real deal, yet they are not.

    3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. [2 Cor 11:3-4; NIV]

    Perhaps you should research the New Order of the Latter Rain, see what this doctrine is, and then compare to what is being taught in hyper-charismatic churches.

    However, you are correct that Jesus bore our sins providing His righteousness to those of faith. Just don’t put your faith in a false teacher such as Bill Johnson. I pray you’ll look over the other information on this site and compare Johnson’s teachings with Biblical truth and see how they fall short. You would do well by beginning with the info hyperlinked in this very article.

    May God open your eyes to the deceptions so prevalent in the ‘church’.

  7. just1ofhis says:

    Dee,
    Consider Harold Camping for a moment instead of Bill Johnson as an example of someone holding up the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a misleading way. Camping led his followers to believe that he knew the date of the return of the LORD, even though scripture clearly states that NONE of us can know that date. Many brothers and sisters in the LORD reached out to Camping with the truth in scripture. As with Bill Johnson, he would not listen to them. He continued with his very public and very misleading twisting of the Gospel. Many people rebuked him in public forums such as this. Were they wrong? Based on your arguments, these people were judging and pointing the finger at him…all very unloving.

    I had a friend sit down at my dinner table and try to convince me as to the truth of Camping’s teaching. I argued back gently, but firmly, the truth as laid out in the Word of God. How utterly unloving of me. Maybe if I had kept my mouth shut, my friend would have sold his house, quit his job, and taken his family on the road like so many of Camping’s followers…pleading with people to repent before the LORD returned. Dee, Camping believes in Jesus Christ. BUT, he was adding to scripture and twisting it. So, how unloving of me to stand against this man’s false teachings.

    I would encourage you to do a search on Camping’s followers and see what has become of them. Many of them have fallen away from the truth of the Word of God, because they believe that Jesus “let them down”. I have heard of at least one suicide and read of first hand accounts of lives left in tatters. THAT makes me sad!

    I have dear friends who are messed up in Bill Johnson’s teachings. They have suffered through very difficult times in their lives and believe that the “victory” lies in Bethel, CA. I watch as they move further and further away from the truth of the Gospel…from the Word of God made flesh in Jesus Christ. When they become disappointed, because they are not seeing the results that Bill Johnson promises (health, wealth, etc.), they move even further away from the Word. One has confessed to barely being able to pick up her Bible anymore. Does this sound familiar to you? A bit like Harold Camping’s followers maybe?

    I am grateful to Craig and people like him who have the courage to speak out and keep speaking out, gently and firmly holding up the Word of God.

    And, I pray, Dee, that our Heavely Father would keep you safely in His Word….

    “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.

    (Bill Johnson does this when he claims that Jesus was merely a man walking with the anointing of the Holy Spirit given at His baptism…Jesus Christ in the flesh means the anointed one, the savior of the world, FROM CONCEPTION ON…God, in the flesh. Craig has made this point over and over again.)

    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;

    (the teaching of Christ….the Word of God…the Holy Bible…we MUST continue in this teaching)

    whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 7-9)

    BTW, Dee, the world doesn’t want to have much to do with us, because it doesn’t want to have much to do with Jesus Christ and the convicting truth of His Word. It hates us, because it first hated Him. I pray that you stick with God’s Word.

  8. Pingback: Manifested Sons of God (MSoG) teaching | eat the crumbs

  9. Bud Press says:

    Craig and just1ofhis:

    I appreciate your comments, but Dee Robinson will not take the time to read them. As such, she will not reply to your comments.

  10. Craig says:

    Bud,

    You may well be correct; but, there may be others who are reading this and would benefit.

  11. Dawn says:

    YES, reading and encouraged by the careful and considerate posts and responses to comments. Thanks for this. I will be referring others here–keen individuals in the churches in our small town are being drawn into Johnson’s appealing doctrines via parachurch Sch.of Supernatural teaching. Am encouraged by the comment above that the Holy Spirit is able to convict and reveal truth. Praying for various friends of ours too…Keep up the great work!

  12. rockstarkp says:

    Craig,
    Do you have a link to where “(NOLR) doctrine was denounced as heresy by the Assemblies of God (A/G) in 1948″

    Also, you quote Luke 1:35. Does that actually refute Johnson’s claim? I see how Luke 2:11 does, but not sure on the first one.
    Thanks.

  13. rockstarkp says:

    Never mind on the 1948 thing. I see how it’s buried deep in the link you provided.

  14. Craig says:

    OK, glad you found the A/G reference. Regarding Luke 1:35, I’ll quote Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology

    “There are especially five names [Jesus, Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, Lord] that…are partly descriptive of His natures, partly of His official position, and partly of the work for which He came into the world.”

    “…Christ is the official…name of the Messiah…Christ was set up or appointed to His offices from eternity, but historically His anointing took place when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Luke 1:35, and when He received the Holy Spirit, especially at the time of His baptism…It served to qualify Him for His great task…”

    Does that help?

  15. rockstarkp says:

    Yes. that Helps.

    Also, I found from the AG.org website, they footnote a 1949 denouncement of the Latter Rain.

    http://www.ag.org/top/beliefs/position_papers/pp_downloads/pp_endtime_revival.pdf

  16. Craig says:

    I was trying to find the actual position paper from ’49 but I’m unable at the moment.

  17. rockstarkp says:

    I might have found it…
    are you aware of this site?

    http://ifphc.org/

    Here’s a link to minutes from 1950. Description inside is NOLR.

  18. Craig says:

    I had forgotten about that site. But, IIRC, the actual document itself could be accessed for free on the ‘net in the past.

  19. Craig says:

    Yikes! In viewing the link to Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center site, I came across a video of John McConnell, Jr., purported founder of Earth Day [Mike Oppenheimer is a former member of the New Age Movement], who speaks about his Pentecostal heritage. (However, it is reported elsewhere that Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson instead.)

    http://agtv.ag.org/McConnell2009

    Folks, Earth Day is very clearly New Age in origin!

  20. Jeanne says:

    I blundered into a charismatic church at a difficult time but having a strong Bible background never was able to suspend critical judgment. and therefore was branded unteachable. I saw sincere but misguided people being deceived and deceiving by “another gospel.” I finally got off the crazy train and fled for my life back to historic Christianity. The church I left is now a Vineyard church. It was predictable. A little leaven…

  21. I.M Right says:

    I strongly disagree. God’s Word tells us not to persecute the church. What kind of so-called ‘Christians’ are you?You all want to follow the old religious law and traditions (which Christ has already set us free from)! I am a Bethel and Bill Johnson supporter 100%. I pray that your spirit will finally wake up and that you will not state God’s Word in the wrong context. Look at the big picture. Will your pointless intellectual thesis’ or theological papers get you to Heaven? No! Thank you for all your efforts, but what right do you have to judge Bethel church or Bill Johnson? None. Leave it up to God. No one has the right to condemn anyone because Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Know Brothers and Sisters, I still love you because Christ loves me. But, surely you should know not to judge or persecute the church or people. God Bless.
    Support the charismatic church now!

  22. Craig says:

    1) I, the writer of all these articles (the few exceptions are noted as such), have not persecuted or judged any person or ‘church’. I merely speak the truth about the faulty and dangerous doctrines espoused and propounded by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church. Speaking the truth is not judging or persecuting.

    2) You wrote, “What kind of so-called ‘Christians’ are you?” Given your apparent misunderstanding regarding the definitions of ‘judging’, ‘condemning’, and ‘persecuting’ that sounds a bit judgmental/condemning/persecuting, no?

    3) Which “old religious law and traditions” am I following exactly?

    4) Which part of God’s Word is in the wrong context?

    5) Entrance into heaven is via the acceptance of the true Gospel; nothing more, nothing less. Could you perhaps explain what you view as the Gospel message? Perhaps you could find one of Bill Johnson’s messages explicating the Gospel? I’ve looked for Johnson’s Gospel message and I cannot find it in the multitude of sermons I’ve heard, the books I’ve read, etc. The very few times I’ve heard it (or, more accurately, something approaching it), it had something else added to it. Perhaps you could find it in here:

    http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2009/12/23/jesus-is-our-model-sermon-of-the-week-20-dec-09/

    6) Given that, as you state using Romans 8:1, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, how could I condemn those who are truly in Christ? Do you think I have that kind of power? I assure you, I do not.

    7) I’m not in opposition to “the charismatic church” as all God’s people are given gifts “as he (the Holy Spirit) determines” [1 Cor 12:11, NIV 1984] – not as WE determine. However, I AM opposed to the abuses and spiritual danger of the hyper-charismatic “church”. Note that one of the gifts enumerated is “distinguishing between spirits” [1 Cor 12:10, NIV 1984].

    Perhaps you have no problem with Johnson claiming that Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!”, but I do since Jesus is/was God and, as deity, He most certainly had/has supernatural capabilities. Perhaps you have no problem with Johnson’s claim that Jesus did not receive the title of Christ until He was “smeared” by Holy Spirit when He descended upon Jesus as a dove, but I do [see Luke 2:11]. Also, I am “against the anointing” [see last paragraph of review] for the “anointing” is antichrist – not the other way around as Johnson asserts. Jesus Christ was/is not merely one ‘anointed’ among many; He was/is THE ANOINTED ONE. Jesus Christ did not receive the “Christ anointing”; He was/is the Christ, the Messiah, the one and only Savior from birth (or, more correctly, from the point of conception – see Luke 1:31-32,35). He is my Lord and Savior and I will earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints [Jude 3].

    Will you support the Jesus of Bill Johnson/Bethel or will you support the Jesus Christ of the Scriptures? Unfortunately, they are not one and the same.

  23. just1ofhis says:

    “I.M Right”

    R.U Sure?

    I would challenge you to carefully and with much prayer hold Bill Johnson’s teachings up against the truth in the Word of God which is Jesus Christ in the flesh. If you really love Jesus and are His in truth, than you would want to “test everything” against His Words. These very Words are what will condemn all of those who have taught a different “jesus”, not anything that Craig or I or anyone else has to say. Don’t believe me?

    “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.” (John 12:47-48)

  24. IWTT says:

    “…..but what right do you have to judge Bethel church or Bill Johnson?

    1 Corinthians 5:11-13
    English Standard Version (ESV)

    11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    ” I pray that your spirit will finally wake up and that you will not state God’s Word in the wrong context.

    As we shall pray, this very statement you made, for you. One of us is wrong. Maybe we should ask the Living Lord, since you are a 100% supporter of Bill Johnson and Bethel (surprised you put him/church Bethel above supporting 100% of the Lord) and the “signs and wonders” to show us through a “sign” which is wrong. Would you be bold enough to set aside your support of a man and man-made project to ask the Lord if there maybe some truth in what is written here?

    I’M Right, many of us have been there and done that. We know of what we speak…

    TJH

  25. Arwen4CJ says:

    I.M Right says,

    No one here is “persecuting” the church. In fact, everyone here would claim to be part of the church. Now, you may disagree that we are truly part of the church because we do not share your views. If that is the case, fine, but know that you would be using an unbiblical definition of what the church is.

    If we were truly persecuting the church, then we would be against Jesus and the gospel. We would be seeking to harm or kill believers. At the very least, we would be trying to make life difficult for those who follow Christ.

    If disagreeing with a theological view and speaking out against it or warning others about a particular teacher is “persecuting the church,” then we’d have to say that all the New Testament authors were persecuting the church. Why? Because just about every single book in the NT warns against false teachers, false doctrine, etc. We are supposed to guard our doctrine carefully. We are warned that as we get closer and closer to Jesus’ return that there will be more and more false teachers and false prophets.

    You may think that we are the ones who are following after false teachers and false doctrine because we disagree with Bill Johnson and the other big names in the hyper-charismatic movement. Clearly, that is what Bill Johnson and the others teach. They say that if we are against their teaching, then we have a religious spirit or an anti-christ spirit.

    Don’t you see, then, that there is a spiritual war going on? We can’t both be right. I really implore you to compare what Johnson and those like him really say with Scripture. These are dangerous times in which one thing may appear to be truth, but in reality it isn’t.

    No one here is claiming that they are made righteous by following the law or traditions. Paul didn’t say that there is no longer any law for us to follow. God’s moral standards still stand. We just don’t get into heaven by following them.

    Where has anyone here stated God’s word in the wrong context? Provide an example please.

    I believe that people post here because they love Jesus, and they love the church, and they don’t want to see anyone deceived or led astray.

    No one is condemning anyone to hell. We don’t get to make that decision. What we can say, though, is that Johnson’s doctrines do not seem to line up with Scripture, and that he appears to be preaching another gospel. At the very least, he is preaching extra-biblical teachings. Do we know where Bill Johnson is going for sure? No. However, quite a few of his teachings are alarming.

  26. busch42012 says:

    Craig,

    I just have to add my two cents re I.M RIGHT’s comment.

    As you know, I’ve compiled a lot of info about wolves, (the furry kind), in my work warning folks about the impacts and consequences of allowing these top tier predators to re-colonize America. I’ve been writing about this subject since 1995, but as a former green, I was aware of the whole evil agenda going back to 1976, because, in fact, I helped launch it.

    You have devoted many years to identifying and warning folks about the dangers of wolves (the human kind) in our churches. There are some very interesting corollaries that I would like to explore further.

    As I noted on my blog page in Living with Wolves Pt 3 – Wolves occupy whatever territory is available and will consume any prey species that exists. Wolf advocates (of both the human and furry kind) use deception and outright lies to tell us that good is really “evil” and evil is really “good”.

    Funny how we (the so-called “church”) have made so many of our fellowships a welcome place for two footed wolves at the very same time we have made our nation a welcome place for four footed wolves. But the fact is, neither type of wolf needs special privileges, protections, or a “hands off” approach in order to be a successful species. These creatures are exceptionally smart, opportunistic, highly adaptable, and ruthlessly relentless predators. Neither kind, the two footed, or four footed, has ever been in short supply, or “endangered”.

    A bible study on “wolves” is quite interesting. God often used predatory beasts to discipline and judge His people. He removed the beasts when people turned towards him in repentance. The soon coming rider on the pale horse of Revelation brings with him wild beasts and pestilence to cause death and destruction…

    Are we approaching the time for this rider to mount his steed? Does our nation deserve what’s coming? Does the so-called “church” deserve it? Me thinks so.

  27. Craig says:

    Well, I do believe I.M Right was a drive-by so I suppose we can say He B Gone. But, I do believe U R Right with the wolf comparisons.

  28. just1ofhis says:

    Interesting look at wolves! You can also learn a lot from a quick study of the viper in its various forms…the Temple Viper is a good one to start with. I believe the church has been infested with quite a few of these of late.

    Sheep (and ducks) have only one defense….flight.

    “Come out of her my people…”

  29. I.M Right says:

    From now on, whenever I say ‘we’ or ‘us’ or ‘our’, I am referring to the Bethel Church & it’s loving Community. The following may be quite long, but I think I have articulated it well and I recommend that you read it before you decide to comment:

    There have been many things written about Bethel Church and the movement that we have had the privilege of being a part of for more than three decades. Most of what has been said about us is positive. But a small, yet influential coalition of people has shared negative reports about us. These reports often include words such as “controversial,” “unbalanced,” or even the word “cult” to describe us. To be frank, I can understand why certain religious leaders or unbelievers might view us through these perspectives. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, both as a leadership team and those who follow us. And we have such a high value for freedom and risk that it has created a kind-of research and development culture where people are encouraged to take risks. I think this stems from the fact that we view ourselves much more as pioneers than settlers. Therefore, we celebrate creativity, revelation, invention and innovation above comfort, safety and security.

    This R&D culture has attracted some of the most wonderful and extraordinary individuals on the planet. Of course, we have also managed to draw some very broken and/or strange people. It’s important to remember that there are some really weird and broken people mentioned in the Bible who God used powerfully. Unique guys like John the Baptist, Ezekiel and Hosea come to mind as well as messed up people like Rahab and Samson. Bethel has chosen to be a family, and as such we do our best to love people wherever they’re at in life, regardless of their character, doctrine, political views or philosophical persuasions. Much like our natural families (whom we don’t get to choose), God often assigns people to be part of our spiritual family who, like Jacob, walk with a limp, so-to-speak, yet they still deserve to be loved. We work hard to try to understand these people although we sometimes don’t agree with their perspectives.

    These factors have combined to form one of the most extraordinary experiences in our history, and yet it’s also inspired many challenges. I have traced the majority of these challenges back to a few common themes. One of these themes is misunderstanding that are rooted in the way various people who hear our teachings apply them. Like any movement, be it spiritual, political or whatever, people often take what you say and practice it in a way you never dreamt of. Sometimes the things people do in the name of something we taught is hilarious, while other times it is downright stupid. I cringe when these misguided people quote us as the catalyst for their crazy exploits.

    Another major problem in our movement happens when people innocently take what we say out of context. This has happened to me, personally, on more occasions than I care to count. Many times someone will quote me on Facebook or post a YouTube video that is a two-minute clip of a half-hour-long talk I shared. It’s pretty hard to tell people you didn’t say that, but as with any conversation, the context often dictates the definition.

    On the other hand, there are always malicious people who work hard to deceive the masses by intentionally ignoring the context of our teaching to make some distorted point. I really don’t understand how these people live with themselves when they intentionally twist something we teach to deface our character, or undermine our ministry. Some people are so convinced that we are a cult that they are willing to sacrifice their own integrity “to keep people from going astray.” For example, we have had people write negative reviews about our books that they have never read, blog about the source of our income or how we spend our money that has NO semblance of truth in it. Disagreeing with someone is one thing, but lying to make your point is downright wrong.

    We really think it’s important to give people the freedom to disagree with what we teach or practice without feeling like they are being disloyal or dishonoring. We have strong feelings about certain subjects that are even contrary to what some of our good friends believe. But we don’t want to be right at the expense of being together. If Jesus only had relationships with people who were doctrinally perfect…well, Bill Johnson would be the only one He would be hanging out with. ☺

    There are a few subjects that come up over and over with people who are opposed to us or that misunderstand our position on certain issues. I thought I would try to clarify some of these issues for the people who truly care about our perspectives. I am not writing an exhaustive theological dissertation on each point to try and convince our detractors that we are right. I am simply trying to make it clear, in simple terms, what we believe and why.

    Signs, wonders and miracles seem to be a constant point of turmoil with people who oppose us. Some write about me, Bill Johnson or Bethel Church as if we were the originators of the idea that Christians should have a supernatural lifestyle. This is comical to me. People will often write something like, “Bill Johnson says,” and then go on to quote the Bible word for word. For example, it was Jesus who said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…these signs will accompany those who have believed in My name: they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover,” (Mark 16:16-18). We have no interest in picking up snakes or drinking poison…we don’t think that was Christ’s point. He was simply articulating that Believers have power over the demonic realm and over all the harmful elements that exist on this planet. When Christians supernaturally overcome sickness, disease or demons, it’s a sign that a superior Kingdom has been superimposed over an inferior world. Jesus went on to say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father,” (John 14:10-12). The exhortation, command and commission to do miracles, heal the sick and cast out demons is all throughout the New Testament. A supernatural lifestyle is articulated, demonstrated and replicated by Jesus and the apostles, as well as everyday Believers from the book of Matthew to the book of Revelation. Not only that, but miracles, in one form or another, have been a part of nearly every revival in Church history.

    So, I hope you had time to read that. God bless…

  30. Craig says:

    I.M Right,

    Thanks for coming back. However, from now on let’s keep the posts shorter (read my before you comment tab) by breaking up individual thoughts into more digestible chunks.

    I have read every word of your most recent comment; however, I note you’ve not addressed a single point I made earlier as a result of your first comment. Why not? Let me state this: I’m not going to allow you to use this opportunity to make vague and general accusations without some substance. In addition, I request that a subsequent post deal with the accusations made in your initial post – those which I’ve enumerated above at 10/10 9:05pm.

    I also note that you’ve not at all dealt with the real substance of this particular post – a book review of Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth. You wrote:

    …there are always malicious people who work hard to deceive the masses by intentionally ignoring the context of our teaching to make some distorted point. I really don’t understand how these people live with themselves when they intentionally twist something we teach to deface our character, or undermine our ministry. Some people are so convinced that we are a cult that they are willing to sacrifice their own integrity “to keep people from going astray.” For example, we have had people write negative reviews about our books that they have never read…

    Let’s discuss some particulars here. It is most definitely wrong to do the things you mention above. Please show me where this blog, CrossWise, has done this. I quote material with specific reference to the book/page#, etc. I have not only read the books I review and quote from, many sections I’ve read literally dozens of times in order to fully comprehend the meaning given its immediate and larger context. So, for the benefit of all, please show me any instance of this blog quoting out of context (in the appropriate blog post).

    Why the cryptic pseudonym if you’re in leadership at Bethel? Certainly, it would benefit the Bethel supporters reading here (and there are many) to know who you are. It would also benefit me and others who are critiquing Bethel by providing a point of reference. From the way you write and the information you provided, my guess is you are Kris Vallotton. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    You wrote: We really think it’s important to give people the freedom to disagree with what we teach or practice without feeling like they are being disloyal or dishonoring. We have strong feelings about certain subjects that are even contrary to what some of our good friends believe. But we don’t want to be right at the expense of being together. If Jesus only had relationships with people who were doctrinally perfect…well, Bill Johnson would be the only one He would be hanging out with. ☺

    Let’s start with being right about Christology, the person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, as that’s a central aspect of my writings. Since you’re putting yourself in the position of claiming Bill Johnson has excellent doctrine (I note the hyperbole you are using in the “doctrinally perfect” statement), you could perhaps read the following series and comment over there:

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

    and:

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

    You reference John 14:10-12 – is this really a mandate to exceed Jesus’ signs and wonders?:

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

    To reiterate: if you wish to comment on any content regarding the individual posts I reference above (or any others), please do so in the comments section/s of the relevant article.

  31. just1ofhis says:

    A little perspective on “miracles”. I.M Right said, “Not only that, but miracles, in one form or another, have been a part of nearly every revival in Church history.”

    I’ll share a little story about miracles that has nothing to do with revival, as a matter of fact these “miracles” of mythic proportion occurred at a time when the church had completely fallen away from the truth of the gospel. At the time of this incredible “miracle”, the Roman Catholic Church completely dominated Europe. The church had taken it upon herself to conduct “Mass” exclusively in Latin, a language not understood by the common man. There were no Bibles in the vernacular across Europe; in fact, even some of the priesthood didn’t understand Latin. This allowed the church to lead people to a false works-based gospel that served nothing but its own leadership, making Rome wealthy on the backs of widows and orphans.

    But God is Faithful and True. He sent the Black Plague from China into Europe on the back of rats hidden aboard merchant ships in the form of oriental rat fleas. The Black Plague is estimated to have killed 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population, hitting its peak between 1348 and 1350. It also decimated the Roman Catholic Church, killing by some estimates, 90% of it’s clergy. The Black Plague is estimated to have wiped out at least half of the world’s population. It was this event which shook Europe so violently that the Reformation was able to occur and flourish. The choke-hold of the Roman Catholic Church was forever undone.

    So, if you will humor me, let’s talk miracles during the Black Plague. I see the miracle of God shaking down a terrible religious structure that had corrupted His Gospel of Truth and kept His Word out of the hand of the multitudes. I see the miracle of God protecting half of the population of Europe from a disease that could have killed everyone. I see the miracle of the Reformation, which put the Gospel in the vernacular for people in Germany and then in England and finally across Europe. NEVER again would a false religious system be able to operate unchecked in the World; the common man had the Word of God in his own tongue. The blood of the Saints (such as William Tyndale) paid for those English translated Words of Scripture which are Jesus Christ in the flesh. Imagine loving the Word of God so much that you would lay down your life and lose everything just so another man might be able to read that Word in his own language.

  32. just1ofhis says:

    …and a little perspective on the Kingdom of Heaven:

    I.M Right said, “When Christians supernaturally overcome sickness, disease or demons, it’s a sign that a superior Kingdom has been superimposed over an inferior world.”

    I’m going to stick with William Tyndale for this. William Tyndale, in his letter to the reader at the beginning of the New Testament he translated from Greek into English (for the first time in history), described the kingdom of heaven as “THE SCRIPTURE AND THE WORD OF GOD” (my emphasis).

    I don’t know what “kingdom” you are talking about, I.M Right: one which has no disease and everyone is rich, one which showers down gold dust and feathers on its minions? Are these not all things of the flesh which are all going to be burned in the fire of God’s Wrath that is coming? I’ve been set free from that world. The kingdom that I know is one where souls love the Word of God so much that they yearn to live within its truth, a humble and broken pursuit blessed by amazing grace and freedom in Christ Jesus.

    You can keep your gold dust and feathers! I know a God, who through the name of Jesus Christ, hears every prayer I say; and He answers them! What joy have I, wretched sinner that I am, made clean in the blood of the Lamb! I have been set free to love and forgive even the worst of my enemies and pursue God on His terms in His Word as He ordains!

  33. just1ofhis says:

    And finally, I.M Right, two questions that every teacher will ultimately be held to:

    What is the gospel that you preach? What is its purpose?

    I’ll allow William Tyndale to share both the gospel that he translated and its purpose.

    “Also ye see that two things are required to begin a Christian man. The first is a steadfast faith and trust in almighty God, to obtain all the mercy that he hath promised us, through the deserving and merits of Christ’s blood only, without all respect to our own works. And the other is, that we forsake evil and turn to God, to keep his laws and to fight against ourselves and our corrupt nature perpetually, that we may do the will of God every day better and better.

    This I have said (most dear reader) to warn thee, lest thou shouldest be deceived, and shouldest not only read the scriptures in vain and to no profit, but also unto thy greater damnation. For the nature of God’s word is, that whosoever read it or hear it reasoned and disputed before him, it will begin immediately to make him every day better and better, till he be grown into a perfect man in the knowledge of Christ and love of the law of God: or else make him worse and worse, till he be hardened that he openly resist the spirit of God, and then blaspheme, after the example of Pharoah, Coza (Cora), Abiram, Balaam, Judas, Simon Magus and such other.”

    He goes on to say:

    “This also is a conclusion, nothing more certain, or more proved by the testimony and examples of the scripture: that if any that favoureth the word of God, be so weak that he cannot chasten his flesh, him will the Lord chastise and scourge every day sharper and sharper, with tribulation and misfourtune, that nothing shall prosper with him but all shall go against him, whatsoever he taketh in hand, and shall visit him with poverty, with sicknesses and diseases, and shall plague upon plague, each more loathsome, terrible and fearful than other, till he be at the utter defiance with his flesh.”

    The greater faith, I.M Right, says that “I know God can heal and prosper me; but for my own good and out of His perfect mercy, He may choose to afflict me to set me back on His straight and narrow path or simply to perfect my faith.”

    “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17)

    “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful creator and continue to do good.” (1 Peter 4:19)

    “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.” (Heb 12:7-8)

    Do you ever, in your teaching, share with people that God loves them so much that He may afflict them instead of letting them simply fall away from His truth?

    Thank you, Craig, for putting up with me…

  34. IWTT says:

    The miracle of God, that He would allow Craig, just1ofhis, and many others who speak through to this site, and see some of those deep in deception, brought out of that darkness and into His glorious light no be set free from the lies of false teachings, false theology.

    Amen

  35. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hello I.M Right,

    I’ve been busy the last few days and have been unable to comment again until now. I’m very pleased to see that you are still in this thread, and that you have taken the time to engage with us in conversation regarding the theology at Bethel.

    Since it appears that you are heavily involved in Bethel Church (and it sounds like you have a leadership position in the church), then I assume that you are in a position to speak for the church and its positions on theological matters. At the very least, you are familiar with the theology. Wonderful! Then when I have specific questions, I can be assured that you are faithfully representing the Bethel position, and you are not just a fan of Bethel. I’m sure that I’m not alone on this blog in wanting to have certain points cleared up and clearly articulated.

    If we are going to have a dialogue here, then I think it is very important to define terms. You stated that some people have used such words as “controversial,” “unbalanced,” and “cult” to describe Bethel Church. You then went on to say this: “to be frank, I can understand why certain religious leaders or unbelievers might view us through these perspectives. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, both as a leadership team and those who follow us. And we have such a high value for freedom and risk that it has created a kind-of research and development culture where people are encouraged to take risks. I think this stems from the fact that we view ourselves much more as pioneers than settlers. Therefore, we celebrate creativity, revelation, invention and innovation above comfort, safety and security.”

    Okay — understand that I can only speak for myself here. However, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels the way that I do about these matters. Anyway, I have no problem with people being encouraged to take risks, celebrating creativity, revelation, invention, or innovation above comfort, safety, and security. At the same time, though, I believe that there needs to be boundaries. When a practice goes beyond the bounds of Scripture, then believers really need to take a look and evaluate the practice. This is especially true if it is a spiritual practice — like a method of prayer or operating in the spiritual gifts, or some other practice.

    Why do I say this? Because I know that Satan is real, as are demons. I know of the warnings throughout Scripture that talk about what things will be like in the end times — with all kinds of false teachers, false prophets, false (counterfeit) signs and wonders, and false doctrine. I have been placed in situations where I have heard people advocate New Age/pagan spiritual practices. If Satan can attack the church (and by church here, I mean the universal church), then he will do it. It seems to be that this is one of his main strategies in the end times — and in fact most of the church will become apostate.

    So I believe that there are some very spiritually dangerous practices that Christians throughout the universal church have started engaging in, across both denominational and non-denominational churches. I have personally witnessed it, and I have seen friends get pulled away into these practices. For the sake of discussion right now, I’m going to use the theologically liberal “Christians” as the example here.

    I went to a seminary within a mainline denomination in order to get my counseling degree. At the time I attended this seminary, many of the students and the professors held to a theologically liberal view of Christianity. Some of these individuals did not believe that Jesus existed, others did not believe in sin, most did not believe in substitionary atonement — in fact they didn’t see Jesus’ death on the cross as serving any purpose whatsoever, many of them did not believe that Jesus bodily rose from the dead, etc. Obviously, then, they denied essentials to the Christian faith. They denied the gospel.

    Some went even further than this and became involved with a “progressive Christian denomination” called the Unity Church. I don’t know if you have ever heard of it, but it is one of the New Thought churches. The reason that I think these “Christians” were attracted to Unity is because they had given up all sound doctrine. They wanted a spirituality, but they didn’t want to accept God on His terms. Once a person begins to strip away all sound doctrine, there is very little of the real Christian faith left. There is no Christian spirituality, so the only place to turn is to demonic spirituality. Unity was very strong in the area that my seminary was located in.

    Students in my classes were embracing things like guided imagery, shamanism (in fact the bishop in residence at the seminary actively promoted shamanism), and other practices commonly found in Eastern spirituality and paganism. As you can probably imagine, I was very concerned for my fellow students and professors.

    Another example that I can provide is when I used to sell Mary Kay products. My director held training seminars every once in awhile. Her husband was involved in a New Age/New Thought type belief system. She invited him to train us in The Secret, which I find to be very similar to what some churches teach. I knew that what he was saying went against Scripture, and was demonic in origin, so I didn’t take in what he said. However, all of my fellow Mary Kay employees who were in attendance were eating the teachings up. Even my friend, who had come with me, thought that the teachings were good. I went to the website that he’d given us, and sure enough it was solidly New Age/New Thought. Yes, there is a difference between New Age and New Thought, but both come from a demonic source.

    My director decided to turn our Wednesday meetings into New Thought sessions. She used material from a New Thought “church,” telling us that this stuff was Christian because it came from a church. I looked up this “church” that the material was coming from, as it seemed to be New Thought in nature, and sure enough, that is the kind of church it came from. I quit Mary Kay largely because of this. The Mary Kay stuff was in my home town, not while I was in graduate school.

    I have been placed in other similar situations in which I have been exposed to false doctrine, and I have seen people that I really cared about being led astray. It hurts. Often times when I warn them that they are walking into danger, my warning goes unheeded. I am very thankful to God when He does show them the danger, and He works in their hearts to convict them of the false doctrine.

    From not only these personal experiences that I have had, but more importantly, from reading my Bible, I have become convinced that doctrine matters more than any spiritual manifestation or any good intention. Bad spiritual practices always coincide with bad doctrine. If we are to evaluate a given practice, we must look at the theology. Why? Because it is the most reliable way of determining whether or not someone is a false teacher.

    I have talked to Mormons. They claim to operate in the spiritual gifts as well — including prophecy and speaking in tongues. I have no reason do doubt that they can speak in tongues. I know of another group called Second 8th Week Ministries who used to recruit people on MySpace. I had an online friend who fell into this demonic group. The people in that group could speak in tongues as well, and they had spiritual stuff happen all the time. They claimed to see angels and get revelation, etc. Obviously, then demons can counterfeit the real spiritual gifts. The Bible warns us of counterfeit signs and wonders that deceive people so much so that they can be led astray. Pagans have healing ceremonies Deception has to look real. Otherwise no one would ever fall for it.

    I say all this in order to lay a foundation for why people are concerned about Bethel Church and the wider movement that it is a part of.

    I’m going to write more — but this first comment is probably long enough.

  36. Arwen4CJ says:

    Part 2 of my message to I.M Right,

    I think that most people who are concerned about Bethel are concerned because of the emphasis in which you guys have placed on spiritual gifts, angels, spiritual manifestations, spiritual encounters, spiritual experiences, and signs and wonders. Your teachings come across as though these though this is your church’s main or only emphasis. Perhaps that is not your intention, but that is how many Christians outside of your church and movement perceive you. I know that this is how your church comes across to me. Then, another level of concern is the extreme nature of the extent to which you guys go with these things — or those that you associate with.

    Does that make sense?

    To me, it seems that your church is saying that the whole point of worship and the whole point of being a Christian is to experience signs and wonders, spiritual encounters, etc. What I see lacking is true biblical teachings. I have read accounts of people who have been involved with your church, and they claim that they never heard about real salvation at your church. They never heard about sin. They never heard about repentance or holiness.

    I’ve never been to Bethel myself. I have heard some clips on youtube, and I have friends who have been heavily involved in the wider movement. Two of the churches that I’ve attended recently started bringing in teachings that came from the wider movement that Bethel is a part of.

    From what I observed in these congregations, the pastors treated the Bible and worship in an almost irreverent fashion. The members of the congregation began bringing their Bibles to church less and less. The pastors stopped really preaching from the Bible. They stopped preaching about Jesus and salvation. Instead, they started preaching about spiritual practices, they incorporated guided imagery into the service, and they started having people “prophecy” or “give words” that went against Scripture.

    I know that these churches were not Bethel, nor were they affiliated with it — but this seemed to be the fruit of what happened when Bethel-like teachings were brought into the congregations. I had to leave the church that I’d been going to at home because they were embracing the stuff that your church is a part of, and moving away from sound doctrine.

    These are the very reasons that I’m concerned. It seems to me that the spiritual experiences and manifestations in the wider movement in which Bethel Church is part of have taken the place of the gospel.

    This, too me, is why I would agree with those who think that Bethel is “controversial,” “unbalanced,” and a “cult.” (Here, we would use the theological definition of cult — which means teaching doctrine that goes against Christian orthodoxy.)

    I’m sorry if this comes across as harsh, but I’m honestly giving you feedback of what I’ve seen as the fruit of Bethel type ministry. It would be wonderful if this could be changed — sometimes a church or group isn’t aware of how they are being perceived, or what sort of theological understanding that you are giving. I would love it if Bethel started teaching sound theology — if it truly preached the gospel.

  37. Arwen4CJ says:

    Part 3 of my message to I.M Right,

    I should also mention that I would love it if Bethel placed the proper emphasis on the real gospel. This means that the emphasis in which you guys place on signs and wonders should be placed on the gospel and on biblical teaching. The spiritual gifts can still be talked about but the main emphasis should be on the gospel. If you did this, then I think most people who have concerns about Bethel would be satisfied. (Of course it would also depend on the soundness of your teachings.)

    All churches draw in some wonderful and extraordinary people, this is regardless of whether or not the teachings line up with Scripture. I also do not know of any church that does not draw in the very broken and/or strange people. Every congregation is made up of a variety of people. Every individual is unique because that is how God created humans.

    You wrote:
    “Bethel has chosen to be a family, and as such we do our best to love people wherever they’re at in life, regardless of their character, doctrine, political views or philosophical persuasions. Much like our natural families (whom we don’t get to choose), God often assigns people to be part of our spiritual family who, like Jacob, walk with a limp, so-to-speak, yet they still deserve to be loved. We work hard to try to understand these people although we sometimes don’t agree with their perspectives.”

    My response:
    Loving people where they are at is fine — however, it doesn’t produce any lasting change in their lives. This is part of the problem of many modern congregations. They don’t challenge people to grow. Of course Christians should treat everyone with love and acceptance — but there comes a point in which we need to teach them Christian doctrine, the Christian way of life, etc. We can’t leave people where they are when they first come. Ultimately, this is the Holy Spirit’s job — but as Christians we need to instruct people in sound doctrine. We need to show them what it is to live as a Christian. We need to call sin sin. We need to talk about sin and repentance. If a person is involved with a biblically sound church, and if their conversion is real, then they will change. Christian churches do people a disservice if they just encourage people to stay the same. Not only that, but I would question the soundness of the teaching of the church if people never change.

    People don’t become genuine Christians because they’re told they’re fine just the way they are or because they are told that they are loved by God. New Age, New Thought, and pagan teachings all claim these things. They appeal to our sinful nature because no change is required. There is no call to repentance or any change in perspective.

    You wrote:
    “These factors have combined to form one of the most extraordinary experiences in our history, and yet it’s also inspired many challenges. I have traced the majority of these challenges back to a few common themes. One of these themes is misunderstanding that are rooted in the way various people who hear our teachings apply them. Like any movement, be it spiritual, political or whatever, people often take what you say and practice it in a way you never dreamt of. Sometimes the things people do in the name of something we taught is hilarious, while other times it is downright stupid. I cringe when these misguided people quote us as the catalyst for their crazy exploits.”

    My response:
    If people are hearing Bethel’s teaching and applying it in different ways than you had intended, it seems to me that you didn’t convey the teaching in a clear manner. If people are misapplying your teachings, then the leadership at Bethel has a responsibility to make corrections. If you don’t make corrections, then it makes it seem like the leadership approves of the practices.

    One example that I’ve come across over and over again in researching your movement is things like sucking up the “anointings” of dead people’s graves. Is this something the leadership approves of? If not, then you need to make a correction and say that you don’t approve of it — that it is a misapplication of your teachings. If you do approve of it….well…..then that is one of the practices that I think is unbiblical.

    The leadership is supposed to care for the flock — the people in the congregation. Paul corrected people when they were doing things that were wrong. I think that every good pastor needs to do this. Otherwise you are as guilty (or more guilty) as those who engage in false practices.

    Of course you cannot speak against every single thing people do in your church’s name — as you probably haven’t even heard of some of it. Some people wouldn’t be part of your church either. Your responsibility is to your flock. However, if it is a practice that you’ve heard people engaging in over and over again (like the grave thing), you do have a responsibility to correct it. I’m sure there are other things that would be applicable.

    Another example that I can think of here is levitating objects and people — I’ve heard that some people associated with Bethel have engaged in levitation. When I heard people talking about levitation, I can only think of the occult. Things like this I would consider to be serious issues.

    Do you guys draw the line anywhere? I mean, are there some practices that you would absolutely not be okay with? Or is everything okay, as long as people do it in Jesus’ name? This is a serious question that I have. Please answer. Thank you.

  38. Arwen4CJ says:

    Part 4 of my message to I.M Right,

    You wrote:
    “Another major problem in our movement happens when people innocently take what we say out of context. This has happened to me, personally, on more occasions than I care to count. Many times someone will quote me on Facebook or post a YouTube video that is a two-minute clip of a half-hour-long talk I shared. It’s pretty hard to tell people you didn’t say that, but as with any conversation, the context often dictates the definition.”

    My response:
    Unfortunately, this goes with the territory of being a popular speaker. While there is no way that you can really stop this from happening entirely, you can certainly do some things to bring more clarity to your actual position.

    For example, in the material that I’ve seen from Bethel — both video clips and books you guys have produced, your doctrine seems very vague. It doesn’t come across as being well defined. It seems to me to almost appeal to just about anyone, so that anyone from any theological perspective might think you are teaching their position.

    I’ve noticed this especially with your teachings about Jesus. Sometimes you guys are saying that Jesus has always had deity, but at other times you say that He gave it up while on the earth. These two positions are contradictory.

    Another thing that would really help to clarify things is if you would define terms. You do this sometimes, but not always consistently. For example, how would you define the term “eternal?”

    Yes, I agree that context is very important.

    You wrote:
    “On the other hand, there are always malicious people who work hard to deceive the masses by intentionally ignoring the context of our teaching to make some distorted point. I really don’t understand how these people live with themselves when they intentionally twist something we teach to deface our character, or undermine our ministry. Some people are so convinced that we are a cult that they are willing to sacrifice their own integrity “to keep people from going astray.” For example, we have had people write negative reviews about our books that they have never read, blog about the source of our income or how we spend our money that has NO semblance of truth in it. Disagreeing with someone is one thing, but lying to make your point is downright wrong.”

    My response:
    This is true. That’s what I call bad apologetics — maliciously taking part of a quote in order to make it seem like something is teaching something differently from what they were actually saying. This is kind of an end justifies the means kind of thing — where people will do anything in order to get people not to follow a certain teaching. It gives apologetics a bad name.

    I do not want to misrepresent anyone or any group, even if I strongly disagree with them. That’s why I’m glad that you have joined this discussion. I want to hear directly from you your positions on certain matters. I might need to ask you more questions in order to clarify Bethel’s position, but I would like to understand your position better.

    I know that Craig did read the books that he has reviewed and written about. I would hope that all others who have reviewed the books have also read them.

    You wrote:
    “We really think it’s important to give people the freedom to disagree with what we teach or practice without feeling like they are being disloyal or dishonoring. We have strong feelings about certain subjects that are even contrary to what some of our good friends believe. But we don’t want to be right at the expense of being together. If Jesus only had relationships with people who were doctrinally perfect…well, Bill Johnson would be the only one He would be hanging out with. ☺”

    My response:
    I’m glad that Bethel Church thinks it’s important to give people the freedom to disagree with what you teach or practice without feeling like they are being disloyal or dishonoring. However, some of the people who are guest speakers or who are associated with Bethel Church seem to feel differently.

    I also know what the environment was like at the church I was attending before I left. Although the pastor there never told me I had to agree with him, he called me names and basically said there was something wrong with me spiritually. From what I’ve read of others who have left churches who got involved with the people who are friends with Bethel, they have had similar experiences at their churches.

    There are some very prominent “Apostles” and “Prophets” in the wider movement who claim that disagreeing with them is disagreeing with God. Others teach that there will be a civil war among Christians — those who agree with the wider movement against those who do not agree with the wider movement.

    If it is truly the case that Bethel does not put pressure on people to agree with the teachers, then that is great to hear. However, this doesn’t mean that someone listening to a guest speaker might not get the impression that they cannot disagree with what you guys say. If you don’t make sure that people understand they can disagree, then it makes it seem like you guys are in agreement with others in your movement.

    It’s also great to hear that you have strong feelings about certain subjects that are even contrary to what some of your good friends believe. However, the average individual who attends your church may not realize this. They may assume that you are in agreement with the teachings of those who you promote or are associated with. Again, you have a responsibility to your flock.

    It depends on what these contrary things are — are they doctrinal matters? Are they things that are against the gospel? Are they things that are against Scripture? Would those who listen to them be put in spiritual danger by believing or practicing these things? If so, then I think your duty is to your flock rather than your friends.

    I’m sure that you know that there are doctrinal matters that are essential and others that are non-essential. No two people or two churches have the exact same theology, even if they are in the same denomination. Since I don’t know exactly what you think are contrary to your teachings, if you do not speak out against them, then no one else will know either. If you don’t speak out against them, then it looks like you are promoting those things — especially if it is being taught on Bethel’s stage.

    On some matters it is right to choose rightness over unity. If a church or denomination keeps choosing unity over sound doctrine, you’ll eventually come to a point where anything and everything is accepted. Sadly, that is what is happening within some denominations…and within the universal church as a whole.

    No one has perfect theology. Also, no two people have the same theology. However, for example, I’m not going to actively promote someone with whom I have a major theological disagreement with. I’m not going to go hang out at a Unity Church, or at a Mormon Church, or at a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, etc. Why? Because I believe that each of these groups is heretical. Now, does this mean that I wouldn’t talk to or befriend people in these groups? No. However, if I were there friend, I wouldn’t just let our theological differences just sit there. I would discuss the points with them because they were my friends. I wouldn’t want them to miss out on the real Jesus.

    The same is true with my friends who have gotten involved in spiritual things that I consider to be dangerous. If I were a pastor, I wouldn’t invite them to speak at my church. I wouldn’t want to put my congregation at risk. I also would not be able to promote them. I wouldn’t be able to endorse their books, talk about their ministries, or be a guest speaker at their churches. I could still be their friend, but I would need to discuss the theological differences. I would not tie my ministry to theirs or associate my ministry with theirs. I would not speak at the same conferences, etc. Why? Because I would not be able to ethically do that. I would feel like I was putting all of my flock at risk, as well as all those who followed my teachings, as well as everyone who was listening.

    If it got to the point in which some people in my congregation were following after these friends’ teachings, or engaging in those practices, I would have to warn my congregation. I would have to speak out against the practices and the theology. Why? Again — out of love for both Jesus and those who have been entrusted to my spiritual care.

    If speaking out against these friends would mean that my friendship with them would end, so be it. If it would mean that some people in my congregation would leave, then so be it. If some people were offended, then so be it. The truth would matter to me more than friendships or unity. I would want to love God more than I loved my friends or the idea of unity.

    I’m not a pastor, but I have had to make such decisions before about friends. I had to tell them the truth regardless of what it meant for my friendship. I’ve had to leave churches before for the sake of the gospel. I cannot remain silent in the face of false doctrine.

  39. Arwen4CJ says:

    Part 5 of my message to I.M Right,

    You wrote:
    “There are a few subjects that come up over and over with people who are opposed to us or that misunderstand our position on certain issues. I thought I would try to clarify some of these issues for the people who truly care about our perspectives. I am not writing an exhaustive theological dissertation on each point to try and convince our detractors that we are right. I am simply trying to make it clear, in simple terms, what we believe and why.”

    My response:
    Thank you! :) I look forward to this. I would really like you to clarify your position on several different areas. I hope that if I or someone else has a specific question on an issue that you will try to clarify it further? What I’m looking for here is clearly defined positions that don’t have to be extensive explanations — just clear words.

    You wrote:
    Signs, wonders and miracles seem to be a constant point of turmoil with people who oppose us. Some write about me, Bill Johnson or Bethel Church as if we were the originators of the idea that Christians should have a supernatural lifestyle. This is comical to me. People will often write something like, “Bill Johnson says,” and then go on to quote the Bible word for word. For example, it was Jesus who said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…these signs will accompany those who have believed in My name: they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover,” (Mark 16:16-18).

    My response:
    For some, their issue with Bethel would be that you guys teach that the spiritual gifts have not ceased with the completion of the Bible — in addition to the exact teachings on those things.

    Oh…I don’t have time to finish this response right now. I will respond more later.

  40. Arwen4CJ says:

    Part 6 of my message to I.M Right,

    You wrote:

    “Signs, wonders and miracles seem to be a constant point of turmoil with people who oppose us. Some write about me, Bill Johnson or Bethel Church as if we were the originators of the idea that Christians should have a supernatural lifestyle. This is comical to me. People will often write something like, “Bill Johnson says,” and then go on to quote the Bible word for word. For example, it was Jesus who said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…these signs will accompany those who have believed in My name: they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover,” (Mark 16:16-18).”

    Anyway, not everyone who has concerns with your doctrine and practices have an issue with the fact that you guys believe in signs, wonders, miracles, and the operation of the spiritual gifts.

    However, you are right in saying that the concerns have a lot to do with these things. Like I said earlier, one of the major concerns is the emphasis with which you guys place on these things. It’s like you guys emphasize these things more than biblical teaching or the gospel. This is only one aspect of it.

    The other aspect is the extreme nature of these things. For example, the gold dust, the gold teeth, gems, oil, and the like — all of these things seem to have more to do with the sinful nature than they do to the gospel. No where in the Bible can I find God making gold dust appear, giving people gold teeth, making oil ooze out of people’s skin, etc. None of the biblical authors wrote about these things. That in and of itself doesn’t mean that it is false or bad. However, it is extra-biblical.

    However, we also need to look at what these things do. What I say isn’t going to be true of everyone who is part of your church or movement, and it may not be the intention of Bethel leadership, but I have seen what emphasis on these things can do. I have spent time talking to people who are part of the movement in online forums. I have also glimpsed the impact that belief in these things can sometimes do to a person’s relationship with God. From what I’ve seen, instead of pulling people towards a biblical understanding of Jesus, I’ve seen it pull people away. Instead of encouraging people to search the Scriptures, I’ve seen people openly mock Scripture. I’ve seen people use their Bibles less and less.

    If these things are supposed to glorify God or bring conviction on people, or get them to see Him as He truly is, then it isn’t working well. Instead, these things seem to serve as a distraction in the lives of those who have gotten involved in these ministries. They no longer seem to pursue a relationship with Christ, but instead seek to get caught up in spiritual experiences. People flock to events and conferences just so that they can have such experiences. Once they have had one experience, they keep on seeking out more experiences.

    Then, the third problem is the content of the teachings which accompany the signs, wonders, miracles, manifestations, etc. Much of the teaching within the movement seems to be based upon spiritual experiences or something supernatural. Instead of being based on Scripture, most of the sermons I’ve heard have been based almost entirely on spiritual experiences or encounters someone claims to have had. The topics become things like, “how to experience the supernatural,” “how to hear God,” “how to do miracles,” etc.

    Doctrine and theology are downplayed, as well as Scripture itself. Personal revelation and experience are further exalted. What little biblical teaching that is included is only used in order to proof text the spiritual experiences or manifestations or whatnot. The theology that is taught is often vague. Usually it tends to be about God loving us and finding us wonderful just the way that we are. Teachings about Christology or salvation are usually only taught in a manner in which it supports the signs, wonders, and miracles emphasis.

    I personally experienced attending a church in which this happened — on Easter the pastor preached a sermon about how great it is that Jesus rose from the dead because we have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead at our disposal too. We can use the power to do miracles and signs and wonders too. For him, the whole reason Jesus came to earth was so that we could have the ability to do miracles and signs and wonders. Jesus died on the cross so that we too can defeat Satan, etc. None of this is the biblical gospel that Paul preached.

    I know that this pastor admires Bethel Church a lot. Maybe this isn’t what you guys intend to convey, but it is how followers of yours understand you to be teaching. So they then repeat it in their own churches.

    So many people have made Christianity all about humans rather than about Jesus. In their understanding, we’re all little gods that can go around speaking things into existence, making things happen in the spiritual realm so that it happens in the physical realm, etc. They think that this signs and wonders and miracles stuff is THE point of the Christian faith. They think it is Christianity itself.

    Does that make sense?

    So again, it isn’t the fact that you guys believe in signs and wonders and miracles so much as it is the emphasis and the teachings that seem to go along with it — the fruit of it. This is what many people, including myself, are concerned with.

    You wrote:
    “We have no interest in picking up snakes or drinking poison…we don’t think that was Christ’s point. He was simply articulating that Believers have power over the demonic realm and over all the harmful elements that exist on this planet. When Christians supernaturally overcome sickness, disease or demons, it’s a sign that a superior Kingdom has been superimposed over an inferior world. Jesus went on to say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father,” (John 14:10-12). The exhortation, command and commission to do miracles, heal the sick and cast out demons is all throughout the New Testament. A supernatural lifestyle is articulated, demonstrated and replicated by Jesus and the apostles, as well as everyday Believers from the book of Matthew to the book of Revelation. Not only that, but miracles, in one form or another, have been a part of nearly every revival in Church history.”

    My response:
    None of the disciples, nor any other author of the New Testament seems to have understood the main message of Christianity to be about miracles, signs, and wonders. Rather, they understood the message to be about Jesus — about His life, death, and resurrection — about salvation.

    I think that this is the point that Bethel and those who have concerns with it really disagree — what the gospel is and what the point of Christianity and the Christian life is. These are very serious issues theologically.

    Paul never wrote letters about the importance of doing miracles or signs and wonders. Instead, he wrote that we are to guard our doctrine closely. He wrote about order in the church.

    At the great commission Jesus didn’t tell the disciples to go into all the world and perform miracles, signs and wonders. It is true that he did instruct some of the disciples to drive out demons and perform miracles and whatnot, but the point was that they were to tell people about Jesus — not that they were to train others to do miracles, signs, or wonders.

    The early church leaders did not understand miracles, signs and wonders to be the main emphasis, or the subject that they were to preach on. Rather, they preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified. They told people what God had done for them in Jesus Christ. This was their main message. The miracles, signs and wonders were not emphasized, however they acted as a tool to help people understand God better. The point of everything was for God to draw people to Himself for the purpose of their salvation. This has always been the point of signs and wonders throughout the Bible. They are not the gospel message themselves, nor are they the ends to anything.

    Miracles in and of themselves mean nothing. Pagans, wiccans, New Agers, people in New Thought, Hindus, etc… all of them claim to do miracles too. In fact, many of these people experience something very much like gold dust. They just have a different name for it. They call it fairy dust or angel dust or pixie dust.

    I think this is our main disagreement.

  41. Mary Matthews (MaryM007) says:

    Amen, Arwen…so very well said. I, too, came out of this – was on admin staff in a church that switched over to Bill Johnson/IHOP/Joyner/etc. One of the most fundamental issues I had with it, was the emphasis on signs and wonders not repentance and salvations. Because they preach the gospel of the kingdom only – no one is brought to repentance for their sin (everyone is ‘amazing’) and realization their need for Jesus as Savior (He’s their ‘boyfriend’) – therefore, no one is born again out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. Without salvations, there is no Kingdom of God. They are increasing their kingdom full of Simon the Sorcerers and the youth that are so full of zeal and desire to serve the Lord are deceived into serving the angel of light unwittingly. The manifestations of gold dust/teeth, oil, healings, feelings of euphoria/joy/laughter, etc., ‘proves’ to them that they are ‘right’.

  42. Craig says:

    The New Age also has a “Kingdom of God”. How does one enter? By ‘intimacy with God’, i.e. TM / Meditative Prayer / contemplative prayer. Here are some quotes from Alice A. Bailey, New Ager / occultist:

    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…. [Externalisation of the Hierarchy; p 188]

    So, the occult/New Age “Kingdom of God” is achieved through “soul-control” by the “overshadowing” (ie possession).

    It is time that the Church woke up to its true mission, which is to materialise the kingdom of God on earth, today, here and now… [From Bethlehem to Calvary; p 210]

    How does one do this? By ‘bringing heaven to earth':

    Instruction is being given at this time to a special group of people who have come into incarnation at this critical period of world’s history. They have come in, all at the same time, throughout the world, to do the work of linking up the two planes, the physical and the astral, via the etheric. [Initiation, Human and Solar; p 67]

    For the full citations and additional explanation, read this article, specifically at The Word Becoming Spirit section:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iiib/

  43. Mary Matthews (MaryM007) says:

    And many also judge by whether something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’….my pastors couldn’t believe that I couldn’t see that all this was good – surely satan doesn’t heal – he only does bad things to people and God only does good things to people. If it’s good, it must be God…If it’s bad, it is the devil…Just as Peter saw that Jesus going to the cross as a bad thing…Jesus rebuked Satan…we have to make sure our ‘good’ is the same as God’s ‘good’…and we stay on track by knowing scripture – not our feelings/experiences.

  44. IWTT says:

    Mat 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    @MM007,

    Yes, I have had people quote this verse (out of context) to tell me that “good gifts come from the Father…” and that it couldn’t be Satan if we have “asked the Father”…. Umph!

  45. just1ofhis says:

    When I hear people pervert God’s word in regards to God only giving His children “good” gifts, I often wonder if they stop and think about how that might apply to their own children. If I gave my children everything they wanted and never disciplined them for anything, I would be left with spoiled rotten children….nothing but bad fruit. Just discipline IS a good gift from above; and in the hands of our perfect Heavenly Father, it is always righteous. I may not always understand it, but His ways are higher than mine.

    I remember sitting under a teaching from Ken Hagin Sr. about commanding satan to get his “hands off your money” and “commanding” God’s angels “to go and get it for you”. This, apparently, after “jesus” told him that “he” didn’t have any money up in heaven with which to supply Mr. Hagin’s needs (so, of course, “jesus” gave him the previous formula for getting cash). Sure enough, the next day a woman from the church was giving “testimony” about having done this only to find $10 on the sidewalk. This is the food of goats….pushy, bossy goats. There is nothing “good” about that “gift”.

  46. Arwen4CJ says:

    Mary Matthews (MaryM007),

    You wrote:
    “Amen, Arwen…so very well said. I, too, came out of this – was on admin staff in a church that switched over to Bill Johnson/IHOP/Joyner/etc. One of the most fundamental issues I had with it, was the emphasis on signs and wonders not repentance and salvations. Because they preach the gospel of the kingdom only – no one is brought to repentance for their sin (everyone is ‘amazing’) and realization their need for Jesus as Savior (He’s their ‘boyfriend’) – therefore, no one is born again out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. Without salvations, there is no Kingdom of God. They are increasing their kingdom full of Simon the Sorcerers and the youth that are so full of zeal and desire to serve the Lord are deceived into serving the angel of light unwittingly. The manifestations of gold dust/teeth, oil, healings, feelings of euphoria/joy/laughter, etc., ‘proves’ to them that they are ‘right’.”

    My response:
    Thank you.

    Actually, I don’t believe that the Bible contains more than one true gospel — as some of the people in the hyper-charismatic church claim. In other words, I don’t think that there is a separate “gospel of salvation” and a “gospel of the kingdom.” I believe that saying that these are two different gospels is one of the biggest problems in the hyper-charismatic church.

    Because of this false distinction that they’ve made (saying that there are two gospels), they almost exclusively teach “the gospel of the kingdom” and neglect “the gospel of salvation.” Almost all theology in the hyper-charismatic church goes back to this “gospel of the kingdom” which is all about signs, wonders, miracles, experience, etc. If they do mention salvation, it is only mentioned briefly — as fire insurance. Pray this prayer and you won’t go to hell. There is no explanation for why salvation is necessary, what sin is, or repentance, or what Jesus did for us on the cross, etc.

    I believe that when Jesus spoke of the “gospel of the kingdom,” He was talking about the fact that He was the Messiah and that He had come into the world. Jesus didn’t ask them to preach signs and wonders, but rather to testify about Jesus. The gospel has always been about Jesus.

    So this “gospel of the kingdom” that the hyper-charismatics are preaching is another gospel. It’s focus is on getting people to become like God, or to be little gods. It has the same mentality as the people who were trying to build the Tower of Babel — it is a false gospel in which people want to be equal with God.

    And yes, they are creating a kingdom full of Simon the Sorcerers.

    It’s another gospel and another Jesus, as Craig has been saying. Now that I see the New Thought connection, this has become even more and more clear to me — it is much like Alice Bailey.

    Craig,

    You wrote:
    “The New Age also has a “Kingdom of God”. How does one enter? By ‘intimacy with God’, i.e. TM / Meditative Prayer / contemplative prayer.”

    This is exactly what seems to be going on in these types of churches. I know it was going on in the congregation that I left, and what I witnessed there was mild compared to what others have gone through. They just started introducing guided imagery — “Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful setting. Now imagine Jesus right there with you. Imagine Him hugging you and drawing you close. Jesus is approaching you…connect with His spirit…. Now listen to what He whispers to you about how much He loves you…..listen to what He tells you…Concentrate on what you feel and your emotions… what is He whispering to your heart.”
    :(

    The senior pastor inserted the above into his sermon — on….guess what — a topic that related to intimacy with God.

    He made everyone do that for like ten minutes. I didn’t participate. I used the time instead for praying to God, and grieving over what had become of the church that I loved there. I had come there for one final time. I knew I had to leave after that sermon.

    I know that the church kept this up because I listened to an online sermon several months later — and the pastor invited a woman to come forward and give a “word.” Her “word” was another guided imagery session that she took the congregation on.

    Dangerous, dangerous stuff.

    People are essentially creating their own Jesus’ in their minds — first, and then allowing possible demonic spirits to take over and whisper sweet nothings into people’s hearts. Then, because they are relying almost all on feelings and emotions, they get a good feeling from it.

    The pastor then told people that if it is a good feeling, it is from God. If it is a bad feeling, it isn’t from God. Of course no one reported getting bad feelings — they discussed what a wonderful exercise that was, as well as what Jesus had “revealed” to them.

  47. I.M Right says:

    Greetings everyone! I firstly would like to compliment you all on your persistence on the issue. I would also like to reveal who I am; no, I am not Kris Valotton, and no, I am not in leadership at Bethel Church. I do not even attend Bethel Church, for I live in another country. However, I still support Bethel church and their wholesome teachings.
    I would like to leave this on this note:
    We all have our dogmatic opinions and views on this ‘contrversial’ issue, so no matter what either of us say, no one will change their mind. And most importantly, let us not focus on Bill Johnson, his books, or Bethel Church, but rather, let us focus on the wonderful, holy, and glorious Jesus Christ; the One who we live for.
    God Bless you all, and I pray that we will all just focus and shift our attention on the only, worthy One that matters most; Jesus Christ (not Bill Johnson, who is just a mere human like us, and who is a bold follower of Christ; just like all of us). :)

  48. Craig says:

    The real crux of the matter is which Christ does one serve? I contend Johnson’s Christ is not the one of the Bible in view of his books, sermons, etc. which I’ve studied ad nauseum in order to warn the flock. His as another christ, another spirit, another gospel.

    But, alas, I see you refuse to actually engage the post as is usual. More the pity.

    I.M Right – U R Wrong if you think Bethel preaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  49. Arwen4CJ says:

    I.M Right,

    It is right to focus on Jesus Christ — however, we’ve been discussing Bethel Church. It is true that we may not agree on it.

    Since I was wrong, and you claim that you are not in leadership at Bethel, then I am a little confused by how you worded things in your last comment. Nevertheless, I will say it again — having sound doctrine is essential to any church. If a church doesn’t have sound doctrine, and yet claims to have spiritual experiences, then I would say that those spiritual experiences could be very dangerous.

    Lots of people or groups can offer wholesome teachings. Even secular groups can offer wholesome lessons or teachings. That doesn’t mean that the teachings are biblically sound.

    The main issue with Bethel is that it preaches another gospel and another Jesus.

    Leaving Bill Johson, Bethel Church, and the literature that this group puts out — then let’s engage in a discussion about Jesus, as you have suggested — focusing on Him.

    It sounds like you are a pastor or a speaker at a church somewhere, even if it isn’t at Bethel. You support Johnson’s theology….so, how do you personally view Jesus?

    Did Jesus lay down His divinity at the incarnation?

    What does Christ mean? When did Jesus become the Christ? Is Jesus the only one who can ever be the Christ?

    What does eternal mean to you?

    Once we’ve had a meaningful discussion about this, then maybe we can discuss how Johnson views these same things, and you can see if you actually agree with him or not. Does that sound fair?

  50. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Going back to Johnson for a bit: Now that it’s clear Bill Johnson equates the term divinity with deity, then we are assured that when he states that Jesus “emptied Himself of divinity and became man” we understand that the earthly Jesus was devoid of deity, without supernatural power (“He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsover!”). This is why your question, “What does eternal mean to you?” is so important as Johnson many times qualifies his statements regarding the emptying of Christ’s divinity with “While He is/was eternally God…”. So, the important question for Johnson to answer is: Does the eternal realm intersect with our temporal realm, and, if so, how; or, are they wholly separate?

    In my view, eternity cannot be conceived as merely a succession of time, i.e. we cannot just place a specific time period of, say, the past two thousand years (since Christ’s birth) and superimpose that onto a part of eternity. Similarly, we cannot think of the existence of the cosmos, from the point of creation until the eschaton, as being a subset of eternity. I think Lewis Sperry Chafer states it best:

    “…Whatever time may be and whatever its relation to eternity, it must be maintained that no cessation of eternity has occurred or will. God’s mode of existence remains unchanged. Time might be thought of as something superimposed upon eternity were it not that there is ground for question whether eternity consists of a succession of events, as is true of time. The consciousness of God is best conceived as being an all-inclusive comprehension at once, covering all that has been or will be. The attempt to bring time with its successions into a parallel with eternity is to misconceive the most essential characteristic of eternal things.”

    From our perspective, there’s a past, present (constantly moving!), and future. Yet, God has no beginning and no end; just like eternity, there’s no past or future.

  51. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Right — I just want to see what I.M Right has to say here. He/she claims to support Bethel and Johnson….

    So if he/she can tell us what his/her personal views are about Jesus, and answer these questions according to his/her understanding, then maybe he/she will finally engage in a dialogue with us. Once I.M. Right has stated his/her opinions, then you can point him/her to Johnson’s quotes.

    From the earlier comments, it would seem that he would agree with Johnson on everything. However, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and let him state where he actually stands. If he stands with Johnson, then we can truly treat him as though he is in leadership at Bethel, making the assumption that he believes everything the way that Johnson does. If he does not stand with Johnson, we can question whey he claims Johnson has perfect theology.

    Yes, it seems clear that Johnson himself equates deity with divinity, but perhaps not all of his followers do. Johnson’s Christology can be very confusing. At the very least, we can ask how I.M Right is able to reconcile some of Johnson’s contradictory statements with each other.

    And yes, “What does eternal mean to you?” is a very important question that I hope that I.M Right addresses.

    Since I.M Right refuses to tell us who he/she is, it’s hard to engage with this person in any specific way. I think it’s best to find out what his/her position is. From the earlier post I.M Right made it sound like he was in the leadership at Bethel as one of the pastors. Then, in the most recent post he/she claims to not be — but instead is located in another country. If I.M Right is actually from another country, my guess would be that he/she is from the UK, Australia, Canada, or another English speaking country.

  52. just1ofhis says:

    I.M Right says, “And most importantly, let us not focus on Bill Johnson, his books, or Bethel Church, but rather, let us focus on the wonderful, holy, and glorious Jesus Christ; the One who we live for.”

    This is the way that I focus on Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh:

    In Mark chapter 10 we learn of a rich young man who runs up to Jesus, falls on his knees and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers him by running through most of the ten commandments: do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother. The man declares that he has kept those commandments since he was a boy. What happens next is key to understanding the work of the real Jesus versus the “false christ” of Bethel church:

    Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10: 18)

    Jesus loved the man. Out of love, Jesus told the man the truth; he was guilty of the sin of living a covetous life. This is a gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. THAT is the only gospel that I want to hear. Why? Because it is the gospel that convicts my guilty heart of its sin so that I can repent and come into the Kingdom of Heaven.

  53. just1ofhis says:

    On October 16, I.M Right said, “There have been many things written about Bethel Church and the movement that we have had the privilege of being a part of for more than three decades. Most of what has been said about us is positive…….. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, both as a leadership team and those who follow us.”

    On October 23, I.M Right said, “I would also like to reveal who I am; no, I am not Kris Valotton, and no, I am not in leadership at Bethel Church. I do not even attend Bethel Church, for I live in another country. However, I still support Bethel church and their wholesome teachings.”

    Your introductions about yourself remind me a great deal of Bill Johnson’s testimony of Jesus…

    “Yes he is/No he isn’t”

    God is NEVER the author of confusion.

  54. cherylu says:

    just1ofhis,

    I haven’t commented on this blog in a long time, but I have been following this conversation.

    You quoted I.M. Right and his super confusing statements above. Adding the paragraph that came before what you quoted makes it plain that is is even more confusing then it sounds from the part that is in your quotes. Here is that paragraph and then going on into the part that you quoted:

    From now on, whenever I say ‘we’ or ‘us’ or ‘our’, I am referring to the Bethel Church & it’s loving Community. The following may be quite long, but I think I have articulated it well and I recommend that you read it before you decide to comment:

    There have been many things written about Bethel Church and the movement that we have had the privilege of being a part of for more than three decades. Most of what has been said about us is positive…….. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, both as a leadership team and those who follow us.”

    So, he makes it clear that he is referring to Bethel when he says “we”. And now he is denying that he is even a part of the church. Much less in leadership like he also stated.

    Good try there Mr Right. (Ironic name under the circumstances, isn’t it?) Please excuse us if we don’t take anything you have to say with any seriousness at all.

  55. I.M Right says:

    Hello again (and hopefully for the last time);
    I do not understand, Craig. You seem to be saying that Bill Johnson is wrong when he says that “Jesus had no supernatural capabilities whatsoever.” Johnson then went on to explain this (by saying that it was God’s Spirit through Him, how He was 100% God but with human limitations, etc). Where is he found ‘wrong;? I thought he made perfect sense and was completely correct.
    Next, I’d like to reveal myself completely. I am a young man from Australia, between the age of 17-19 (I won’t give my full details due to security risks). Although I am young, I still believe that I still have some beneficial points to ‘bring to the table’.
    And also, I’d like to ask/challenge one more thing:
    Craig said, “Johnson goes on to claim that all those against ‘the anointing’ – i.e., ‘the anointing’ as he defines it – are antichrist. This is illustrated in the following two statements: “The spirits of hell are against the anointing, for without the anointing mankind is no threat to their dominion” [p 80] and, “The spirit of antichrist is at work today, attempting to influence believers to reject everything that has to do with the Holy Spirit’s anointing””
    I agree with what Bill Johnson said, so can you please explain why you are against this statement? (What on earth is wrong with it? I believe it is perfectly valid)

    Thanks for your time…

  56. Craig says:

    I.M Right,

    Glad to see you’re back. At least I’m confident from your newly revealed identity that you are from Australia as each commentator’s comment here on WordPress shows their ISP address with yours indicating you are, in fact, located in Australia. I’ll take you at your (current) word that you are “between the age of 17-19″ and make no further assumptions about your previous statements regarding being/not being in leadership at/with Bethel.

    I’m delighted you’re now fully engaging the text asking directly related questions, which I’ll attempt to answer to your satisfaction. As to the first part regarding Jesus possessing supernatural capabilities:

    Jesus is the Word, the second Person of the Trinity made flesh (John 1:1,14). Hence Jesus is God in the flesh. Does God possess supernatural capabilities? The obvious answer is “yes” (see Col 1:19, 2:9 for example).

    Using Philippians 2:5-7 as a proof-text, some believe and teach Jesus “emptied Himself” of either:

    1) some (or all) His divine attributes (omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, impeccability {inability to sin}, etc.) such that Jesus was totally devoid of these attributes rendering Jesus totally reliant upon the Holy Spirit for all supernatural endeavors

    2) the voluntary use of some (or all) His divine attributes such that He chose/vowed specifically not to use these instead relying entirely on the Holy Spirit for all supernatural workings. This is known as the kenosis theory/doctrine with the 1st one specifically known technically as ontological kenosis and the 2nd functional(ist) kenosis.

    The first [edited; as I intially wrote "second"] one is clearly heretical (God would cease to be God) while the second one is deemed by some to be within orthodoxy (However, consider John 2:11 {miracle at Cana “revealed His [Jesus'] glory”}, John 5:21, 24-25 {Jesus giving life to whom He chooses, ie. eternal life/judgment in the then present indicating He used his own divine attributes and not the Holy Spirit}, etc.).

    The key word here is capabilities. If Jesus ‘merely’ chose not to use His supernatural powers He would still have the capability, that is, these powers would be ‘in reserve’ so to speak. When Johnson makes the explicit claim that Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” he is either very careless with wording or promoting the more extreme kenotic view. When we add the following statement (from another book), this is doubly troubling:

    Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help… [see here for quote and reference]

    In addition, Johnson has elsewhere made the explicit claim that Jesus “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”. I don’t see how that can be in any way ambiguous. Johnson is promoting the view that is clearly heretical. [see here for two such quotes with analysis provided]

    So, I.M Right, do you see the trouble with Johnson’s words? Do you yourself belief Jesus lacked supernatural capabilities while incarnate in view of the whole counsel of Scripture?

    The answer to the second part of your question in a following comment…

  57. Craig says:

    I.M Right,

    As to the “the anointing”, this article explains how Johnson has changed the orthodox meaning of both “Christ” and “antichrist” such that Christ = anointing and antichrist = ‘anti-anointing’. Orthodoxy, as per the Apostle John in his first epistle, indicates that to be antichrist is to separate Jesus from Christ and vice versa. Conversely, to affirm that Jesus is THE Christ / Messiah is a direct affirmation of both Father and Son (see 1 John 2:22). There is no other Christ. And “Christ” is NOT an anointing.

    We do not receive the same “anointing” as Jesus as Johnson claims here:

    …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… [See article referenced earlier for source for all subsequent quotes and info here in this comment.]

    Pentecostals make the claim that there’s a subsequent “baptism in/of the Holy Spirit” which follows the intial Holy Spirit indwelling. While I disagree with this doctrine, Johnson goes (and other hyper-charismatics go) a step beyond this [as per my understanding of Pentcostalism] in explicitly claiming that Jesus Himself received the “baptism in/of the Holy Spirit” which is how/when He received the “title” of Christ. Moreover, others can receive this same “Christ anointing”, which logically means all can become ‘Christed’, and, in fact, DO become ‘Christed’ once “anointed”. This is both a Gnostic and a New Age doctrine; it’s not Christian.

    To claim that Jesus received the ‘title of Christ’ following His baptism by John is specifically antichrist per the Apostle John as it denies Christ came “in the flesh”. Instead, this doctrine of Johnson claims “Christ” is an anointing Jesus received well after He ‘came in the flesh’. In Johnson’s theology ‘Jesus’ “came in the flesh” while the Spirit is the “Christ anointing” ‘Jesus’ received just after water baptism. Therefore, Johnson denies that Jesus IS the Christ. Again, it is antichrist according to Scripture.

    Here’s the relevant ‘Christ title’ quote of Johnson:

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

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

    If you read this slowly and carefully one sentence at a time, you’ll see that, according to Johnson, Jesus receives the “title” of Christ only at the point in which He is “smeared all over at His water baptism”. However, Scripture is clear that Jesus was the Christ at the virgin birth [Luke 1:35/2:11] (more accurately, at the virginal conception).

    From Johnson’s faulty teaching on “the anointing” flows all his other Christological errors. In the Johnson schema, since Jesus received “the anointing” at “baptism” (more accurately following water baptism) – the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” – we too can receive this same “Christ anointing”. Furthermore, anyone who is against this “anointing” teaching is “antichrist” – more accurately, ‘anti-anointing’ – according to Johnson. Thus, Johnson has redefined Christ to mean “Christ anointing” (or simply “the anointing”) rather than the exclusive PERSON of Christ and he, in turn, has redefined antichrist to mean ‘anti-anointing’ (or ‘anti-“Christ anointing”‘). In doing so, Johnson is indentified as promoting and adhering to antichrist doctrine himself.

    Yet, Johnson tries to switch the tables on those adhering to orthodoxy claiming THEY are the ones who are antichrist! Diabolical indeed!

  58. just1ofhis says:

    “I.M Right”, you are free to agree or not with anyone you choose. Eve was free to agree with satan in the garden. God gave mankind free will to choose.

    Why did Jesus Christ die on a cross?

    a. To satisfy the wrath of God and pay the price of death due for the sins of all who would believe in His name, allowing them to become children of God and to come to repentance through His precious blood and the power of His Holy Spirit.

    b. because satan was “against the anointing” and wanted to get rid of it on the earth.

    Bill Johnson teaches answer “b”, even in his Sunday School Curriculum. But, if you do not understand answer “a”, YOU ARE NOT SAVED. How long would it take you and how much would it cost you to invest some time reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)? If you love Jesus Christ in truth, you will do this; you will prayerfully seek out what God has written about himself in His Holy Word.

  59. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    I wouldn’t go quite so far as to claim that an individual with a faulty understanding of exactly who Christ is and His atoning work on the Cross is “not saved” (especially in listening to the very twisted and convincing words of one who is, by appearance, seemingly a wolf in sheep’s clothing). Johnson, and others of his ilk, cleverly (whether fully conscious of this fact or not) conflate the WoF “anointing” with the true Holy Spirit anointing resulting in much confusion. This confusion can lead one to think accepting both “a” and “b” would be just fine and, in fact, correct.

    Those of orthodox persuasion have a difficult time unravelling these twisted teachings while those under the influence of these teachings can be oppressed leading to a bondage of perpetual confusion. Of course, God is not the author of confusion…

  60. I.M Right says:

    just1ofhis said:
    ““I.M Right”, you are free to agree or not with anyone you choose”
    Okay then. I disagree with you. End of story.
    Thank you for this discussion, but I think it is time that I part from this forum because none of us will change our mind, and therefore, makes it futile.
    God bless you all, and I pray that your eyes will be opened to the truth someday, and that we can ALL rejoice in Heaven together for eternity.
    Farewell…

  61. Craig says:

    “none of us will change our mind…”

    That’s quite disappointing that you’d ask what I thought were sincere questions only to either ignore the responses to your questions to engage further or to outright reject what is plain to see. Or is it that when you are shown that you are defending an indefensible position/person you’d rather just pridefully continue in your deception than admit that you may well be wrong? You’ve chosen Johnson over Jesus. Your Jesus is impotent as compared to the Biblical Jesus who is omnipotent. I hope you’ll reconsider.

  62. just1ofhis says:

    Craig said, “You’ve chosen Johnson over Jesus. Your Jesus is impotent as compared to the Biblical Jesus who is omnipotent. I hope you’ll reconsider.”

    That is my point with the “a” vs. “b” in the question above. It CAN’T ultimately be both; because God Almighty won’t share His home. Darkness and light can’t exist in the same place. We are either full of light or darkness. We can’t follow the voice of Jesus Christ; and follow the voice of a theif. One leads to life; one leads to death. We either love the Word of God and then His Word has a place in our lives, or it doesn’t. God can pull us back; but we, like the prodigal son, must return repentant and not willingly die starving out in the field watching the pigs eat muck. And certainly, that is my prayer for “I.M Right”.

    If someone is walking in a confused state of spiritual bondage, then they are not living in the freedom that Jesus has provided; and, the spiritual bondage they walk in is bondage to sin. In my experience, it always results in bad fruit. The “drunk in the spirit” garbage is just the tip of that iceberg. And it is ultimately judgment for those who refuse to repent:

    “And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumbled when rendering decisions. All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.” (Isa 28: 7-8)

    “Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets): He has covered your heads (the seers).” (Isa 29:9-10)

    When I was confused and following the word-of-faith teachings, God absolutely was protecting me and opening my eyes and ears; as I believe He has done for all of us who were following false teachings at any point. I ultimately couldn’t follow those teachings, because I love Jesus in the truth of His Word, which put me at odds with teachings that weren’t “His Voice”. Where there is confusion, God clears it up.

    My mom likes to say that God made it plain and simple so that men could never again muck it up. While there is nothing eloquent about that; it is a very reassuring thought. Praise Him for His love and patience for us all.

  63. just1ofhis says:

    I.M Right said, “Okay then. I disagree with you. End of story.”

    Fortunately, a person doesn’t ever have to agree with me about ANYTHING, and I will promise to love them anyway. This is a by-product of walking with the Spirit of God through the person of Jesus Christ (and the efforts of raising four children).

    It is disagreeing with the Word of God which becomes problematic. BUT, God will allow His own to starve out in the field while they watch the pigs eat the muck, if that is what it takes to bring them to their senses. I have dear friends who follow Bethel’s teachings closely who have been out in that field for a while now. It breaks my heart; but then, God is far more patient than I.

  64. IWTT says:

    2 Thess 2

    9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

  65. I.M Right says:

    Hello again.
    When I said that this is all futile, I meant it.
    2 T imothy 2:14:
    “Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and can ruin those who hear them.”
    And I couldn’t agree more. That is why I am commanding you in God’s presence to stop fighting over (Bill Johnson’s) words! This is futile!
    Goodbye

  66. Craig says:

    I.M Right,

    Now, you are not “fighting over words” are you? Aren’t you the one who came on here making comments quite voluntarily? Certainly, you did not have to enter into this conversation/argument.

    However, your prooftexting of merely one verse obfuscates the intent of the writer of this epistle. Let’s add the subtitle preceding the verse you selected that the TNIV uses and also add verse 15:

    Dealing With False Teachers

    14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

    The question you have to ask and answer is: who is ‘correctly handling the Word of Truth’? Is it Bill Johnson or me?

    Continuing in the Scriptures:

    16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” [TNIV]

    Pretty strong words (bolded portion) from the writer (most agree it’s Paul, but that’s not universal). The point is that some have claimed the resurrection has already taken place. This is a false teaching. Therefore, the overall message of this portion of Scripture is to not engage in discussions and promote teachings which are clearly contrary to Scripture. This is not some sort of admonition to just agree with anyone’s teaching whether it agrees with the whole counsel of Scripture or not.

    We are to avoid false teachers. How are we to know if they are false unless they are exposed (Scripturally) as such?

    17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. [Romans 16:17-18, TNIV]

  67. just1ofhis says:

    I.M Right said, “That is why I am commanding you in God’s presence to stop fighting over (Bill Johnson’s) words!”

    Your understanding of authority in the Word of God is greatly misplaced. We do not command men but rather spirits of darkness that rise up against the Word of God, and our sword is that very Word. There is the authority of those who trust in Jesus and follow Him in truth. Men have been given free will by the Creator who is Jesus Christ.

    I am encouraged that the Lord drew you back to the blog, however; and I pray that you will actually take the time to read the responses that you have been given.

    “Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
    FORGET YOUR PEOPLE AND YOUR FATHER’S HOUSE.
    The king is enthralled by your beauty;
    honor Him, for He is your LORD.” (Psalm 45:10-11)

    I would encourage you to read John 8 carefully. It deals with Jews who believed in Jesus, until He started to teach them:

    To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “IF YOU HOLD TO MY TEACHING, then you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)

    The Jews proceded to argue with Him that they were not slaves to anyone. They believed in Him and yet they could not accept His teachings. Jesus states again those who are His:

    “I tell you the truth, IF ANYONE KEEPS MY WORD, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)

    At this, the Jews claimed that he was demon-possessed. He answered them, finally, with the statement, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58), a clear declaration of His Godhood.

    At that, they tried to stone Him.

    Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. There is no other way, no other truth, and no other life. If you love Him, you honor Him by keeping His Word and holding to His teaching. And that teaching is found in one place, the Word of God.

  68. I.M Right says:

    Craig,
    (Firstly, I’d like to say, I actually genuinely admire your ‘politeness’ and gentle tone. I like how you don’t come across as disrespectful or patronizing. Even though you disagree with some people, you still respect them as people. I like that :) Thanks!)

    On the other hand, all this ‘arguing’ over words does make me quite sad. The Word of God says “…you will know them by their love”. Bill Johnson is a brother in the Lord, is he not? Yet, we still continuously focus on his words more than our actual Father’s Words. These things ought not to be. I assume that none of you have actually sat down with Bill Johnson and probably haven’t heard him speak, let alone get to know what is in his heart. The most saddening part though, is that we get judged in the same way we judge another. It’s NO wonder the world doesn’t want to have much to do with us Christians.

    Jesus is OUR example. He hung out with the sinners and LOVED them. If Jesus were here on earth today, would He be at home arguing over a man’s words over the internet, or would He be out in the streets healing the sick, casting demons out of people, prophesying over people, showing love to people and miraculously delivering people? And since He is our ultimate example, we ought to be doing the same, should we not?
    Jesus Himself even said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
    And as Bill Johnson says, that IS the NORMAL Christian life.

    We don’t have to agree on every point to honor and love each other. Bill leads by example…hopefully the rest of us will do the same.

    Blessings upon you all! May you get to know my God. He loves, He is awesome, and is totally setting me free! He is a good God!

    He didn’t come down from Heaven to judge us. He came to simply LOVE us.

    You will all be in my prayers. God bless…

  69. Craig says:

    I.M Right,

    Thanks for your words regarding my “politeness and gentle tone”. I don’t think I’m entirely successful in that endeavor (in fact, I KNOW I’ve not been); but, I do try mostly to at least respond in an emotionally neutral tone.

    Now to the specifics of your most recent post. First, regarding the “heart”: What about the Dalai Lama? We’d certainly have to agree that he lives by very high morals, is kind to people and, therefore, has a ‘good heart’, wouldn’t we? Yet, the heart is “deceptively wicked, who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]. Jesus says we are to beware of false prophets [Matthew 24] and wolves in sheep’s clothing [Matthew 7:15-23]. How do we know them? We are to know them by their fruit:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/look-at-the-fruit/

    You wrote, “Bill Johnson is a brother in the Lord, is he not?” First, see the previous, and secondly, no one knows for sure whether one is truly “in the faith” or not [see Matthew 13:24-30]. The best we can do is examine their fruit (their teachings). Johnson’s “fruit” raises serious red flags. See here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/are-you-a-heretic/

    You wrote, “The most saddening part though, is that we get judged in the same way we judge another.” Identifying and exposing false teaching is not judging [see Romans 16:17-18; Jude 3]. As to “judging”, Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1-6 have to do with hypocritically judging, that is, telling you not to do the things I am in fact doing. Yet, we are to “judge” those in the church [I Cor 5:12-13], i.e. exposing sin and removing it from the Church body until said individual repents. While these verses are speaking of specific individual sin, certainly to continue teaching false doctrine is a sin, isn’t it? The Latter Rain that Bill Johnson teaches has been denounced as heresy back in 1948 by the Assemblies of God – the very denomination he himself broke away from. Going back even further, the kenosis heresy of claiming Jesus divested Himself of some or all divine attributes (“He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!”) is exposed as such as it violates the Council of Chalcedon of 451AD.

    I do not need to sit in front of Bill Johnson in order to attempt to hear/see his heart; his false teachings are plain by the words he speaks in sermons, the words he writes in books, etc. Public words are to be rebuked publically, not privately. This is not a case of personal offense (Matthew 18:15-17); this is public [I HAVE used Matthew 18:15-17 locally in two separate instances, however.].

    Jesus soundly rebuked the false teachers of his day; however, He had/has one very big ‘advantage’ over us: He absolutely KNOWS the individual. He KNOWS who is a false teacher and who is not by their heart. We, on the other hand, must examine the fruit of their teachings.

    Do you we actually do “greater works” than Jesus? What did Jesus mean by those words?:

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

    Please review the articles referenced above as they should answer every point you’ve made.

  70. Carolyn says:

    IMRIGHT – words can be twisted, distorted and misrepresented.

    words…according to Christ, they are what we will be judged by…NOT by how many miracles we perform.

    Matthew 12:36-38
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    36 But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    False prophets like Bill Johnson will be judged for changing, altering, re-inventing, shifting, adding to and conforming the Word of God to fit their own agendas.

    IMR, you must see that Bill Johnson’s agenda lines up more with a New Age agenda, (Christ consciousness) than the Biblical agenda (Christ/God come in the flesh). One agenda makes us self conscious and raises us through levels of superior self satisfaction and the other Biblical agenda makes us conscious of our sin and our need of a saviour outside ourselves.

    Heaven Invading Earth is as close to the core of the New Age/Satanic agenda that you can get. And Bill Johnson wrote a whole book about it. Wow!

    And further, IMR…you are seeing things the way you want to see them. You said:

    It’s NO wonder the world doesn’t want to have much to do with us Christians.

    Jesus is OUR example. He hung out with the sinners and LOVED them…

    Believe me…our judging, especially (false prophets) is not the reason that the world does not want anything to do with God. The world doesn’t want God and his Christ because they are in rebellion against Him. When Christ hung out with sinners, even though he healed many of them, most of them still did not love him back. They crucified him, remember?

    Here’s what I’ve heard from many people claiming to be seeking for God. They say something like, “I’d believe God if he came down and stood in front of me”. But you know they’re lying. He did come and they still didn’t believe his words.

    So…IMR…you are right about some things. God IS awesome. And Christians DO love each other. And yes, God came to love us and we need not fear his judgement if we love him back. But…on the other hand, if you aren’t just reading selectively, you will discover, that the wages of sin is death and that God will judge those who reject his salvation.

    Yes, words….they do have great consequences. And love is not love, unless it is connected with truth.

    John 17:17
    Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

    IMR…you are in our prayers as well. We love you. Pay attention to words, not Bill J’s but Christ’s alone.

  71. Arwen4CJ says:

    I.M Right,

    The reason that most of us posting here disagree with Bill Johnson isn’t over some minor point in teaching. Rather, we are concerned about Bill Johnson because we believe he is one of the false teachers that Jesus and the writers of the New Testament warned us about.

    There is a huge difference between arguing over minor matters and arguing over the major doctrines of Christianity. Using the argument you made above, we’d have to accept Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, New Thought adherents, extremely theologically liberal individuals (by this I mean those who claim that they are Christian, and yet deny Jesus deity, deny that Jesus rose from the dead, deny that Jesus saves us from our sins, deny that we need saving, etc), Unitarian Universalists, Unity Church members, and all other cults of Christianity as genuine Christians. According to your logic, we should just be happy with them when they spread the social gospel, and not argue with anyone over doctrine matters.

    Doctrine is important — especially doctrine about Jesus, salvation, and what it even means to be a Christian.

    Does this make any sense?

  72. Arwen4CJ says:

    I.M Right,

    You know, your argument is almost identical to the one that my church history professor made in seminary.

    We had been discussing the Council of Nicaea, which mostly consisted of discussions about the Arius vs. Alexander’s position. Arius claimed that Jesus was not really God, but something a little more than regular humans — something created by God. Alexander claimed the position that we consider to be orthodox Christianity — the only view that is really consistent with Scripture.

    Anyway, my professor made a comment about how she thought this whole controversy was silly. She basically said they were just arguing over words, and that they should have just accepted each other as Christian and moved along. She regretted that “so many Christianity’s were destroyed” in the days of the early church. She thought that doctrinal diversity within the church was a good thing.

    This same attitude is reflected by many who are theologically liberal, as well as by those who are outside the church completely. They all claim that anyone who claims to be a Christian is one, regardless of what the person believes.

    This view might sound good, reasonable, peaceful, etc. The problem is that it compromises the gospel and the truth. Jesus and the NT authors all said that we are supposed to guard our doctrine, that there would be false teachers, and that we were to teach only sound doctrine.

  73. Craig says:

    Good points Arwen4CJ!

    This is argued by the Neognostics of today. Ehrman has a book titled Lost Christianities.

  74. I.M Right says:

    Hi again!
    I’d like to leave this discussion on this note:

    ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’ is a powerful statement and testimony on the Kingdom of God. Theologically sound, well supported, and extremely well argued, this message provides a carefully constructed biblical foundation for the average Christian to live and walk in the miraculous, supernatural power of God. Not only is the supernatural possible, it is also our commission. The Great Commission that Christ gave to the Church challenges us and makes us responsible to rise up to this supreme supernatural calling. Johnson shows you how you are called to dominion in the earth through the divine rule of God.

    “This book is a faith builder. It challenges every believer to walk in supernatural signs and wonders as a natural part of everyday life.”;—John Arnott

    Anyone can walk in the miraculous—even you! If you’ve ever wanted to live and walk in the supernatural power of God, here’s your chance!

    It is truly possible for human people to walk in the divine, and Christ came to show us the way. It is by rediscovering our true identity in Him that we can begin to move into the promises of God regarding the miraculous. Bill Johnson not only teaches the supernatural, he imparts it by changing the way we think.

    If you are not walking in the miraculous, you’re living FAR below your birthright! By laying a carefully constructed biblical foundation for walking in the supernatural power of God, When Heaven Invades Earth provides all the equipment you need to experience miracles every day!

    Even though I am choosing to withdraw from this futile forum, I’d still like to keep in contact with many of you all, particularly Craig, because you ALL seem like really nice, gentle people and you are all very polite and respectful. Indeed, you all have many good qualities. Although we may not agree on everything, I still love you all as brothers and sisters and I hope you all do too.
    (I also wish you all the best for the future and on your personal journey with God. For myself, I am moving to Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry for 9 months. I am super excited!)

    Anyway, God bless you all and farewell…

  75. Craig says:

    I.M Right,

    I can’t say I’m not disheartened by your decision to go to BSSM. You will be in my prayers.

    You are welcome to come back here to post comments.

    I hope you’ve researched both sides of John Arnott, the man who was instrumental in what is known as the “Toronto Blessing”. Did you read Pastor Paul Gowdy’s testimony from his first-hand position of involvement?

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

    Arnott and his wife are referenced in the above specifically.

    When Heaven Invades Earth takes lots of Scripture out of context; it’s hardly ‘theologically sound’.

    I’m hopeful you’ll have a change of mind before you embark on this ‘journey’ to BSSM.

  76. Arwen4CJ says:

    I.M Right,

    I know that you are trying to leave this discussion, but I do want to point a few things out. Again, it isn’t the supernatural itself, miracles, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit that is the reason that many of us oppose Bill Johnson’s doctrine.

    Rather, it is the teachings (doctrine — doctrine means teachings) that are behind what Bill Johnson practices. The same is true for other teachers in the hyper-charismatic movement.

    What must be evident in any given person’s theology and teachings is Jesus Christ — His life, death, and resurrection. The person must have sound theology about the gospel, salvation, Jesus Christ, etc. –the essentials of the Christian faith. These things must be at the very foundation of any ministry that claims to be Christian.

    I have favorite Christian authors and speakers from many different Christian denominations or non-denominations. I might disagree on a few non-essential matters, but these individuals are solid in the essentials. And, guess what, they teach the exact same things in regard to the essentials. Not only that, but these people are teaching the exact same thing that orthodox teachers throughout the history of Christianity teach.

    Bill Johnson, John Arnott, and those they hang out with are preaching a very different message. They are not teaching a message that is consistent with what the Holy Spirit has shown to the authors and speakers that I mentioned above. They are not teaching doctrine that is consistent with the historical church.

    Paul wrote that these essential things are what matters. He wouldn’t teach anyone anything else until they had the foundations down. That’s how it should be. We need the essentials in order to have a solid framework by which we can stand on when we start looking at other things.

    Bill Johnson and the hyper-charistmatics have it backwards. Instead of teaching sound theology, making sure people have a solid grasp on the essentials, they are trying to teach about the supernatural, spiritual gifts, miracles, etc. Without the solid foundation, the people listening to him have no real good way of evaluating whether or not what Johnson and the others are teaching is scriptually sound.

    They might give lip service to the gospel — but their gospel is different too. They seem to care more about people “moving in the supernatural” than they do the actual spiritual state of the individual. Because of this, they have a weak message of salvation. Basically, they say something like, “if you don’t want to go to hell, accept Jesus into your heart.” This makes for a lot of “conversions,” but with no real change. It seems to be just part of a formula where people are welcomed into the Christian club.

    My heart goes out to you — and I will be praying for you. I just ask that while you are at this supernatural school of ministry that you really study your Bible. Read the letters in the New Testament. Read the Gospels. Read the rest of your Bible. Be in constant prayer, asking God to show you His truth from His Word. Ask Him if what you are learning at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is consistent with Scripture. Test everything.

    Test any spirit that comes into contact with you, even if it seems to be an angel. Test every vision that you might have or that someone relates to you. Test the manifestations and the things that you are seeing there. If you see people levitating, practicing soaking, talking about angels or spiritual experiences — ask yourself and God whether or not these things are biblical.

    Any sound biblical church will make Jesus and salvation and repentance the main thing. An unsound church or ministry will make something else the main thing — in many cases the main thing turns out to be angels, the supernatural, visions, spiritual experiences, spiritual encounters, etc.

    Ask yourself what is the main thing that is being taught. What is the bulk of the teachings? Is it the supernatural or is it salvation?

    If you are interested in keeping in contact with me, please let me know. Regardless, I will keep you in my prayers. Ask God for discernment.

  77. Carolyn says:

    Well, I’ve been on that path before IMR…living in the supernatural, mystical realms, striving to live far above my fellow Christian’s mediocrity (it’s a well worn path to nowhere by the way). The dreams and hopes of experiencing deeper life and powerful demonstrations of the Spirit is the proverbial carrot on a stick; you just never get there, although no one on the path will ever admit it…that might break the spell….

    Being raised with the Latter Rain Doctrine firmly entrenched in my parent’s household, I am sure of what I say. I was dragged through years of confusing doctrine and experienced all the so called supernatural highs in the deeper life of charismatic doctrine. I have more recently come down off my high and lofty enthronement to accept the reality of afflictions and sufferings and the humility of prayer (just asking and receiving)…Best of all, I have ceased despising the mundane and orthodox living of ordinary saints.

    We walk with God on this earth, sometimes alone (Christ had no place to lay his head) sometimes through a wilderness experience, and sometimes battling the human powers that be. In these ways, we share in his sufferings. However, we do not share in his divinity. He was as superior to us as God is because he WAS and IS God. At times he sent his disciples out (the 72 for instance) to do special miracles as they preached the kingdom. Other times, he raised the dead. And even though many false prophets today claim to have raised the dead, for some reason, the dead have not come forward to confirm these claims. I know that if I was raised from the dead…I’d be the first to be proclaiming it far and wide. I’d be on the BBC, the CBC (being Canadian) and I might even consider TBN. But only silence…..no dead people have come forward. That’s telling.

    Here’s the real, Biblical promise of hope for those who “look for a Saviour from heaven”.
    1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

    When Heaven Invades Earth is the counterfeit being offered to us by none other than the antichrist spirits of the New Age and occult secret societies whose plans for invading this realm with his counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, is well under way. We are being enticed away from the Word of God to become some kind of new breed of superior saints. Those who fall for these same old lies will be forced to worship the Wicked Spirit they are following which is the end goal. Yes, the miracles are real but not in truth.

    2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
    9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
    10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
    11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

  78. just1ofhis says:

    IMR said, “It is truly possible for human people to walk in the divine, and Christ came to show us the way.”

    You are missing the point of the divine nature of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.

    “His divine power has given us everthing 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)

    Peter goes on to list the qualities that God is looking for us to grow in:

    faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

    Peter could have talked about growing in the capability to perform miracles or growing in supernatural experiences. He didn’t. He spoke of the type of life that would be evident in those who are in Jesus in truth.

  79. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,
    You wrote:
    “Good points Arwen4CJ!

    This is argued by the Neognostics of today. Ehrman has a book titled Lost Christianities.”

    My response:
    Sigh…..why am I not surprised?

    These theologically liberal scholars have removed all the essentials of the Christian faith. Since they have picked apart the Gospels, decided that Jesus didn’t say or do many of the things in the Bible (especially the Gospel of John), decided that all the miracles in the Bible didn’t happen, etc.

    Since they have deleted everything Christian from Christianity, they are left with almost nothing left. Therefore, they start turning to things like New Thought.

    Both Ehrman and Spong spoke at some Unity Church event, both of them praising the Unity School of Christianity, which is neognosticism.

    All the theologically liberal students and professors at the seminary I went to looked to Ehrman and Spong as brilliant biblical scholars. Since the liberal leaders are moving in this direction, I really think that it will not take long before theologically liberal “Christians” who follow the likes of Ehrman will embrace gnosticism fully.

    The theologically liberal have already embraced the Unity School of Christianity as a liberal denomination. (Usually they will use the word “progressive” instead of liberal, as they tend to prefer that.)

  80. just1ofhis says:

    IMR also said, with emphasis, “If you are not walking in the miraculous, you’re living FAR below your birthright!”

    My birthright as a sinner is death and eternal damnation, as it is for every human being born on the earth for all time…with ONE exception….Jesus Christ in the flesh.

    The only salvation from that death is faith in Jesus Christ worked through a miracle of God in my heart. Being “born again” of the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ is a gift, not a right. And it is an amazing miracle. You define “miraculous” very narrowly; and because of that, you are missing the greatest works of God. I join Arwen in praying for you.

    There are old words to a Christian hymn that I once heard that never left me. I don’t know the name of the hymn, but I pray those words often:

    “Lord, keep us safely in your Word.
    Thwart those who by deceit or sword
    would seek to overthrow your Son
    and to undo what He has done.”

    Of course, no one can undo what Jesus has done; but they can lead others astray and straight to the pit of hell. That lyric matches a part of the prayer Jesus prayed in John 17 for His disciples. “Keep them safe from the evil one” and “sancify them by the Truth…your Word is Truth. If Jesus prayed it for us, then we ought to pray it for each other.

    I hope you see you post back on this blog and that your journey might lead you to the truth.

  81. just1ofhis says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    Your post just reminded me of an experience I had a few years ago with a woman who was trying to recruite me into the Healing Room “ministry”. I love to knit; and when I have time, I knit things to give away to people, especially people who are hurting. Prayer shawls and scarves, little trinkets, whatever; I just really enjoy doing it.

    This woman received a few packages I had put together with Bibles and shawls. Although she received them enthusiastically and passed them on to people in need, she had some very hard and harsh words when I rejected serving her “ministry”. She referred to the Bibles and knitting along the lines of “if that was all I wanted to do for the LORD.” Apparently I am one of those “neanderthal” Christians (who you more gently refer to as “ordinary saints”….I like that!) who wants to serve with whatever gifts I’ve been given instead of striving for something greater.

    I don’t know where I would put “greater”. I have a house full of children whom I homeschool and lead in Bible study daily, a husband who is very busy supporting all of us (and needs my support when he comes home), a big garden, a yard full of chickens (and ducks), an ill mother-in-law, friends in various states of need, a local food pantry that is never quite full enough, an assisted living center that never gets enough visitors, etc. etc. etc….

    When I used to listen to Heidi Baker, it would just hit me to the core: Who takes care of all her thousands of “children” while she is out doing “greater”? Who tucks all 3000+ of them in at night? Who listens to them struggle through first grade reading or tying their shoes or being rejected by their “friends”? Who wipes their runny noses? Could she even tell you all their names and birthdates? You are child #2354 who lives with Heidi along with 13 others one week out of the year. That is a vacation, not a home. Is that what we are to strive for? Lost in all this “greater” are the very people who we are given to care for first: family, friends, neighbors. The real laid down life doesn’t seek for self but quietly seeks to care for those the LORD puts in his or her path.

    The woman who wanted me to help her with HR asked me to answer the phones from my home during the day to “minister” to people when she was working. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? That would have been a “greater” straight out of the pits of hell. The only “greater” I have room for is the “greater” that is Jesus Christ who carries me through the day. How sad and hard the hearts of those who trash the little things done in love for something “greater”. I believe it is why Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you.”

  82. Carolyn says:

    Just1ofhis…hey…you’re already supermom. Don’t you let anyone tell ya different. I’ve been blessed many times already by what you (and others) have to say. When you open that beak of yours to speak the thoughts about the Lord…it is truly a blessing. Better to be Spirit led than led by even those with the best intentions of helping others.

    Although I’m a super nice person, ahem…you still don’t want to be following me! I’ve been wrong before and probably will be again. In fact I can find trouble without even looking for it.

    Looking back, I regret the time I spent listening to all my teachers (and I was all over the board) and all the hours spent speaking in tongues, thinking I was actually doing something profitable. Pffffft! But if I can turn someone else from the error of their way, or even confirm that the discrepancies that they are seeing between what their teachers are saying and the Word of God, then it was worth it.

    I also home schooled my two children and now I’m helping my daughter out with her two little diaper clad young ‘uns. So my hat’s off to you…you are a saint and no ordinary one either!!

  83. Carolyn said

    “Being raised with the Latter Rain Doctrine firmly entrenched in my parent’s household, I am sure of what I say. I was dragged through years of confusing doctrine and experienced all the so called supernatural highs in the deeper life of charismatic doctrine. I have more recently come down off my high and lofty enthronement to accept the reality of afflictions and sufferings and the humility of prayer (just asking and receiving)…Best of all, I have ceased despising the mundane and orthodox living of ordinary saints. ”

    You described it very well. The big draw of the signs and wonders movement is the offer to “be like God” -the age old temptation.

    I M Right, I hope you will look out for subtle yet critical flaws in the teachings of BSSM They are not always immediately obvious, but if you are willing to seek the truth, you will see it.

    1. Teachings that fail to draw a distinction between ‘being like Jesus’ and being EQUAL to Jesus.

    2. A failure to distinguish between being MADE righteous and forever having been and always will be righteous (Jesus).

    3. Ditto with holiness. The believer can be holy as Christ is holy because we always have access to repentance and cleansing by His blood. The NASB says to “be holy in our behavior” Jesus of course always was and always will be holy and led a holy life even while walking in a sin infested world. He did not need to access any other resource for His holiness because He is divine.

    4. Failure to distinguish between partaking of His divine nature, but we are NOT divine like Jesus who was and is and always will be and was with the Father since before time.

    My observation has been that in charismatic circles (and here is where you should not assume I think the Holy Spirit quit working supernaturally through His people sometime in the past) is that the teachers and followers of the popular teachers of the prophetic or charismatic movements would never admit to thinking they are equal with Jesus, but you will see it played out in practice.

    Such as: almost any crazy thought that goes through the mind is a ‘word from God'; anyone who has any illness should be healed if you just pray right; declaring things that are not as though they are’ is for anyone to do; humans have creative power with their words; any act when labeled as prophetic results in an affect on some situation; we are always acceptable to God regardless of our behavior; we do not have to study the Word/we just know in our spirit and finally that we cannot be fooled, so don’t worry about testing anything

  84. Carolyn says:

    @theuntangling…you have pointed out many details that trip us up in these cult shaped ministries. The devil is in the details. I think if I was to put “When heaven Invades Earth” into a word, it would be “works”. Certainly there are works that are pleasing to God…looking after widows and orphans in their distress being two of them. But trying to do greater works than Christ by figuring out quantum leaps and learning methods and doctrines to line up our gold covered ducks in a row is NOT true spirituality.

    IMRight used the word futile. IMR feels that this forum is futile but is about to find out the real meaning of futile. I’m thinking of the word grandiose. The word that makes novices in the Christian faith think that they are going to take the world for Jesus. I heard one preacher say, “You newer/younger Christians that wonder what is wrong with us older Christians? Stick around. You’ll find out what the rest of us are tripping over.” Well, today we have When Heaven Invades Earth. It is the epitome of the word grandiose.

    Not only is it grandiose in metaphysical arts, but it ignores the prophecies that clear tell us what God has planned for this earth and the wicked god-haters of this planet. It presumes to have greater knowledge of the future than the Word.

    Even Christ had to submit to the plan of God. When he found himself in the garden, facing a situation that was a bitter cup of humiliation and suffering, he asked his disciples to watch in prayer with him. Sometimes, we ourselves face situations that seem to be “checkmate” as far as our lives are concerned. We either watch in prayer or we join the false prophets in pretending that all is love and peace.

    Bible prophecy talks about things that are happening right now in Israel (the cup of trembling to the world), the enemies of Israel surrounding them on every side, wishing them to be driven into the sea. It talks about tumults, wars, floods, earthquakes in divers places and famines and pestilences. Where is the peace and love that the false prophets of Heaven invading Earth have imagined for us? It’s a mirage, I say. Their words are false conjectures…because the true God will have the last word. And the Word of God’s track record is 100 percent accurate. My faith is in His Word remaining unchallenged.

    As for my works? They will follow my faith.

  85. “The devil is in the details.” When I first began giving heed to the warnings about the teachings I believed in the prophetic movement, I just could not understand the bloggers and websites who took issue with “taking the world for Jesus.” I simply could not fathom why anyone could have any issue with that statement- because to me “taking the world for Jesus” meant preaching the gospel.

    I remember clearly the day I finally understood the ‘details’ surrounding the belief that WE take the world for Jesus, and THEN He can come. Things suddenly began to fall into place about the murky world of dominionism and latter rain doctrines.

  86. Pingback: Being Like Jesus « the untangling

  87. Carolyn says:

    untangling…I am a bit intrigued by your signature. For me it has taken me more time to untangle myself from the teachings than it took to get tangled up in the first place. But then I suppose it is the process whereby some of us learn best the hard way.

    It is thought by many in the NOLR movement and the Third Wave circles, that the gospel is only the entry point into Christian life before taking the world for Jesus. The next step is greater works by attaining miraculous powers and taking dominion over the earth.

    In fact…an understanding of the gospel is never even reached by many charismatics because the Word is snatched from them almost immediately and they are turned toward the words and teachings of men. Subsequently, they are distracted by works and the focus becomes intent on improving the flesh and attaining to some sort of worldly ascendancy. They never acquire the power of the gospel which is the life of Christ, for they never comprehend the absolute hopelessness of their sinful condition and the supreme, unlimited supply of the life and grace of Christ needed for every step of our walk by faith.

    Life becomes an attempt to perfect the flesh by compromise with the world in attaining some success over the conscience. Although they accept the seed (the word of truth) with joy, it is promptly snatched from them soon after entry into Christianity. Instead of denying the flesh and learning to draw from the life of Christ, they rally to the challenge of an endless cycle of false teaching and seductive addiction for personal power and admiration. The glory and goodness of Christ’s finished work on the cross is lost in the fog of their passion for their own works. And of course, as a reformed addict myself, I am thankful that the Lord gives us more grace….

    Moral of the story…the Word is the Life that keeps us on track.

  88. Carolyn says:

    Here are a few thoughts I’m throwing out for the general public. I’ve been thinking….

    Have you ever wondered why the devil is still allowed to stand before the Lord and accuse us day after day? Why for two thousand years he has been allowed to have some kind of legal right in heaven when clearly Christ defeated him on the cross?

    Colossians 2:14-16
    King James Version (KJV)
    14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
    15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

    I have wondered what line Satan will cross at some point in the future where Michael will fight with the Dragon and he will at last be cast out of heaven. And as has been mentioned to me lately, that this is why for 2000 years, Satan has been preparing his entry into earth’s atmosphere by all the occult teachings of baphomet, as above so below, the Masonic teachings of the square and compass, the rituals of Satanism, the manipulations of DNA, the promise of the aquarian age of peace, the desensitization of visitors from space/UFOlogy, the rise of Babylon, etc.

    And then it dawned on me that he won’t cross any line. There is no line. It is finished. It’s just a matter of time. He has been given a window of opportunity so that the world can be tested for genuine faith. When his time is up, he will be banished from the heavens (Heaven will invade Earth) and he will be full of wrath because he knows his time is short. His goal…destruction of the earth and its inhabitants.

    Revelation 12:12
    Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

    Matthew 24:21-23
    King James Version (KJV)
    21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
    22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

    When Heaven Invades Earth…I don’t want to be here….

  89. Joseph says:

    “In “His self-imposed restriction to live as a man” [p 29], Johnson claims that Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” [p 29] clearly reducing Jesus to a man given that God is in very essence supernatural. Even though Johnson makes the statement, “[w]hile He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He [sic?] was redeemed” [p 29] Johnson negates this with “He had No supernatural capabilities whatsoever” and “He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father…” [p 79]. One could construe Johnson’s “while He is 100 percent God” statement as present tense as opposed to past tense (i.e., during the Incarnation) especially in light of his numerous statements pronouncing Christ’s humanity at the expense of His deity including “the anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil” [p 79]. ”

    Joseph >> I agree with Bill Johnson in this aspect although I don’t agree with most of what he teaches. I read his book a few years back and found it to be without merit at best.

    However, to believe that Jesus worked His miracles because He was God is a grave error because it makes Him look like He was playing a pretending game. Either He lived as a real Man in subjection to the Law of Moses and in complete submission to His Father’s will, or He didn’t.

    The error I see here is because it appears we don’t understand what His purpose was. His “mission” was to be a covenant representative of mankind in order to undo Adam’s sin of rebellion that brought the entire race into deep darkness. In order to that Jesus had to lay aside all divine privileges and walk in life like any other Jew without any advantage whatsoever.

    Phil 2:5-11. The word of God is clear:

    V:7 “He emptied Himself taking the form of a bond servant…” This means that Jesus overpowered the enemy simply by listening to the Holy Spirit and by obeying His Heavenly Father in all things. This means Jesus was a real man with a nature bent on sin (just like Adam after the fall), yet He walked in perfect obedience and did not sin.

    This is the picture of a true God in blue jeans and t-shirt, identifying Himself with us in every possible way. This is why we call Him Savior. He did FOR us and AS us.

    When Jesus died, we died; when Jesus rose from the dead, we rose from the dead (this is where the term “born again” makes sense). When He ascended to the throne we ascended with Him. When He entered into the heavenly Holy of holies (Heb 9:12, 24), He did it AS us to the point that we are called now His body.

    As for miracles, signs and wonders, I simply why we don’t realize that our God is a God of wonders and miracles. He doesn’t change; He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:5).

  90. Joseph says:

    Justoneofhis <>

    Joseph >> You miss entirely the point my friend. Our entire life is supernatural in its essence. Just the fact that you are being conformed to the image of our Savior by the hand of the Spirit of God should be sufficient for you to understand that not only you have your feet firmly planted on earth, but you are also a citizen of heaven, an heir of God and joint heir with Jesus Christ. You are a son of God by faith in Jesus Christ. You have in you the divine nature which makes you part of the divine family….

    So you think our life is not filled with the miraculous? If you can’t believe God to heal the sick, you imply He doesn’t care about our plight.

    Do you believe He loves you? Then believe that faith without works is dead also (Ja 2:20)

  91. Craig says:

    Joseph, you wrote, “However, to believe that Jesus worked His miracles because He was God is a grave error because it makes Him look like He was playing a pretending game. Either He lived as a real Man in subjection to the Law of Moses and in complete submission to His Father’s will, or He didn’t.

    Let’s let Scripture determine the answer:

    11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. [John 2:11, NASB]

    Manifested whose glory? The Holy Spirit’s or Jesus Christ’s own glory?

    Also, in John 5:19 we see:

    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. [NASB]

    The Son sees the Father? Can we see the Father?

    And, then John 5:21:

    21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. [NASB]

    Given your theory, then Jesus must have given (eternal) life to whom He wished by the power of the Holy Spirit. Can we give eternal life to whom we want by the Holy Spirit?

    Going further, so you believe God the Word, The Word made flesh, God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity was born with the sinful human condition of all mankind post-Fall? Could God (Jesus Christ) have sinnned?

    Since you believe God the Word “had to lay aside all divine privileges and walk in life like any other Jew without any advantage whatsoever”, I suggest you read this:

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

    and the second part:

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

    In this two-part article are quotes from theologians far more learned than myself.

    Joseph, you wrote: “When Jesus died, we died; when Jesus rose from the dead, we rose from the dead (this is where the term “born again” makes sense). When He ascended to the throne we ascended with Him. When He entered into the heavenly Holy of holies (Heb 9:12, 24), He did it AS us to the point that we are called now His body.

    While I don’t disagree with the basic thrust of what you’re conveying, I will not ever concede that the term “born again” should ever apply to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior for two reasons:

    1) Orthodox Christianity understands the term to apply to unregenerate mankind who is subsequently ‘born again’ (actually ‘born from above’ is more accurate). Jesus was NEVER an unregenerate sinner

    2) Part of the ‘Jesus Died Spiritually’ (JDS) heresy is the claim that Jesus Christ went to hell, took on the nature of Satan and was subsequently ‘born again’. It is one of the most blasphemous, dispicable heresies ever.

    Joseph, you wrote: “As for miracles, signs and wonders, I simply [don't know] why we don’t realize that our God is a God of wonders and miracles. He doesn’t change; He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:5).

    And, I’m not disagreeing with you.

  92. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    WE don’t ‘have in us the divine nature'; we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit while yet retaining our old sinful nature. [ed: the next two sentences are edited] We are constantly in battle with the flesh as witness Paul in Romans 7. We submit to the Spirit for victory over the flesh.

    I don’t believe Just1ofHis denies that God can heal the sick.

    The “works” in James 2:20 do not necessarily refer to miracles. In context, James is speaking more about good deeds done by the power of the Holy Spirit rather than the flesh.

  93. Joseph says:

    2 Peter 1:4 indicates that we have a divine nature, although I don’t claim we are “gods”. What I’m saying is that since we are sons of God, we share the divine nature due to the fact we have been born from above.

    Aren’t we being changed from glory to glory?

    2 Cor 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

    By the way, I do recognize we still live in a “body of humiliation”, so don’t think I believe we are above everyone else. But if I’m going to be an overcomer, I need to see myself as God, my Abba sees me. If I see myself from God’s perspective, I will act like a son of God, and not as a “forgiven sinner.”

    I need to move from being justified to being a part of God’s family… Like Father, like son

  94. Craig says:

    2 Peter 1:4 does not indicate that we (born from above believers) HAVE a divine nature; it indicates that we partake of the divine nature. I can partake of a drink of tea; but, I don’t HAVE or BECOME the tea. Do you see the difference?

    Yes, we are transformed as we submit to the Holy Spirit, yet, of course, we are never perfected in this life. The sinful nature never leaves us. It’s always a struggle – contrary to Bill Johnson who intimates that we can become sinless.

    You wrote By the way, I do recognize we still live in a “body of humiliation”, so don’t think I believe we are above everyone else. But if I’m going to be an overcomer, I need to see myself as God, my Abba sees me. If I see myself from God’s perspective, I will act like a son of God, and not as a “forgiven sinner.”

    I nearly agree with this; however, we don’t “act like a son of God”, we submit to the Holy Spirit rather than the sinful flesh (Galatians 5:16-26).

  95. just1ofhis says:

    Joseph: “The error I see here is because it appears we don’t understand what His purpose was. His “mission” was to be a covenant representative of mankind in order to undo Adam’s sin of rebellion that brought the entire race into deep darkness. In order to that Jesus had to lay aside all divine privileges and walk in life like any other Jew without any advantage whatsoever.”

    Jesus did not undo Adam’s sin of rebellion. He took the punishment that was due to Adam and every other sinner born in this world, thereby satisfying the wrath of God toward all who would believe in Him. Jesus was not a “covenant representative of mankind”, but very Son of God in whom all the fullness of the diety dwells in bodily form. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh.

    If Jesus had undone Adam’s sin of rebellion, than none of us would need salvation by faith through grace provided through the blood of Jesus. By faith alone, in Christ alone, through grace alone….

  96. just1ofhis says:

    Joseph:
    “Justoneofhis

    Joseph >> You miss entirely the point my friend. Our entire life is supernatural in its essence. Just the fact that you are being conformed to the image of our Savior by the hand of the Spirit of God should be sufficient for you to understand that not only you have your feet firmly planted on earth, but you are also a citizen of heaven, an heir of God and joint heir with Jesus Christ. You are a son of God by faith in Jesus Christ. You have in you the divine nature which makes you part of the divine family….

    So you think our life is not filled with the miraculous? If you can’t believe God to heal the sick, you imply He doesn’t care about our plight.

    Do you believe He loves you? Then believe that faith without works is dead also (Ja 2:20)”

    Not only do I believe in the miraculous, I have experienced it first hand, including healings…and, yes, I am talking about the hands-on-kind. Would you like me to tell you first hand stories about angelic intervention to stop a physical assault, tongues, dreams, visions, healings–both my own and others, peace and joy? God is so big and such an overwhelming part of my life, that I would have to write a very long book to list all of the “miraculous” I have seen….all of it to His glory and confirming His Holy Word! If you believe that I have “entirely missed the point”, than you are certainly entitled to that opinion.

    For the record, I believe that God cares so much about our plight that physical healings, visions, tongues, signs and wonders are the LEAST of the miraculous that the true born-again Christian could experience. What could possibly be more miraculous than an utterly lost sinner that I was being convicted by the Holy Spirit of my sin and driven with absolute joy into the Word of God which is Jesus Christ in the flesh to learn about mercy, repentance, and forgiveness. I believe that God cares first and foremost about our ETERNAL SALVATION, because physical healing means absolutely NOTHING if the soul is lost to hell anyway (think of 10 lepers healed and only one returned to Jesus in gratitude). I believe that God loves us so much, that He will allow us to go through trials and tribulations, including sickness, to rebuke or correct us or simply to grow our faith. But the God who rebukes also delievers….

    I tell you the truth, there are multitudes of Christians from the past 2000 years whose only “works” have been to believe in the Word of God and to live out their lives in humble service to Him through Jesus Christ….doing all the little things like feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and visiting the sick….taking care of there families and friends in any little way they could. AND there are multitudes of Christians whose only “works” have been miracles in the name of Jesus Christ….and He will send them away from Him to eternal damnation in hell, telling them first that He NEVER KNEW THEM.

  97. just1ofhis says:

    I would add to “miraculous” the efforts of people like Craig who run these blogs and keep encouraging others in the Word of God in a day when so many people are being exposed to false doctrines, empty gospels, and a new-age “jesus” (nothing “new” about that!).

    It was through a blog like this (M’Kayla’s) that I first started reading stories like my own. God used it to teach, encourage, rebuke and protect me…and teach me better how to discern truth from error through His Word. The “supernatural” of God is manifest in all kinds of “natural” works, including these.

    Zacchaeus, the tax collector, comes to mind here. Here was a little man (short…had to climb a tree to see Jesus) who was a thief. He was hated by the people, but he was loved by the LORD. Jesus came into the home of Zacchaeus. That was all that it took. This despised theif vowed to pay back those he had cheated (4x’s over mind you) and to give away half of all he had to the poor. Jesus announced that salvation had come to the house of Zacchaeus on that day. The “supernatural” work of God in the life of Zacchaeus involved repentance and generosity. This man was not sent out to heal the sick and raise the dead….although I believe his generosity and repentance probably “raised” more than one dead person. Imagine receiving back 4 times from some person who cheated you 15 years ago…

    Note: Jesus did not pray to “grow” out the legs of Zacchaeus….

  98. Joseph says:

    Justoneofhis >> Jesus did not undo Adam’s sin of rebellion. He took the punishment that was due to Adam and every other sinner born in this world, thereby satisfying the wrath of God toward all who would believe in Him. Jesus was not a “covenant representative of mankind”, but very Son of God in whom all the fullness of the diety dwells in bodily form. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh.

    Joseph << No, I disagree completely with your belief (actually, it is a generic belief that all of us have been forced to accept). If you want to talk about the “wrath of God” you would have to clarify how He poured His wrath (and on whom).

    If you say on Jesus, then you have an impossible dilemma because this belief destroys the unity of the Trinity and sets the Father against the Son (even for a little while). This means that the devil was able through sin fracture the Holy Trinity, therefore at the end, he won…

    This belief makes our Abba (Father) look like a hateful monster who abandoned His Son in His worst moment, therefore He should not be trusted because “if we sin” (or when we sin), He might just to the same He did to His "beloved" Son.

    So, “For God sooooo loved the world” becomes for God so hated sin that He poured His ire on His Son… (Get my drift?). It's not biblical.

    Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) Please provide chapter and verse where they were no longer ONE.

    OK… (not trying to start an argument here… ;-)…..

    Let me clarify what I believe. Father so loved us that He sent our covenant representative to undo the sin of Adam in order to have us back into His everlasting arms of love… Jesus dealt with the devil first (John 12:31, 16:11) because he was the root of the problem. He became sin on our behalf (2 Cor 5:19) in order to reconcile us back to Abba.

    In His death He dealt with the sin that had separated us (death) from His love (Ro 6:8; Col 2:12; 2Ti 2:11). In His resurrection He brought us back to life (Col 2:12-13). In His ascension, He brought us up to heaven and seated us in heavenly places with Him (Eph 2:6).

    This is why we are called "the body of Christ." What happened to Jesus happened to us. He took our history, so that we could take His. Love conquered, and as result, we won too.

    Pretty simple and beautiful, ain’t it? ;-)

    Justoneofhis <>

    Joseph << My brother, I have not insinuated that the salvation that God has provided in His Son is automatic. It is my understanding that the doors are open to everyone who believes. The gospel of the love of Abba in Christ is the key to enter to the door of life.

    The gospel of Jesus Messiah is not about the wrath of God (or about hell if we don't believe). It is about the love of the Father towards us who sent the Son to undo the sin of Adam. The Holy Spirit is the actualizing of this awesome salvation and the downpayment of it. He is our pledge that proves that God's word is true (Eph 1:13)

    Sanctification is on its way to glorification… We are NOW sons of God (Ro 8:14; Gal 3:26)

  99. Joseph says:

    Justoneof his <>

    Joseph << Physical healing means something to the one who receives it, whether he believes or not, however, I must've misunderstood you… My apologies.

  100. Joseph says:

    Graig << 2 Peter 1:4 does not indicate that we (born from above believers) HAVE a divine nature; it indicates that we partake of the divine nature. I can partake of a drink of tea; but, I don’t HAVE or BECOME the tea. Do you see the difference?

    Yes, we are transformed as we submit to the Holy Spirit, yet, of course, we are never perfected in this life. The sinful nature never leaves us. It’s always a struggle – contrary to Bill Johnson who intimates that we can become sinless.

    Joseph << You are correct. I didn't revise my answer. We are partakers of the divine nature…

  101. Craig says:

    Joseph/all,

    This much we do know:

    1) Jesus Christ was both fully/truly God and fully/truly man. His deity was not diminished nor was He anything less than fully human while He walked this earth.

    2) God (Jesus Christ) cannot sin, cannot be sin, and God cannot die (known as immutability impassibility).

    3) Yet Jesus Christ “became sin” (2 Cor 5:21) so that we might become the “righteousness of God”.

    4) Yet Jesus Christ died on the Cross.

    How do we reconcile all that? See here (and follow the links):

    http://carm.org/can-god-die

  102. just1ofhis says:

    Joseph,

    Who’s will was it that Jesus suffer death on a cross?

    If you read Isaiah 53, God answers the question in His own words:

    “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)

    Jesus, himself, answered the question:

    “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I LOVE THE FATHER AND THAT I DO EXACTLY WHAT MY FATHER HAS COMMANDED ME.” (John 14: 30-31)

    In your take on things, Paul must erroneously be forcing this belief on Christians when he says in Romans 5:9-10:

    “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

    John the Baptist must have held a similar view of things. How strange that Jesus didn’t correct him at His baptism.

    “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, FOR GOD’S WRATH REMAINS ON HIM.” (John 3:36)

    Hebrews:

    “Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy THROUGH THE SACRIFICE OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL.” (Hebrews 10:9-10)

    Why do you think Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God? We are set free by the sacrifice of His blood to become the children of God. That was absolutely God’s will, and Jesus fulfilled it willingly. You make an assumption that for this to occur, Father and Son were no longer one. Yet the Bible is perfectly clear that it is God who is our Savior.

    “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” (Isa 43:11)

    God, Himself, provided the sacrifice that would redeem all He calls and chooses among men. The fullness of the diety in the bodily form of Jesus fully submitted to the will of God the Father to save us Himself….God among us…the Word made flesh….that flesh given for us for the forgiveness of our sins.

    This is the gospel 101.

  103. just1ofhis says:

    Joseph said: “This belief makes our Abba (Father) look like a hateful monster who abandoned His Son in His worst moment, therefore He should not be trusted because “if we sin” (or when we sin), He might just to the same He did to His “beloved” Son.”

    This is a word-of-faith type teaching that is misleading and renders the cross useless. It is a view that is also being propigated by the emergents to lead people away from repentance and acceptance of the gift of salvation through the blood of the spotless Lamb, Jesus Christ. It is the “good god” false “gospel”. It completely misses the truth of salvation.

    God is good and there is not any darkness in Him. He is Holy, and sin cannot dwell with Him. The Bible tells us that the punishment for sin is death. In light of the fact that we have all sinned, then we all are due the punishment for sin which is death. In His goodness and righteousness, God would be just in destroying us all. But, God loves us so much, that He refused to simply leave it that way.

    “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrigheousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1: 8-10)

    “For God so loved the world THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

    Peter wanted to save Jesus, but Jesus rebuked him:

    Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! SHALL I NOT DRINK THE CUP THE FATHER HAS GIVEN ME?” (John 18: 11)

    I would encourage you to read Isaiah 43 (which clearly establishes God as our Savior) and Isaiah 52 and 53 (which clearly establish the suffering and glory of the Servant whom God would crush to heal us).

    What a beautiful story of compassion and love!

  104. just1ofhis says:

    Joseph,

    You quoted Colossians twice, yet Colossians clearly states the substitutionary nature of the death of Jesus:

    “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, BUT MAKING PEACE THROUGH HIS BLOOD, SHED ON THE CROSS.” (Col 1:20)

    This also answers your question of how could God satisfy His wrath through Jesus and yet still have them be one…because all the fullness of God dwells in Jesus! God, Himself is our Savior through Christ.

  105. Joseph says:

    1. Joseph, you wrote, “However, to believe that Jesus worked His miracles because He was God is a grave error because it makes Him look like He was playing a pretending game. Either He lived as a real Man in subjection to the Law of Moses and in complete submission to His Father’s will, or He didn’t.”

    Let’s let Scripture determine the answer:

    11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. [John 2:11, NASB]

    Manifested whose glory? The Holy Spirit’s or Jesus Christ’s own glory?

    Joseph <> Also, in John 5:19 we see:

    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. [NASB]

    The Son sees the Father? Can we see the Father?

    Joseph << Perhaps you missed what Jesus was saying here. He “sees” the Father because the Father showed Him what to do, whether in a vision, a word or a “sudden knowing.”

    The “seeing” is an internal kind of seeing where He perfectly understood what Father wanted to do.

    We do that too Craig but in a far lesser way. The Lord might give us a word of wisdom or a dream in the night to speak to us about a particular issue, or He might simply put a word in our hearts and suddenly we know something without a shadow of a doubt, although we don’t know why we know.

    God is the speaking God and has never ceased to communicate with His body. To believe otherwise would be to deny our relationship with Him.

    Craig << And, then John 5:21:

    21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. [NASB]

    Given your theory, then Jesus must have given (eternal) life to whom He wished by the power of the Holy Spirit. Can we give eternal life to whom we want by the Holy Spirit?

    Joseph << I don’t have a theory. You do. I can’t believe that we have a mutation of a God-man-man-God sometimes and when it’s convenient. Either Jesus acted as 100% Man or He didn’t. You tell me.

    Second, your question above does not make any sense. I’m not the covenant representative of mankind. Jesus is.

    Craig << Going further, so you believe God the Word, The Word made flesh, God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity was born with the sinful human condition of all mankind post-Fall? Could God (Jesus Christ) have sinnned?

    Joseph << Please hear me. I believe in God incarnate, the Word made flesh, God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. Yes, I do believe that. What I say and I gave you scripture (Ro 8:2-3). Jesus lived in a body like any one of us (no difference), except that He was born without sin.

    I’m saying that He saw His world through Adam’s eyes (after the fall) just like we all do, thus perfectly identified with our horrific plight, yet every choice He made was in perfect sync with His Father’s will.

    He was also tempted in every possible way just as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15). Do you believe the Lord was pretending to be tempted? Do you think He was pretending feeling the illusion of separation when He cried out, “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?” What about Gethsemane when He sweated drops of blood? Was that a put on or was the REAL MAN facing agony that He wished it didn’t have to happen?

    In your opinion, which was it?

    Graig << Since you believe God the Word “had to lay aside all divine privileges and walk in life like any other Jew without any advantage whatsoever”, I suggest you read this:

    Joseph << Scriptures tells us that He did just that…

    NAU Phil 2:5-8 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself (margin “He laid aside His privileges), taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

    Graig << In this two-part article are quotes from theologians far more learned than myself.
    Joseph, you wrote: “When Jesus died, we died; when Jesus rose from the dead, we rose from the dead (this is where the term “born again” makes sense). When He ascended to the throne we ascended with Him. When He entered into the heavenly Holy of holies (Heb 9:12, 24), He did it AS us to the point that we are called now His body.”

    While I don’t disagree with the basic thrust of what you’re conveying, I will not ever concede that the term “born again” should ever apply to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior for two reasons:

    Joseph << I didn’t say that at all, nor did I implied it… lol! That would be blasphemy in my opinion. I was speaking about “us” being born again not the Lord.

    I appreciate the time where we both can share what we have learned in the secret place.

  106. Joseph says:

    Please clarify what you are saying. You did not follow my reasoning but went on an tangent and accused me of following the “Word of Faith” doctrines, which I personally detest.

    What part of my explanation you did not understand? Let’s start from there…

  107. Joseph says:

    Joseph >> I don’t understand why you feel the need to teach others what they already know…

    Please state clearly, which particular part of what I said you don’t agree.

  108. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    You’ve still not answered the question regarding John 2:11.

    The fundamental issue is how you understand/exegete Philippians 2:5-8; see the two part article to which I referred earlier.

    Jesus Christ was fully functioning as God while He walked the earth. This is how He was able to sustain the cosmos (see Col 1:17; Heb 1:3). The Incarnation is a divine mystery which we cannot fully comprehend. Paul said this himself:

    16 Beyond all comprehension, the mystery of godliness is great:
    He appeared in a body,
    was vindicated by the Spirit,
    was seen by angels,
    was preached from the nations,
    was believed on in the world,
    was taken up in glory.
    [I Timothy 3:16, NIV 1984]

    As to Jesus’ temptation: He never had the ability to actually sin; yet, He could entirely feel the temptations as He was fully/completely human. His divinity would NEVER allow Him to have sinned. God does not sin!

    So, how do you explain John 5:21, i.e. how do explain that Jesus was able to give life to whom He chose to give it if it wasn’t by His own divine initiate and authority rather than the Holy Spirit? Doesn’t this verse state explicitly that Jesus used His own divine attributes rather than having ‘laid them aside’?

  109. Joseph says:

    Hi Craig, I did but for some reason when I copied and pasted my answer from Word, a portion got lost. Now, before I answer, I would like to know about the possibility of editing our responses when we catch some grammar errors. Will that be available?

    OK, now to my answer. You asked how did Jesus show His glory in John 2:11. My response was that the glory of the Lord has always been His love. In this case, He revealed His compassion to a young couple of hillbillies who were in a bind. The celebration had gone on but in the middle of their wedding party, when suddenly they ran out of wine.

    The issue at hand was something that Jesus had nothing to do with, yet their tradition insisted that if they didn’t have wine their marriage would be without joy. So, at insistence of His mother, the Lord did what Father told Him and turned 180 gallons of water into fresh, delicious wine.

    His love for this couple who we don’t even know their names was demonstrated in a lavish miracle that overflowed beyond measure. Think about it, 180 gallons of wine!!! How long did it last?

    The miracle pointed to the goodness of God that promised them years and years of love in His Son who gave them much more than what they needed! Nothing but a symbol of God’s riches that never end.

    What did Paul say in Gal 6:14? He gloried in the cross of Christ (KJV), who is the most amazing demonstration of God’s love to us, although it looks like complete stupidity to the people of this world.

    So, the glory of God was amply demonstrated when the blind man was healed despite the opposition of the religious tyrants that didn’t give a fig how long this man had been healed.

  110. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    Unfortunately, there’s no way for the commentator to edit his/her comment once posted. I will sometimes correct obvious errors as I see them, however. If you see an error just after you submit your comment and that comment has not yet been released live on the site, just post a follow up comment with the corrections. But, once a comment is released, the best course of action is to just post a followup with the corrections. I still may correct the original comment, but it will depend on the nature of the correctsion(how much?, theological signficance, etc.).

    As re: John 2:11, my larger point is that Jesus must have done this Himself as the Scripture specifically states it was to reveal His (Jesus’) glory. But, this is not the only case in which Jesus clearly utilized His divine attributes; Jesus also raised Himself from the dead (John 2:19/John 10:17-18).

    Yes, Jesus was fully man; but, He was also fully God and His divinity was not diminished by the addition of His human nature/body. Of course, Jesus, in His physical human body was not omnipresent; however, in His divine nature He sustained the cosmos (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17) thereby using His omnipotence, omniscience and (I argue) omnipresence.

    This doctrine has been firmly established since 451AD at the Council of Chalcedon and has been nearly unanimously affirmed by the Church universal since then.

  111. Joseph says:

    Well, we disagree on this one. My belief will not be changed, otherwise I have to ask myself the question whether Jesus pretended to be tempted or worse, whether there was any reality in the fact that He could not sin… If He could not sin, then the whole thing was a sham, a game, a put on.

    Man walked into death and lost His glory, became darkness (Eph 5:8) and entered into the world of the un-being, where everything was turned upside down. In fact He broke the covenant (Hosea 6:7) and became a self for self being where he was the center of his world. This was the total opposite of what God had meant for him. Instead of walking with the Lord and fill His earth with the glory of His love, he became a grasping, needy, egotistical creature that lived in a mirror of distorted pictures.

    Man did it, man had to to undo it, otherwise all would be lost. If Jesus acted just once as God, He would have forfeited His place as our covenant representative, and the enemy would had called His bluff.

    The fact that Paul called the Lord the last Adam (1Cor 15:45), tells me that Jesus was in the process of undoing the sin of Adam by reliving humanity one all over again. But this time, this Man did it the right way and reversed the curse for good because as creator He was worth His entire creation.

    Yes, He was God but God in humiliation, always depending on his Father to do the right thing because He was mankind’s representative. So, when He won, we won. his history is now our history, His victory is our victory.

    No wonder He called Himself , “The Son of Man” or perhaps for better understanding, “the Son of mankind.”

  112. Craig says:

    Unfortunately, your view is in the extreme minority. But, more importantly, it violates Scripture as I’ve clearly shown.

    Jesus’ favorite self-designation was “Son of Man”, yet He also referred to Himself as Son of God. He was/is the unique God-man – fully/truly God and fully/truly man.

    Atonement had to made by a perfect, sinless man; however, no man could be perfect or sinless. This is why it take God in human form to effect Atonement. Jesus was the Lamb who laid down His life for the whole world.

  113. Carolyn says:

    Hi Joseph. I used to have a one-dimensional thinking versus trying to comprehend that Christ was inseparable from the Trinity, from eternity which included when he was a man… He never left his divinity behind. Philippians does not say that he left his divinity behind. It says he left his attitude about being God behind and humbled himself putting himself into the place of a servant. He came to serve man, to seek and to save that which was lost.

    As far as his being One with the Father and the Spirit even when he was a man, it is without question. His glory was unveiled when he was transfigured in front of his disciples. Up to that time, his glory had remained veiled. And even as his glory was manifested, he didn’t allow his disciples to say anything ahead of time.

    The demons also were silenced by Jesus, because they knew who he was and his power…and they were terrified at his presence. Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

    The thing I have come to understand is that the Trinity is indivisible. Christ didn’t leave the Trinity when he came down to Earth. They still worked as a unit. Everywhere you saw Christ, you saw the Father and the Holy Spirit i.e.: the baptism, the transfiguration, the cross. They worked together to accomplish the act of redeeming fallen man from his captive state of sin and death.

    So much to learn…

  114. Joseph says:

    To Justoneofhis from Joseph:

    Hi, please show me where in the bible does it say that God poured out His wrath against His own Son. Chapter and verse will suffice.

    Now, please let me clarify somethings before we get all confused. In order to do this I have to go back to my last post for a moment. I said among other words the following,

    “This belief (that God poured out His wrath on His own Son) makes our Abba (Father) look like a hateful monster who abandoned His OWN Son at His worst moment. He was in fact betraying Him by leaving Him alone to the wolves.

    IF THAT WAS THE CASE, we should all conclude that we cannot really place our trust in Him because the danger lies that it might just happen to us what happened to Jesus.

    So, by pouring HIs wrath on His Son, God the Father was in fact dividing the Trinity making the devil the winner at the end and by fracturing Himself for good.

    Did Jesus ever said that the Father would turn against Him? Please clarify where if you believe that…

    Also, please remember that this is not what I believe. This tragic picture is nothing but an extension of YOUR OWN BELIEFS IF WE TAKE THEM DOWN TO ITS RATIONAL CONCLUSSION.

    So, in defense of our God, I would say that God was in the hands of angry sinners whose only purpose was to get rid of Him once and for all. (Let’s kill God!)

    Please believe me, I was taught that the Father couldn’t stand the sight of the Son on the cross that He turned the other way and left Him completely alone. Please recognize that this is not a personal vendetta from my part to expose your beliefs. Actually, it should be an eye opener for all of us.

    God the Father always loved God the Son and God the Son always loved God the Father. This unlimited, un-beginning and without end agape-love is the Person of the Holy Spirit, who now has shed this love into our hearts (Ro. 5:5)

    By the way, I have nothing to do with the Word Faith movement. Please be careful before you try to label me. Thank you,

  115. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    How about, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?”

  116. Joe says:

    I never said that either, so I don’t know what your point is….

  117. Joe says:

    Ahh, that is the illusion of being utterly alone! I say that because once the moment passed, a few minutes later He was committing His Spirit into His hands…

    True or not?

  118. Craig says:

    Joe,

    This “illusion” as you call it, did the Trinity collapse at this moment? Certainly, as you’ve pointed out below, He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8), i.e. His divinity/deity was never diminished.

  119. Craig says:

    Jesus committed His human spirit into the Father’s hands, but not His divine Spirit.

  120. Joe says:

    No, I don’t think my beliefs violate scriptures Graig. Actually, I have explained why I believe that Jesus did not act as God once. Besides, you have not responded to what I said about Gethsemane’s temptation (was it real or not?).

    You have not responded to the impossibility of not being able to sin. I ask you again, could Jesus have sinned? Why? Why not?

    If you say no, the whole thing was a charade (Heb 4:15 becomes completely irrelevant). If you say yes, you are agreeing with the minority that just happen to understand the Lord’s incarnation in a way that satisfies all possible requirements from a infinite perfect God.

    Lastly, what was the need of the charade in the wilderness when Jesus could’ve simply sent the devil packing without so many “theatrics?” (Fasted 40 days, became starved, etc). What for? He just could’ve acted as God. Period. Yes or no? ;-)

  121. Joseph says:

    Dear Graig, I’m totally lost now. Jesus had a divine spirit? Is that a new teaching?

  122. just1ofhis says:

    Joe,

    Once again, Isaiah 53, the entire chapter, clearly lays out that it was indeed the will of God Almighty to pierce Jesus for our sins. And it was Jesus’ will to lay down His own life in obedience to this command from His Father. You have already been given the verses.

    I’m sorry if you sat under twisted teachings growing up. Most of us who post here can relate to your experience. BUT, that does not change the truth of scripture. To believe what you are saying, I would have to start by throwing out the entire chapter 53 of Isaiah. Once I was done there, I would have to eliminate a great deal of what Jesus had to say about himself, including a huge chunk of the gospel of John.

    The Pharisees and the Jews did not want to “kill God”. They did not recognize Him! They believed that they were killing someone who was lying and leading people away from God.

    “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:10-11)

  123. just1ofhis says:

    Joe,
    Your view of the person of Jesus is almost verbatim what I was taught in the word-of-faith church. Your view of the death of Jesus on the cross is greatly similar to that of Bill Johnson. I’m not accusing you of following either, just pointing out the similarities.

    If I was telling people to bow down to statues of Mary and calling her the queen of Heaven, I would be in great error whether I was Catholic or not.

    How many times did Jesus speak of His coming glorification through His death? When Peter tried to counter Him, He responded with “Get behind me Satan” and explained to Peter that he had in mind worldly things and not heavenly ones. Jesus knew that He would lay down His life and He knew that He would raise it back up again, because that was the command He had from the Father. God did not turn against Him. They are one. Jesus came to fulfill the scriptures and turn back the wrath of God for all who would believe.

  124. Craig says:

    Jesus temptations in the wilderness were not a “charade”; Jesus willingly submitted Himself to the flesh He took on when the Eternal Word became the Incarnate Word. At any point He could have annihilated Satan, yet this was not the way set forth for redemption of the lost.

    Jesus could not have sinned because He was the divine God-man. Divinity cannot sin. Jesus Christ as the Word made flesh, the second Person of the Trinity, could not sin.

    And, this does not make the Incarnation a charade.

    As for Jesus having a divine Spirit (and a human spirit), here’s Wayne Grudem from His Systematic Theology [Zondervan, 1994]:

    …[W]e can understand that in his human nature, Jesus died (Luke 23:46; 1 Cor 15:3). But with respect to his divine nature, he did not die, but was able to raise himself from the dead (John 2:19; 10:17-18; Heb 7:16). Yet here we must give a note of caution: it is true that when Jesus died his physical body died and his human soul (or spirit) was separated from his body and passed into the presence of God the Father in heaven (Luke 23:43, 46). In this way he experienced a death that is like the one we as believers experience if we die before Christ returns. And it is not correct to say that Jesus’ divine nature died, or could die, if “die” means a cessation of activity, a cessation of consciousness, or a diminution of power… [p 560]

  125. Joseph says:

    Joe,

    Graig to Joe >> This “illusion” as you call it, did the Trinity collapse at this moment? Certainly, as you’ve pointed out below, He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8), i.e. His divinity/deity was never diminished.

    I don’t quite understand your question Graig; why would the Trinity collapse when Jesus felt forsaken? Did the Father abandon Him, really?

    Jesus felt for real that He was being forsaken, yet I don’t read anywhere that the Father left Him. My response to that would be that sometimes we feel utterly, utterly alone and God seems to be far, far away. But is He far away or is it just the way we feel?

    Is it an illusion or is it absolute reality?

    Another question that rises out of this discussion. When we sin who separates from who? Is it God or is it us? Couldn’t Jesus have felt the separation because He was personifying sin as us and for us? Is it not possible that at that moment He felt utterly alone, yet He wasn’t?

    OK, Let’s suppose He did, does that warrant He was forsaken? Did the Father suddenly “felt disgusted” and removed His presence from His own Son?

    Perrhaps He did the opposite and whispered to His beloved Son, “I’m here with Son. It is almost over My love. Hang on a few more moments and We will have accomplished Our eternal purpose.”

    Is it possible to believe that God is that good, or is better to believe that this idea of rescuing mankind wasn’t His in the first place. Is it John 3:16 true or not?

    Didn’t Jesus talk to His Abba a few minutes later? I believe most people that believe this would have a case if Jesus had not spoken to the Father in order to commit His Spirit to Him before He died.

    However, if this would have been true, it would open a (BIG) can of worms because if the Father could not stand sin, what was He doing when Jesus walked with all kinds of sinners throughout His ministry years? Doesn’t the word of God say that God was in Christ reconciling the world back to Himself? (2Cor 5:18-19)

    So, if the Father could not stand the presence of His own Son because He became sin, then we could assume that Jesus was greater than the Father because He was always around sinners and loved us more than the Father ever did.

    Do we believe Jesus was greater than the Father because He hung with us, or do we believe the Father was grater than Jesus because He didn’t hung with us? Which is it?

    Do we believe that the light gets contaminated when it passes by garbage? Is the darkness stronger than the light, or is it the other way around? Is God agape-love as John puts it in 1John 4:8 or the whole thing is just a big, fat lie?

    Food for thought, that’s all.

  126. Craig says:

    I’m not sure you’re fully comprehending the dual nature of Christ.

  127. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    When I say you violate Scripture, I mean the following:

    1) Jesus raised Himself from the dead thereby indicating acting in a divine manner (John 2:19, 10:17-18)

    2) Jesus “manifested His [own] glory” in turning the water into wine. (John 2:11)

    3) Jesus gave eternal life to whom He chose (John 5:21)

    You’re focusing merely on the humanity of Jesus Christ, while downplaying (or ignoring) His divinity.

  128. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    I suggest you do a study on the communicatio idomatum, or “communication of attributes” online, or as I’ve written about in the two-part kenosis article I referenced earlier.

  129. Joseph says:

    I’m sorry Craig, but I do not subject myself to study “Systematic Theology”. In my opinion we miss the perfect thread of the scriptures when we do that.

    If you want to talk about the eternal covenant and understand the true Heart of God, you should study “Covenant Theology” which gives us a complete understanding of God’s commitment to us before the foundation of the world. We are in covenant with God, and Systematic theology has very little to do with that.

    Most people believe covenant is some sort of a contract because their western minds forbid them to think differently. This is why we miss the heart of God. We simply do not know Him.

    But I’m sure you will not change your beliefs because of this, but few people know who God is…

    I’m going to rest a while from this blog; I’m exhausted… It’s really taking too much of my time, besides we are not getting anywhere.

    Take care,

    Joseph

  130. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    Systematic Theology works are not in opposition to Covenant Theology necessarily (it will depend on the relative orthodoxy of either/both). Systematic theologians merely take a particular theological subject and ‘systematicize’ it using Scripture. The good ones never go beyond Scripture. There are differences among the various denominational differences, of course.

    Grudem is a continuationist, like Gordon Fee and other theologians. Both are strictly orthodox with respect to the Person of Christ – as all good systematic theologians. Fee’s book (with Douglas Stuart) How to Read the Bible for all Its Worth is an excellent study for properly exegeting Scripture.

    Come back any time.

    In pursuit of Truth,

    Craig

  131. just1ofhis says:

    Joseph said, “But I’m sure you will not change your beliefs because of this, but few people know who God is…”

    Years ago, a dear friend of mine in the LORD was asked to come with another person to the house of a woman in her late 90’s. My friend, young in her walk with the LORD at the time, was very excited as she was going to have the chance to “share the love of the LORD” with this “frail woman”.

    The love of the LORD was indeed shared that day, but not remotely in the way that my friend had imagined it. She met a woman who was vibrant and healthy and devoted to Jesus. This woman was now in the process of bringing her third generation of young people to the LORD. Weekly, she had taken every single child, grandchild, and now great-grandchild to church and led them to the Word of God….every single one. Through 2 world wars, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the wild 60’s, and the greedy 80’s; she had never even broken stride in this task given to her by God.

    My friend was humbled and joyful and still thanks God for leading her to that important lesson. Spiritual elitism is NEVER of God. Many of us have been there at one point in our walk with Him, but He grew us past it. Even Elijah experienced a bit of that, thinking that he was the only faithful one left in all of Israel. But God gently reminded Elijah, as He does all of us, that He indeed has many who are faithful to Him, who do not bow their knees to Ba’al.

    You are correct when you say that I will not change my belief. I believe that the Bible is absolute truth, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Word of God made flesh, that He suffered death on a cross to pay the punishment for my sins and set me free from the powers of sin and death to be a child of the Most High God, and that He was raised from death in the flesh and seated at the right hand of the Almighty, and that He is coming again.

    I will not change that belief, but I will grow in it through the grace of a loving God, as will all who are truly in Him.

  132. Joseph says:

    It is funny that you speak about “spiritual elitism” while all along you have distorted my beliefs and have come closely to accuse me of being part of a cult.

    I have respectfully spent a lot of time trying to explain my beliefs and have defended the honor of my heavenly Father by exposing the lie that He poured out His wrath on His own beloved Son. I went on to explain that the consequences of that belief would have fractured the unity and the love among the Trinity, yet no one of you stopped to think whether what you have been taught may have some loopholes that needs to be looked up with the eyes of the heart.

    You did not provide as requested chapter and verse where the bible says that the Father poured out His wrath on His own Son. I know you can’t because it doesn’t exist. This means we have created out of our own fleshly imaginations a deity that if we are honest enough to admit is nothing but an angry Judge who is so ready to condemn us and send us to hell, BUT (big but), His Son said, “No Father, I have died for Him. You cannot touch Him.”

    This belief is being taught by the biggest pastors of the country (John Hagee comes to mind) and makes the Father look like a mad and angry judge who has no problem in condemning us to the uttermost…

    If I recall correctly, Jonathan Edwards preached a message called, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Isn’t that what we truly believe that God is angry with us? Many people regard his message as one the greatest messages in the history of America’s Christianity.

    Imagine if we all recognize how twisted that message really was. The truth is that it was God crucified in the hands of angry sinners…

    I also believe that the bible is absolute truth and I believe 1 John 4:8 is also truth. God cannot change. He is AGAPE-LOVE before time began and will be throughout all eternity.

    Finally, you said in your post, and I quote:

    “I believe that the Bible is absolute truth, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Word of God made flesh, that He suffered death on a cross to pay the punishment for my sins and set me free from the powers of sin and death to be a child of the Most High God, and that He was raised from death in the flesh and seated at the right hand of the Almighty, and that He is coming again.”

    Well, so do I brother, so do I… even more than what you are willing to accept. All I said is that Jesus’s Abba was never against Him. Never, especially at the cross!

    Is that a pill too hard to swallow? God the Father cannot be that good, is it?

    Thanks for your time brother…

  133. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    With all due respect, your position on the Person of Jesus Christ, with its stubborn refusal to look to those saints who’ve come before us and the well-studied theologians of today [and, to be clear, I'm not putting myself in that category - this is why I quote FROM those sources], smacks of elitism. To be fair, while your position may be a little different from what I term hyper-charismaticism, nonetheless there are many similarities.

    While we all have the indwelling Holy Spirit to impart knowledge, our theology (study of God) is cumulative, i.e. we learn from those who have come before us and those contemporaneous with us. This is why it wasn’t until 451AD, at the Council of Chalcedon, that Christian orthodoxy had a firmly established Christology (study of Christ). That the large majority of historic orthodox Christianity still adheres to the tenets of this Council is a testament in itself. Yet you (along with hyper-charismatics) have decided that you are one of “the few who know who God is”. Joseph, that is elitism!

  134. Joseph says:

    Not a problem brother. I guess I should repent from not believing exactly as you do. I also should repent for having expounded my beliefs to the best of my ability and for having exposed the lie.

    Would it fair to assume that it is more important to listen to the opinion of men rather that question certain beliefs that slanders the character of our Heavenly Father? You be the judge.

    Didn’t Jesus say..?

    Matthew 11:25-26 (NASB) “At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.

    26 “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.”

    God bless…

  135. just1ofhis says:

    For the THIRD time….God pours out His wrath on His Son out of love for us including verse and chapter:

    “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

    “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life, and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servand will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10-11)

    “This is love: not that we loved God, but that h loved us and SENT HIS SON AS AN ATONING SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS.” (1 John 4:10)

    “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, BY MAKING PEACE THROUGH HIS BLOOD, SHED ON THE CROSS.” (Col 1:19-20)

    “I will not speak to you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. HE HAS NO HOLD ON ME, BUT THE WORLD MUST LEARN THAT I LOVE THE FATHER AND THAT I DO EXACTLY WHAT MY FATHER HAS COMMANDED ME.” (John 14:30-31)

    In case you are in doubt of the Godhood of Jesus, consider His warning on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem:

    “They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, BECAUSE YOU DID NOT RECOGNIZE THE TIME OF GOD’S COMING TO YOU.” (Luke 19:44)

    Or this:

    Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Phillip, even after I have been among you such a long time? ANYONE WHO HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.” (John 14:8-10)

    It is not Craig or myself or anyone else on this blog who is standing in opposition to your viewpoint, but the very Word of God.

  136. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    You wrote, “I have respectfully spent a lot of time trying to explain my beliefs and have defended the honor of my heavenly Father by exposing the lie that He poured out His wrath on His own beloved Son.

    While you may have been somewhat respectful in explaining your beliefs, you’ve yet to fully grasp the magnitude of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ was fully man, but He was not merely man. He preexisted as the divine Word/Logos, then He became flesh as the one and only, unique “Word made flesh”, Immanuel (God with us). The point is that He never ceased to be God; He never ceased to function as God. Yes, in His humanity He did human things such as grow hungry, tired, etc.; yet, in His divinity He “never sleeps nor slumbers”. The Incarnation is a divine mystery.

    You wrote, “…I guess I should repent from not believing exactly as you do. I also should repent for having expounded my beliefs to the best of my ability and for having exposed the lie.

    Your elitism is only exceeded by your arrogance.

  137. just1ofhis says:

    “Atoning Sacrifice” is a powerful statement. They are the words of John the apostle, not mine.

    The word that John used in Greek is “hilasmos” which means atonement, propitiation… Propitiation is that which appeases anger and brings reconciliation with someone who has reason to be angry with one.

    In the KJV:

    Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (“hilasmos”) for our sins.

  138. just1ofhis says:

    Praise God for providing “hilasmos”, for great have been my sins! Woe is me, but for the Lamb of God.

    Father, have mercy.

    Karla Fay Tucker comes to my mind here. That she could dance with radiant joy and thank all those who helped her in the name of Jesus Christ before she was executed in Texas for her horrible crimes is such beautiful testimony to the meaning of “hilasmos” through Jesus Christ.

    What an awesome God we serve! I dance with joy, for I have been set free and my robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb!

  139. Carolyn says:

    Here’s why I think that Heaven invading earth will never bring Dominion for us over the Kingdoms of this Earth. Where we failed, Christ triumphed. Satan is still trying to persuade man that he can regain immortality and dominion over planet earth but it is a false gospel, a great deception…It will be, it must be Christ from first to last. We can have no involvement in the plan of redemption except through our faith in the sinless One who has overcome for us.

    In the beginning…God created, God gave man dominion and God saw that it was good. And then the deceiver came and took dominion away from man by tempting him to eat of the forbidden fruit. And there was no man found that could regain dominion over life on earth because God had said, “in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die”. Since God cannot lie and he is bound to his Word…the only thing he could do was work salvation by his own hand. And so he did.

    I don’t believe Satan thought God would ever condescend to save man from this dilemma. But he did.

    1 Corinthians 2:7-9
    7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

    Yes, God did crucify his only son…the wonder of it all is that it was his plan from the beginning. The more we study, the more we see that his beautiful plan of salvation is woven through everything He did…the 7 days of creation, the law, the prophets, the examples of the patriarchs, and the more you see, the more you glory in God’s wisdom and ways.

    So Joseph, you asked what the temptation about? IMO, it was God himself, proving to Satan that Christ, God’s only begotten, could not sin. It was a replay, if you will of the Adam in the Garden where Satan twisted the Word but this time, the second Adam, used the Word against distortion and deception and remained true…for he was Truth itself. It was the beginning of the manifestation of the Son of Man…and what he had come to do….

    All other man centred plans to take back dominion are deceivers and false prophets. No one can change or alter what God has already spoken…therefore the whole Heaven Invading Earth…is deception.

    Acts 1:11
    “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

  140. Joseph says:

    Yes, anger, wrath, etc came from men who crucified The Lord of glory. I quote William Paul Young in his second book titled “Crossroads” where one of his characters say,

    “Two days ago was Good Friday, you know, the day we all poured out our wrath on Jesus hanging on a cross. The day He entered into our experience completely, go so deeply lost in all our crap that only His Father could find Him… That what that day was. God in the hands of angry sinners day.” (Chap 19, page 271-272)

    I kind of agree with this wonderful author of “The Shack” (absolutely wonderful book) because it made think as to who was angry with whom?

    1- Men slandered His holy character, lied about Him, accused Him of false charges.
    2- Men beat Him up to an inch of His death, men marred His face more than any other man. Men slapped Him, kicked Him, scourged Him and put a crown of thorns on His head.
    3- Men nailed Him on a cross naked, dislocated His arms, ridiculed Him, taunted Him, insulted Him and finally killed Him.
    4- Even after He was dead these mad men didn’t leave Him alone and one of them pierced Him with a spear…

    Isaiah 53:4 tells us the incredible that these men (us) esteemed stricken ad smitten of God when in fact THEY WERE DOING THE SMITING!!!

    “Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

    Yes sir, a dear little Lamb was used as a punching bag to pour out our wrath on God. And what do we do? We twist it once again and blame God and accuse Him of hating His Son.

    Yes ladies and gentlemen, this ugly distortion comes right of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and most of of us are d***ed [edited] proud of it!

  141. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    Why on earth would you quote from the author of The Shack?! The man wrote some of the most awful things regarding the Trinity in that horrendous book. There are many reviews online showing its atrocities. Yes, the book is fiction, but the Trinity is portrayed as reflecting an adequate explanation of the Triune Godhead. And, you yourself are quoting from it as if it’s factual which proves my point.

    If you’re going to read extra-Biblical literature, I highly suggest reading works that properly expound the Word of God, not this sort of ugliness.

    No one has accused God of “hating His Son” on here. Where did you get that idea? You totally misunderstand the Atonement. Do you not get that Jesus was a willing sacrifice to be crucified at the hands of God’s enemies in order to bring forth salvation to those who would believe on Him? Do you not understand that it was the collective sins past, present, and future of mankind that crucified Christ? My sins. Your sins.

    And, why would you use a curse word as exclamation (which I edited)? Are you stating that “most” and “you” are damned; and, if so, why should you be “proud of it”? With this you show your spiritual immaturity. Perhaps its time for the meat of the Word rather than just the milk of which you’ve partaken – if we can even call it milk.

  142. Joseph says:

    Graig: Just so you know, I was quoting this wonderful author who happens to be outside of the religious box that most Christians are in. I loved The Shack for many reasons, one of them being the beautiful way the author portrayed the relationship among the Godhead. You should read it.

    Now you tell me honesty since in your opinion God was wrathfully against His Son, and God hates sin, it is very easy to put two and two together since Jesus became sin on our behalf.

    This is just another way to demonstrate that this theory of yours holds no water. ;-)

  143. Carolyn hit on my thoughts as I was reading through the comments. I read Joseph’s words about how if Jesus could not have sinned the whole thing is a sham and I wondered why he thinks this.

    Why would your whole belief in the gospel fall apart just because Satan tried his old tricks on Jesus, but Jesus could not sin? Why does it all hinge on your idea of what constitutes a temptation?

    Maybe the whole example is not about it being a “real” temptation in the sense that Jesus could sin, but simply that Satan did not understand WHAT was going on and so he was trying to do what he always tries to do when he sees someone faithful to God. To me that is what is said in that Jesus was tempted just as we are: Satan tempts. That is the common ground. He tried to tempt Jesus, he tries to tempt us.

    Satan may have known SOMETHING was happening, but he clearly did not understand what God was doing (1 Cor 2:7-9)

    Why didn’t Jesus just do a God-thing in the desert? Well for the same reason he didn’t do a God-thing by calling down a legion of angels to rescue Him from the guards, because He did the Father’s will.

  144. Craig says:

    Joseph,

    Your last comment demonstrates that you just do not understand the two natures of Christ [added:] – nor His love for mankind in providing Atonement.

    I’ve skimmed through The Shack, especially the portions on the Trinity. It’s blasphemy.

  145. Carolyn says:

    A couple of things for Joseph to think about:

    What kind of pathetic God do we serve that could not have rescued his Son from a few angry sinners. Sinners were useful only in that they proved their sinfulness and carried out the Father’s will in laying down his life as an atoning sacrifice.

    Note: Yes, I disagree that with Finney’s…”Sinners in the hands of an angry God”…. To me it is emotional fiction in order to manipulate men for a decision….

    But we can speak of God’s holiness. It was our sins that separated us from the holiness of God…we could not come near until we were clothed with righteousness. A sacrifice for sins was required. And so God, in our place was the sacrifice…read it for yourself.

    Romans 3:25
    God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

    Christ rebuked his disciples who wanted to fight for his life. He could have called 12 legions of angels…(ah…I see that the untangling has preceded me in my thoughts on this matter….)

    Matthew 26:52-54
    King James Version (KJV)
    52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
    53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
    54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

    And lastly…The Shack? Craig said it right. My own thoughts are…it is a disgraceful, distorted and imaginative myth depicting the Trinity. There’s only one source from which a lie like that could have originated. The sickeningly sweet ideals of Paul William Young in this book reveal not Truth, but a work of fiction. Joseph…now I’m asking you…where would you find support for this sort of emotional fantasy in the Scripture? It bears NO resemblance to the Trinity of the Eternal Godhead!

  146. just1ofhis says:

    Joseph said, “This is just another way to demonstrate that this theory of yours holds no water. ”

    Joseph, You’ve been provided the scriptures, chapter and verse, which support the points that Craig and Carolyn and myself have been making. Craig hasn’t presented some half-baked theory on this blog, but the very words out of the mouth of God. It is the Lord Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, whom you are doing violence to with your words. That is something you will have to contend with.

    Recommending to anyone a book like “The Shack” is as bad as recommending Harry Potter. That you are allowing it to influence your thinking regarding the person of Jesus is chilling.

    “Outside the religious box” as provided in the Word of God is death and eternal darkness.

  147. Carolyn says:

    Sorry, my comment on Finney is garbled. What I meant to say is that if he was using an evangelistic technique of fear for the purpose of manipulating sinners into an emotional decision, then will the end result be a true informed and conscious decision to repent of one’s sin? What is the stimulus for evoking a response…a Scripturally based invitation or a man induced technique?

  148. Joe says:

    Well, that’s your opinion and you are entitled to it. I respect that, and hope you respect mine.

    I consider the Shack a book that the church needs desperately to read so that we can understand that God is the original Society of love and relationship. He is in fact the Original Family!

    This particular book has some incredible things to say about judgment, repentance, and love, but most of you have concentrated in the “theology part” that Paul did on purpose in order to challenge some of the prejudices that we have about God, and missed completely a big part of the book that deals with internal pain.

    Sadly, the majority of the church that love to have God in a box cried out foul to the highest heaven because of this wonderful book that Craig calls “blasphemy.” Strong words to use against a brother in the faith that may have confused some things on purpose in his passion to see God at work in the lives or ordinary people like “Mack.”

    IMHO this is very judgmental on those who have not read the book in its entirety, yet have strong opinions against it.

    But the fact is that most of the people that would like to send the writer to hell for “such blasphemy” are nothing but legalists that only see black and white. The beautiful thing is that despite the controversy, 18 million people that read the book learned for the first time that there a facet of God that we know nothing about. It is called “passionate agape-love” intertwined in a love-embrace where personal relationships get entangled to the intent that God gave them right from the beginning of time.

    He is not the angry Judge that some of us portray Him to be. He is love—-passionate love that will not let go of us. He is a “SONG” that comes through a million colors that delight the soul in a million different ways. “The heavens declare His glory and the firmament proclaim the work of His hands.”

    We should get used to this awesome God that has manifested Himself in 3 precious Persons because we are going to spend the rest of eternity with Him.

    The fact that we are nick picking the teachings of Bill Johnson, a brother in the faith shows me how disjointed we are in the body. We were told to love one another, agape style, yet we have done just the opposite. We have raised up walls by building doctrines upon doctrines, by raising up thousands of denominations as monuments that we are right… dead right!

    Even R.C. Sproul, the “great theologian of all time” and the brain of the church said among other things in one of his blogs that “God the Father cursed God the Son on the cross.” Such blasphemy, such insult to the beauty of a God who spared no pain to have us back into His everlasting arms.

    Anyway, regardless how we see ourselves, we are all flawed to the core and we have still not perfected our doctrines yet because our God is infinite in all His attributes, therefore He cannot be caught in the minds of students that love to put Him in a corner and define Him within the frame of theological studies.

    Personally, I believe we missed it big time…

    “This is eternal life that we might KNOW You and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (Jn 17:3)The verb “to know” speaks of an intimacy that goes beyond knowing about. It is a personal knowing where joy suddenly changes us into childlike believers who truly want to sit at His lap in order to let Him love us to the uttermost.

    God is not theory to me. He is a beautiful reality…. I love Him because He first loved me..!

    PS. I would be interestesting to discuss “The Shack” providing everyone who gives his/her opinion has read it from beginning to end.

  149. Joe says:

    justonofhis said,

    “Outside the religious box” as provided in the Word of God is death and eternal darkness.”

    I would have to say that the desire to condemn others who have trusted in the Lord and who walk with Him, just because they don’t adhere completely to their “beliefs” is pretty judgmental.

    I would suggest that we all learn to “agape-phileo” (love) others despite our differences. It will do us all a great good.

  150. Joe says:

    Hi Carolyn:
    I agree with you. Today’s emotional pressures to “accept the Lord” are nothing but formulas that are outside of the scriptures. Salvation is of the heart.

    I don’t read in the NT anywhere where the “sinner’s prayer” is mentioned. “Receive Jesus into your heart” is another formula that many pastors-eveangelists of lay believers use to lure the “victim.”

    What I have discovered is that “to be saved” is to truly receive the life of Christ in exchange for ours. “He comes, we go.”

    When someone hears the word and is convicted, he will be back to hear more without any type of manipulations. The Lord knows those who are His.

  151. I read The Shack cover to cover. I desperately wanted it to be the wonderful book everyone was praising, but I could hardly stomach Young’s god made in man’s image. It is a book for people looking to have their worries soothed with a kindly grandma God, a bumbling, hippy Jesus, and a whispy Holy Spirit. The god of The Shack presents a god whom no one need fear. A god of no holy judgment, righteousness, or sovereignty.

    But godly fear is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding, Proverbs 9. Uneasiness and fear in the face of a holy God is appropriate unless we have been made at peace with Him through the atoning blood of Jesus. This is not some man made religion, this is what God has said about Himself.

  152. Craig says:

    Joe,

    Quite frankly, I don’t consider Young a “brother in the faith” given his blasphemous depiction of the Trinity: Father God as “Papa” — an African American woman — which has an uncanny resemlance to “Goddess PAPA” of Polynesian lore, Jesus as a carpenter in a plaid shirt (what a stereotype!), the Holy Spirit as “Sarayu,” or Sophia (check out Sophia in some occult literature and you’ll see the parallels). Young’s depiction amounts to tritheism – three Gods, rather than one Triune God. And, for the record, I don’t want to send Young or anyone “to hell” – thankfully, that is not up to me.

    And, to be even more blunt, I don’t just whole-heartedly accept anyone’s claim of being a brother/sister in Christ. Only God knows for sure. However, given your overwhelming support for theories not congruent with Scripture and your desire for other extra-Biblical literature which is decidely anti-Biblical, I’m not willing to call you a brother in Christ. You may call that “judgmental”, but I call it looking at the fruit – the fruit of your words and how they do not align with the entire counsel of Scripture.

    For the same reasons above, I do not consider Bill Johnson a “brother in Christ”. This is precisely why I’m warning the flock using Johnson’s own words. My words do not condemn him; my words merely expose Johnson’s words as they are.

    I’ve read enough of The Shack to know I need not read more. I don’t care if it’s a good story on personal pain, etc.; it’s the depiction of the Trinity as if it were correct theology that tells me to stay away. The basic morals in the storyline are not inconsistent with the tenets of other religious belief systems. So, when the other theological views in Young’s book do not line up with Biblical Christianity, one is best to steer clear.

    Perhaps you should take your own advice and read all of R.C. Sproul’s words in context. In this way, you’d get an understanding of the dual nature of Christ, proper Christology, a proper view of the Trinity, and what constitutes proper Atonement (understanding, of course, that there is more than one theological view which does not violate Scripture). And, this does not mean I agree with all of Sproul’s words as he expresses some according to his own denominational beliefs. Yet, these differences are not on the absolute essentials of the faith. And, for the record, while I like Sproul, he’s nowhere near a favorite teacher of mine, nor do I think of him as anything close to being the “great theologian of all time”.

    The word theology breaks down to simply a study about God. You may think you are opposed to “theology”, yet you yourself are speaking about God; you are engaging in a study of God by your very words on here. You are propounding your own brand of theology.

    Joseph/Joe, give it a rest. If you wish to stick to your own particular brand of theology, go right ahead. That’s certainly your prerogative. You’ve already stated your views enough times on this blog; and, you’ve clearly stated you are not going to change them. I/we get it. Any more comments just reiterating what you’ve already stated (in essence) – either your own views, or your opposition to the views of those who are currently posting – will be summarily deleted.

    And, No, I’m not going to just “agape-phileo” your anti-Biblical depiction of Christ, the Trinity, etc. The whole “god is love” thing is rampant in New Age and other beliefs outside the Christian faith. Yes, God is love; however, God is also a God of justice. To take one at the expense of the other is serious error. God and His Word will not be mocked.

  153. Joe says:

    ( In reference to “The Shack, and response to Untangling:

    Really? Do you guys all think alike in this blog? Is this some sort of spiritual cloning going on that you guys never told me about? :-) Well, sorry, I’m different, and I would appreciate if the rest of the bloggers cease from trying to label me as if I’m on the road to perdition because I don’t belong to the “club” where everyone agrees with everyone else except with me.

    Number one, if I may, the author presented the Trinity in a relational way so that we can understand the “humanity” of God in His dealings with us. The Second Person of the Trinity became flesh, so I believe it is appropriate for me to say that at this particular time.

    Number two, there is plenty of judgment in this book to the delight of all believers who see God as a mean Judge; yet the judgment through “Sophia” was presented in such a light that should have knocked many Christians off their high chair because it was never meant to condemn. Actually, “to judge” means to make things right.

    Number three, this book was a work of FICTION, not a theological treatise of the “holiness” of God.

    So, if we cannot read this book with a grain of salt and understand all the undergirdings of the wondrous ways of God depicted in a wonderful weaving of His goodness, mercy and love, we will continue to make Him to look like an angry Judge that can’t wait to get His hands on us to give us what we deserve.

    If I may add one last thing, I believe that most of us have a “secret” issue with God the Father simply because we don’t know who He is at the very heart of the matter

  154. Joe says:

    OK Graig, take me off your list as a brother on the Lord. I will not lose sleep because of it. From this point on I will delete ever response I get.

    You will not hear from me again. Your accusations plainly reveal your judgmental attitude. Perhaps one day you will come down from your high horse and see the world from the eyes of agape-love. I hope you do for your name’s sake.

  155. just1ofhis says:

    Joe,
    Our desire is not to see ANYONE condemned; but we know from scripture that the world and all in it who are not called of Christ are already condemned. It is in our yearning desire to see others (including yourself) set free from condemnation, sin, and death through the blood of the Lamb that we hold up the true words of God. That is a passion put in us by the Holy Spirit of God. To you, it is the stench of death. To those who are being saved, it is the fragrance of life.

    You are deceived into believing yourself to be on an enlightened path that few find, satan’s number one most effective lie. In truth, it is the wide road, and multitudes are on it with you to their own demise.

    This is not said in judgment, but in love. You have only one hope…and that is the truth as set forth in the gospel….God on His terms, not on ours. He set the foundation and the barriers, and they are Christ Jesus, the Word of God made flesh. None of us are allowed to go beyond what is written. The apostle John writes about those who run ahead of what is written (out of the box, in your terms):

    “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 8-9)

  156. just1ofhis says:

    To emphasize:

    “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9)

    transgresseth: “parabaino”, to go beyond or aside from, or violate.

    doctrine: “didache”, instruction, that which has been taught

    that abideth: “meno”, to stay (in a given place, state, relation, or expectancy), to abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for).

    God’s word has a place in our heart or it doesn’t. There is no knowledge of Him apart from His Word available to us, because He has ordained for it to be that way on this side of eternity. It is through His Holy Spirit that we are convicted as to the truth of His Word. It is through His Word that we are sanctified.

    Anyone who is desiring to take Christians “out of the box” that God has provided in His Word, is doing the work of satan. They are in opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit and are in transgression and rebellion to God Most High.

  157. Carolyn says:

    Well said Craig. I have nothing to add to except to say that “thinking outside the box” is a good thing. “Thinking on the other side of the box” is just plain wrong…

  158. Craig says:

    Joseph/Joe,

    You wrote, “…this book was a work of FICTION, not a theological treatise of the “holiness” of God.” Yes, however, you’ve already made claims of agreement with respect to Young’s depiction of the Trinity as orthodox. It’s not.

  159. Craig says:

    Joseph/Joe,

    You wrote, “OK Graig, take me off your list as a brother on the Lord. I will not lose sleep because of it. From this point on I will delete ever response I get.

    The thing is, you want me to admit you as a brother in the Lord as you continue to disregard the errors of your beliefs as evident from the Scriptures. You wish to pick and choose the Scriptures you wish to adhere to while ignoring others. And, to disparage Sproul pretty much takes the cake. As I’ve stated before, that’s arrogance.

    I believe you are the one who came over here on your “high horse”.

    Rather than “delete every response you get”, if you are referring to the comments you’ve subscribe to, you can unsubscribe from WordPress at any time.

  160. Craig says:

    I’ll state this: no one is saved by perfect theology and no one has perfect theology. There are some Scriptures that are not entirely clear and hence debatable to a point. This is not what is at issue here. In addition, there are those individuals who truly love the Lord who just aren’t able to grasp some of the finer points of theology (and not as though I grasp every point – far from it). Yet, any person who is truly Holy Spirit indwelt would or should consider the words of others very carefully when these other views are not the same as their own. It does not mean the other/s is/are correct, of course; however, it is encumbent upon the person to at least check what the Scriptures state and to investigate the matter further. I’d definitely not want someone to just take my word for anything; I’d want them to check it out for themselves.

    I myself held to a heretical view of the Trinity for a time. When I heard a teaching that conflicted my own view, I felt uneasy inside. Am I wrong? Or, is this other person a false teacher? I “studied to show myself approved” and found that I was WRONG. I repented. This led to more study of the Scriptures as I wanted to understand my Savior, my God.

    When I first started studying hyper-charismaticism (I didn’t have a name for it back then), I had to assess most every bit of my theology. Was I wrong? And I had to more firmly develop my beliefs based on the Word of God.

    I formerly held to cessationism, as I hadn’t given it much thought and it was the view of the church I was attending. Yet, as I read both sides of the argument I had to change my view. This may be one of those debatable doctrines; but, I just cannot in good conscience maintain my former view. However, with the excesses in the hyper-charismatic movement, it would sometimes seem much better if I were a cessationist. But, it wouldn’t be how I view the Scriptures in proper context.

    We must always be willing to challenge our beliefs in light of the Scriptures – properly exegeted.

  161. Craig says:

    One last thing: I’m not entirely satisfied with my words to Joseph/Joe. I wrote:
    ____
    And, to be even more blunt, I don’t just whole-heartedly accept anyone’s claim of being a brother/sister in Christ. Only God knows for sure. However, given your overwhelming support for theories not congruent with Scripture and your desire for other extra-Biblical literature which is decidely anti-Biblical, I’m not willing to call you a brother in Christ. You may call that “judgmental”, but I call it looking at the fruit – the fruit of your words and how they do not align with the entire counsel of Scripture.
    ___

    I should have added a caveat, something to the effect:

    “To be clear, I’m not denying you are saved since, as I stated, only God knows that for sure. But, you are on dangerous ground.”

    It’s not easy to fully flesh out one’s thoughts.

  162. Carolyn says:

    Joseph, you said:
    He is not the angry Judge that some of us portray Him to be. He is love—-passionate love that will not let go of us. He is a “SONG” that comes through a million colors that delight the soul in a million different ways. “The heavens declare His glory and the firmament proclaim the work of His hands.”

    You have just described the God of the New Age…

    This is not the God of the Bible and as OUR theology dictates OUR “belief” or “faith”…what our/your theology is…matters to God. HE wrote the book, we didn’t.

    We’re all on the same page here on this blog because we are believers in the purposes of God the Father and the Son…and because our belief is firmly rooted in and anchored to the Word. Your faith seems to be in something other than the plain teaching of Scripture. And as has been said…you are either in or you’re out. There’s no fence sitting. The gospel is simple.

    We can only advise you to read the Word for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the real message of the cross. But he cannot do it if you already have your mind made up about what kind of God you want to serve. You are dictating to God what you want…and will not submit to WHO he really is because you don’t understand it. Truth is, reality is not found in a work of fiction like the Shack. Get the same passion for the Word of God that you have for the Shack and you will have found a treasure, eternal life.

    We wouldn’t waste our time telling you the truth if we just all had our own ideas about how beautiful God is, how full of love and peace our pathways are and all the colours of the rainbow that light up our skies.

    Just1of His – I appreciate your thoughts about the true gospel particularly from Isaiah 53. You spelled it out for Joseph in no uncertain terms which he has chosen to ignore/reject in preference of his own thinking.

    My comment of outside the box was before I read your last comment. You’re right…in the case of the Word…the idiom of “outside the box” doesn’t work.

  163. Carolyn says:

    One more thing…I said the gospel is simple. It is also specific. The biggest lie in the New Age is that there are no absolutes. Believe me, the gospel is not to be tampered with or we will answer to the One who paid the ultimate price for our redemption.

  164. Joe says:

    One last run…

    God bless you child. You response tells me a lot where your heart is, and you know what? I want no part of it. Keep it.

    I really feel for you guys— so stuck up in in your world of “perfect theology” while not knowing the love of Abba in Jesus Christ in a experiential way.

    I will pray for you that the eyes of your understanding will be open to see the hope of His calling and experience the love of Abba in a way that will change your life forever.

    God bless you and Merry Christmas (Do you believe in Christmas, don’t you?…[edited]…).

  165. Joe says:

    Weel I guess I have to respond to this slander because my faith has real boundaries. So, just because I loved the Shack’s contents does not mean I’m bound to a theology where Poppa is a black woman an the Lord of glory is a hippie. NO SIR, NEVER!

    You have simply missed the point of the story by a million miles, and guess what, I’m not willing to explain it anymore.

    Perhaps one day when real pain hits you in the gut and you find no answers in your perfect theology, you will cry out to Poppa and let Him love you until you are healed. Until then… You will probably keep labeling everyone else that is not like you as a apostate or even worse, as not “a brother in Christ.”

    Shame on you for thinking that way.

  166. Joe says:

    To believe God is love and a relational God has nothing to do with new age lady. To love a book that deals with pain in a very personal way although the author chose to “humanize” God has nothing to do with being part of a cult.

    You need discernment lady and fast or you, yourself will become part of a religious cult that denies the love of God.

  167. Craig says:

    You are not only being contradictory, you are being obtuse (purposely?).

    You have already stated you thought Young’s view of the Trinity was orthodox (“I loved The Shack for many reasons, one of them being the beautiful way the author portrayed the relationship among the Godhead.”), yet now you wish to say you can take some of his book while rejecting the theologically aberrant parts. If you want to read a REAL, truthful story of God’s amazing love and compassion in face of emotional and physical pain, why not read the biography of Corrie Ten Boom instead of some fictional account with bad theology?

    And you’ve no idea the emotional pain I’ve endured in my life nor the physical pain I’ve endured with back problems and occasional bouts of gout. And you’ve no idea how much or how little I’ve cried out to God. As a side note, I was also miraculously healed of degenerative knees. I’d say you’re being both presumptuous and “judgmental”.

    You wrote, You will probably keep labeling everyone else that is not like you as a apostate or even worse, as not “a brother in Christ.”

    First of all, I did not say you were not a “brother in Christ”; I said that “I’m not willing to call you a brother in Christ” – there’s a big difference there. And I’ve posted a caveat to further explain. Secondly, an apostate by definition is one who has forsaken his religious beliefs. One who does that is not my brother in Christ as s/he has denounced his/her faith in Christ either explicitly or implicitly. Moreover, regarding your “perfect theology” statement, I’ve already stated that no one, including myself has perfect theology.

    The portion Carolyn quoted DOES sound New Age with the “million colors that delight the soul in a million different ways”. Perhaps you should study up on what New Agers believe. And, as I pointed out earlier, New Agers believe “God is love” at the expense of judgment. In fact, because God is loving, merciful and true (not a liar), He MUST be one of wrath for the wicked – one of judgment for those who do not love Him. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair and just to those who truly do love Him.

    I don’t appreciate the ‘Merry Christmas’ sarcasm.

  168. Carolyn says:

    Joseph, experience? experience tells us little to nothing. Everyone has experiences from sun worshippers to gold dust spectators…

    I have travelled the road of experience. My question is WHO is it you worship? You throw words around like Abba and God…but which God?

    Give me the specifics of your faith. If you just have this God of love, then you have a very confused faith. Christ has a specific story and it’s not mixed with a bunch of New Age “light”.

    Oprah could not accept that God was a Jealous God. It just didn’t sound right to her. And thus began her journey off the path of true Christianity into the New Age. She had her preferences.

    You seem to have your preferences. That’s what separates true Christianity from false.

    Again experiences are not the thing. Faith is. But faith needs to be anchored to Truth or it will be anchored to error. Your said”
    I will pray for you that the eyes of your understanding will be open to see the hope of His calling and experience the love of Abba in a way that will change your life forever.

    And I pray that the eyes of your understanding will be open to see the hope of His calling which is the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
    Ephesians 1:17-19
    17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

  169. Craig says:

    I decided to look on http://www.christianbook.com to see the reviews of The Shack. Each and every time I think about making a purchase of a book, I look at the negative reviews first as a matter of course, as much can be gleaned from these. Some folks are just ‘haters’, as they say, and these reviews are obviously of no substance and can be skipped over; others are forthrightly describing why they do not like the particular work. The very first one star review follows [from "June" on October 14, 2012]:

    I was led to “The Shack” by a relative who considers herself to be a Christian. She highly praised this book. I found the audio version at our library and listened for days while home cooking and cleaning.

    Initially, I was excited by this unconventional depiction of God. What if everything that I had been told about God was a lie and the Holy Bible isn’t the true word of God? I began to wonder if Christianity itself was just a mere construction to control the masses and to comfort the weak. Had I become nothing more than an indentured servant tied to a home and children-a virtual slave to my husband? What if instead of being saved out of living a homosexual lifestyle in my youth, I was merely misunderstood?

    If the bible isn’t the inerrant word of God, maybe God is female as well as male, so maybe I was really born that way instead of being in rebellion to God’s word. Why should I struggle with conquering “sin” in my flesh when there is no wrong for me to repent of? What if salvation itself is not necessary, because there is no judgement by an all-powerful God, and a sentence to burn in everlasting hellfire?

    The shack abandons the world of absolutes in favor of foolishness that chips away at a Christian’s foundation-his/her belief in the God of the bible. Instead, God becomes a black woman, an Asian woman and a Latino carpenter-those 3 in one. If a Christian is defined as being Christ-centered, then this is not it.

    I regret ever taking the advice to let “the Shack” into my consciousness. I left my home and my husband and tried to return to my old ways, but God loved me enough not to let me get too far with that. He closed off every door and lovingly showed me the truth (in his word, the KJV, for myself). It was a hard road back, I thank God for everyday that he has restored to our family.

    If it was only to keep someone from a similar fate-please don’t take that first step into The Shack’s “alternate world.” I wish I could give negative stars…Please be warned, this can really ruin your life.

    http://www.christianbook.com/the-shack-william-young/9781609414115/pd/414115?product_redirect=1&Ntt=414115&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

    Now THAT is some fair warning! And a great testimony.

    I suggest reading the rest of the one star reviews which are much more forthright and mostly go into more detail than the five star reviews.

  170. Carolyn says:

    An excerpt from: http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/22-contemporary-issues/536-the-shack-a-book-review

    “The very essence of God is challenged when Young, quoting from Unitarian-Universalist, Buckminster Fuller, declares God to be a verb not a noun (pp. 194, 204). In a related statement, Young has Jesus say of the Holy Spirit, “She is Creativity; she is Action; she is Breathing of Life” (p. 110). Yet the Bible presents God as a person (noun) not an action (verb). When this truth is denied we are moving from the biblical understanding of a personal God to an Eastern understanding of God in everything.[1] Thus, we are not surprised when Mack asks the Holy Spirit if he will see her again he is told, “Of course, you might see me in a piece of art, or music, or silence, or through people, or in creation, or in your joy and sorrow” (p. 198). This is not biblical teaching. This idea seems repeated in a line from a song Missy creates, “Come kiss me wind and take my breath till you and I are one” (p. 233). At what point do we become one with creation? Again, this is an Eastern concept, not a biblical one. Young reinforces his Eastern leanings with a statement right out of New Age (New Spirituality) teachings: Papa tells Mack, “Just say it out loud. There is power in what my children declare” (p. 227). Ronda Byrne would echo this idea in her book, The Secret, but you will not find it in the Bible. Further, we are told Jesus “as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone” (p. 100). So how did he do so? By trusting in the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Spirit says, “is just the first to do it to the uttermost—the first to absolutely trust my life within him…” (p. 100). There is enough truth here to be confusing but not accurate. Jesus, never ceasing to be fully God, had all Divine power dwelling within Him. That He chose to limit His use of that power and rely on the Holy Spirit while on earth in no way diminishes His essence. While Jesus is our example He is not a guru blazing a trail in which in this life we too can be like God. This idea smacks of New Age teaching, not Scripture. Jesus even tells Mack that “God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things—ultimately emerging as the real” (p. 112). This is pure New Age spirituality.

    The Shack, while occasionally getting things right is, in the end, a dangerous piece of fiction. It undermines Scripture and the church, presents at best a mutilated gospel, misrepresents the biblical teachings concerning the Godhead and offers a New Age understanding of God and the universe. This is not a great novel to explain tragedy and pain. It is a misleading work which will confuse many and lead others astray.”

    As a Christian reader, we might expect The Shack to compare with Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress but it deviates from Scripture on a severe level. This is just one of the commentaries that shows just how far off base this book is and New Age ideas permeate throughout. We are told not to make images of God and this is the ultimate in doing just that.

  171. Joe says:

    No one is asking you to read it Graig. You don’t have to. I liked and will read it again for the third time when I get to it. If it bothers you that much, drop the subject.

    …[edited]…

    Just in case, I don’t see my Heavenly Father as an “African woman”, or the Lord of glory as a carpenter. These were stereotypes that the author used to bring content to the story of Mack’s deep pain and anger at God for having failed him.

    Even if the theology was out of place, I would read it again because there is a deep lesson to learn from it. This book is so good that even Kruger C. Baxter wrote a book about it. He said, “There is more going on here than you ever dare to dream.”

    The title of the book is, “The Shack Revisited.”

    Lastly, for the lights of me I don’t know why any Christian would come against this book. Really, the content is about a man who is filled with a deep sadness that only God can heal. This book has some rare insight that few of us ever see.

    Blessings…

  172. Joe says:

    Carolyn, a work of FICTION should never be treated as a book of theology. The purpose of the author was to deal with deep seated pain, not to teach us about the gender of the holy Trinity.

    I just wonder why most Christians hate this book? Is it perhaps because the enemy is afraid that the Lord may really use it to heal some deep hurts?

    Just wondering, that’s all…

  173. Craig says:

    Joseph/Joe,

    I don’t expect you to ‘get’ why Christians would be against this New Age, panentheistic, and blasphemous depiction of the Trinity as you don’t ‘get’ why your own theology is flawed and why Johnson’s is as well. But then again, Oprah the New Ager endorsed the book – I suppose it’s pretty good as a New Age book.

  174. Craig says:

    Joseph/Joe,

    You wrote, “a work of FICTION should never be treated as a book of theology” But, as I’ve pointed out, you did. I don’t have to read a New Agers view on pain. There are plenty of Scriptures which speak about the subject and plenty from actual Christian contemporary authors as well.

    You wrote, “I just wonder why most Christians hate this book? Is it perhaps because the enemy is afraid that the Lord may really use it to heal some deep hurts?

    Just wondering, that’s all…

    Enough of the sarcasm. Last warning. Any more and I’ll delete all subsequent posts without bothering to view them.

  175. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    While the reviewer you cite does a good job of reviewing The Shack s/he is propounding functionalist kenosis (Jesus retained all divine powers yet relied upon the Holy Spirit to perform all divine functions), which I deem unscriptural (as you know). I presume you missed it. I just caught this as initially I merely skimmed it.

  176. just1ofhis says:

    Just a thought:

    What is the difference between warning and judgment?

    You see a man walking in tall grass heading straight toward a huge pit of vipers that he is completely unaware of. Seeing that he is only steps from falling in:

    a. (Warning): You yell, “Stop, friend! There is a pit of deadly vipers right in front of you. Turn quickly and follow me away from danger.”

    b. (Judgment): You smile and wave politely as he passes by, watch as he falls into the pit to his death, and think to yourself how the poor fool had it coming.

    The true church has been warning people of the viper pits for a very long time.

  177. Carolyn says:

    Craig…oh ya. I caught that. I wondered if you would. Just seein if you were awake. :-)

    The study of kenosis is a theology that isn’t apparent at first glance. I dare say that there is much confusion among many that have studied it as handed down from other scholars. (Just like doctors…they are trained to think that drugs are the right answer to our problems) …

    Replying to functional kenosis is an eye opening topic that demands some time and study to really grasp the impact of “God come in the flesh” … “Immanuel, God with us”.

    Something that I read the other day made me think of it again. When the disciples were in the boat with Jesus and he calmed the storm by speaking to it. They did a double take and thought…WHO is this, that even the wind and the waves obey him. They had a glimpse of something beyond even the supernatural…

    Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
    40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
    41 >b>And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

  178. Craig says:

    Yes, the quelling of the storm by rebuke in Mark 4 was mentioned specifically in the following article:

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

    Jesus’ actions here seem to illustrate that He Himself calmed the storm. If He didn’t actually perform this miracle in and of Himself, certainly we’d think He’d correct the disciples’ rhetorical question/exclamation in verse 41.59 Otherwise, we may think Jesus Christ to be somewhat deceptive. Robert Guelich notes it was “reverential awe” (v 41a) which prompted their final question/exclamation. Guelich comments further, “in Jesus they have one in whom God was and is at work, one whom the ‘wind and the waves’ do obey”60 and “He accomplishes God’s work of stilling the storm and calming the sea”61 which indicated it was, in fact, Jesus Christ as God incarnate who performed this miracle.

    John 2:19 is, perhaps, a more clear example of Jesus using His own miracle-working power as He claimed He would raise Himself from the dead….

  179. Craig says:

    I was just thinking again last night about the following. I’ve been asking the question to those who are of the mistaken notion that we, mere humans, will do “greater works” than Jesus Christ [using John 14:12 as the proof-text] with no adequate response to this question: “What is greater than calming a storm by rebuke or raising a man from the dead (Lazarus) after 4 days?” Bill Johnson and other hyper-charismatics have boxed themselves into a corner by asserting we will exceed the greatest miracles Jesus performed. The rationale behind this assertion is that Jesus must have performed all His miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. However, even raising someone from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit would not be a “greater work”; it would be an ‘equal work’.

    But, even more so, what can be greater than Jesus raising Himself from the dead? Well, the only conclusion I can reach is this: Given that it was the entire Trinity who raised Jesus from the dead [Jesus Christ - John 2:19/10:17-18; Holy Spirit – Romans 1:4/8:11; Father – Acts 5:29-31/Galatians 1:1/Ephesians 1:17-20; God - Acts 2:24/Romans 4:24, etc.] – essentially, it was God who raised Jesus’ lifeless human body, which, of course, includes Jesus Christ as God in the flesh – one would have to exceed that in order to do “greater works” if one assumes this means miracles. Well, I suppose if one believes in the Hindu/New Age doctrine of reincarnation, then one could argue that in living a perfect life resulting in one’s ascension, one has indeed raised oneself from the dead witout the help of God, and That could be construed as being a greater miracle than Jesus raising Himself from the dead!

  180. Craig says:

    On a related note: it took me a long time to figure out why others would respond to my assertion that Jesus Christ did not (solely) rely on the Holy Spirit for miracle workings with “But that wouldn’t be fair!” I kept scratching my head thinking “What wouldn’t be ‘fair’?” Then, I finally realized it was the mistaken notion that we would do ‘greater works’ than Jesus. As Mike Bickle likes to say, “I didn’t have the grid for that” initially.

  181. just1ofhis says:

    The entire text of John 14:9-14 is important to the “greater works”. In the wof church, I would hear just the first part of vs 12. Anyone with faith would do greater works…..

    BUT, Jesus gives a why this is true that is all to often left out. “BECAUSE I am going to the Father.”
    It is His intercession and acting on our behalf and promting us to carry out the will of our Heavenly Father. The verse speaks against the “faith is a force” twisting of the wof, and points to Jesus as the source of all our works…

    We can do nothing on our own.

    How often does Jesus stop the storm, because we happened to be standing in the middle of it? How often does He provide an escape when we stumble into some pit that we just didn’t see? How often does He answer our prayers for other people for healing, deliverance, and salvation; and we never even know that they have been answered?

    How many people do you think the LORD has guided away from false teaching because of the words that he put to Craig or M’Kayla or missionaries working out in the field or any of the other people out there working so hard for Him? You don’t see it, but you pray for it and press on. And He works great things through it.

    The “greater works” are His; He just graciously allows us to participate.

    A God-centered reading of the passage puts it in a completely different light.

    For example, God is still using a book written about Karla Faye Tucker to reach out to people in prison with great effect. She has been with the LORD for some time, but He is still working great things through her faith and love. Same thing with Corrie Ten Boom. “Greater Works” indeed; but they are His doing.

  182. just1ofhis says:

    Thanks, Craig.

    I had missed that one.

    It just becomes more clear over time to me how God speaks the same central message in so many different voices with different stories and emphasis, all of them singing the same song, but in different parts. Bill Johnson, and those like him, are singing a completely different song. They missed the great chorus and went off on their own; but only that great chorus of God’s own design is acceptable to Him.

    I learn something every time I visit, and it is great encouragement. (Thanks Carolyn, too, and everyone who contributes).

  183. Craig says:

    I certainly learn from all who contribute here – both those in agreement with what’s already written on the blog and those who disagree (and other blogs I’ve visited over the years). I have to admit that, for the longest time, I did not have an effective counter to the hyper-charismatic argument of “greater works” until I fully researched this by reading scholars’ exegesis on the relevant verses.

    The greatest miracle of all – greater than quelling a storm or raising someone from physical death – is an individual’s passing from spiritual death to spiritual life by the Holy Spirit’s work in and through Holy Spirit indwelt Christians.

  184. Carolyn says:

    It’s a strange phenomenon that when you get something passed down to you and it travels through the ranks of your denomination or the group you hang with, it becomes a stronghold in your mind.

    Some of the strongholds I can think of might be “the violent take it by force”…that’s not becoming militant as the NOLR movement would have us believe. That would contradict other Scripture. That means becoming zealous, passionate about pursuing your faith, knowledge of God…pressing into the kingdom, into the Word.

    Another one is “greater works”… So what were the lesser works of John the Baptist? According to Christ he was the greatest among his peers…the prophets of OT times. But anyone after him was greater with respect to salvation by faith.

    Who is greatest among us in Christ’s kingdom? The servant of all. Who gets in trouble at the end for thinking that
    a. they are the centre of Christianity and for that the universe revolves around them and
    b. the greater works were miracles, casting out devils and performing signs and wonders?

    Salvation is definitely the greater work…finding time to study the Scripture, that’s a greater work, humbling ourselves, that’s a greater work, discovering why God came, what the battle plan is, what Daniel’s prophetic Son of Man came to do…these are the greater works. They are the ones I’m going to sink my time into…what little time I have.

    Just some thoughts….

  185. Carolyn says:

    I’ve added a few new words/phrases to my vocabulary since coming to this site. One of them is the hypostatic union. Another is kenosis. The first time I heard that word, I said, Ken who? But I’m a fast learner so now I know that it’s Ken Osis. He’s the one who taught that Christ divested himself of his divine attributes.

    Previously, I did believe that God came in the flesh. And as so many New Age and Charismatic Christian’s thinking goes…what’s the big deal? Some believe in total kenosis and some believe in partial kenosis (functional kenosis) and some believe that he kept his divine attributes only hidden at times. My thinking at this point is that once you understand the reason that Christ kept his identity a mystery until the appropriate time, it starts to make sense. It WAS a mystery then but it is now made known. And it’s becomes obvious that he was truly God as he walked the Earth. He had to be God, second person of the Trinity, un-divested of any of his Deity/Divinity.

    Here are a couple of other times Christ displayed unparalleled behaviour, divine behaviour:
    People marvelled at his teachings because he had a kind of authority that the Pharisees didn’t have. No wonder they were jealous.
    Think of the weird things that Christ said…if you drink of this blood and eat of this flesh you will have life in you…and from that point many could not accept what he was saying and they no longer followed him (they were in it for the signs, wonders and healing the temporary things)
    Think about how much he knew things before hand – here’s just one example:
    John 1:48
    Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

    Because Christ/God walked on earth…gave his life a ransom for many, today we can still walk with the Divine Christ/Word of God. As he opens the eyes of our understanding, we can see why the Son of God was manifested to take away our sins and make peace with God and why he became the mediator of a better covenant.

    Because God put on flesh and dwelt among us…we have untold riches to discover on a daily basis. I’m excited, more than ever…and let us spur one another on to a knowledge of the deeper things of God, true riches, abundant living and eternal action walking through the pages of prophetic history past the present and into the future.

    Blessings to y’all.

  186. Carolyn says:

    Here is what A.W. Tozer said about this kind of gospel back in his day in the book Man: The Dwelling Place Of God, pages 142-143:

    “Salvation comes not by “accepting the finished work” or “deciding for Christ”. It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing less will do. But something less is among us, nevertheless, and we do well to identify it so that we may repudiate it. That something is a poetic fiction, a product of the romantic imagination and maudlin religious fancy. It is a Jesus, gentle, dreamy, shy, sweet, almost effeminate and marvelously adaptable to whatever society He may find Himself in. He is cooed over by women disappointed in love, patronized by pro tem celebrities and recommended by psychiatrists as a model of a well integrated personality. He is never acknowledged as Lord. These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him.”

    Guys…when I read this, I just had an aha moment. Had to share. It sums up our New Age Jesus, the one that has rainbows encircling his head, power beads dangling from his neck, gold flakes reflecting from his loving eyes and a smile that would dissolve us into a puddle of emotional bliss. Mr. Tozer nailed it. The real Jesus doesn’t need adoring fans that think he’s a god…he needs people who KNOW that he IS GOD!

  187. Craig says:

    Great reference!

    …These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him.

    I myself was convicted by this.

  188. Peter Clark says:

    Why are there so many websites like yours that state that they are there to build up the body of Christ, yet spend most of their time pulling it down. Instead of celebrating the reawakening of a church that is beginning to recapture it’s true and powerful identity you are intent on drawing negative, obscure and poorly justified conclusions to warn anyone away from them.

    Christian leaders like Bill Johnson and churches like Bethel are inspiring and encouraging believers across the world to give it a go, to step out, take faith risks in the name of Jesus and see what happens. I know for myself and the members of the church I am part of, we are enjoying seeing people being touched by healing and prophetic words in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Our mission to the world has been invigorated with real fruit. Instead of reading Acts as though it talks of another unachievable world, we now know that we can experience all that the early church moved in and more. The real-life examples and testimonies from Bethel, and the teaching from leaders like Bill have been such an encouragement to us – to find sites like yours using terms like heresy and cult with little to no justification are quite disturbing. One out of context quote, or an out of the normal behaviour/manifestation doesn’t make a false apostle, teacher or prophet, or off the wall church or gathering. If so both Paul and Peter would be cast aside. Jesus would be rejected because he rubbed mud with spit into someones eyes. Pentecost would not be considered a move of God. It makes me ask the questions what is your agenda, who are you following, who made you a global critic? As an example when a book like “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson is reviewed, how about celebrating the news that Jesus is alive and well in His church-which is the major theme presented in it instead of things like searching for a missing capital h on “His” as one site talked of, as though it was significant, or the debate on one words meaning – “emptying”, without considering the full story or tenet of Scriptures teaching. Doesn’t the mission of Jesus in Luke 4 look very akin to that of Jesus’s Body in Mark 16? Doesn’t the Bible teach that God is my Father, and to be like Jesus is our goal and the Holy Spirit was sent to us to help us be that (not be be God as somehow you think some people are teaching, but representatives of the Kingdom, yes sons and daughters of the Father). Do you honestly believe that a Christian leader such as Bill Johnson doesn’t hold to the basic biblical truth that Jesus is fully God as well as fully man. Give them the benefit of judging them on at least more than one testimony (which is biblical) and even then on more than one phrase, especially if they have written many books and given many messages to prove their dedication to the truth of God, through the Scriptures. How many times in the Bible do we see requotations in other parts that on the face of it out of context or even abbreviated or altered. It’s even good to judge people on their fruit, and i know from my corner of the world in New Zealand that the fruit from Bills and Bethels ministry is good and Godly. Do you want to see the Kingdom of God growing? Do you want the church to be all that Jesus said it would be? Do you want believers to remain just hearers and not doers of the Word?

    The church was not perfect in the past, as testified of in the New Testament, and it won’t be today. Scriptural integrity of the church is important-yes crucial, but we must remember those who promoted the letter of the Word (the Law), the Pharisees – instead of the spiritual intent of the Word, were most criticised by our Lord. Where are the testimonies of good news on your sites, where is the encouragement, where is the building up of the Body of Christ as the writers of the New Testament promoted. It is said the best way to tell a fake or an imposter is to know the real thing. When I see people being transformed through the power of the Spirit I know it is the real thing. I wonder if instead of filling people with so much fear, dread, and warning, especially new believers, so that they become sceptical and mistrustful about everything, in your site tell them stories of the real thing the blind seeing, the lame walking, the dead being raised, people being saved, the oppressed being freed, the broken-hearted being restored – good news! After all we have a good God who wants all to know of His goodness before judgement comes.

  189. Craig says:

    Peter Clark,

    You’ve selected the one short, succinct article, which goes into little detail. Its brevity was designed to reach a larger audience and to be a jumping off point for further research (such as the one article referenced at the very end which also quotes from When Heaven Invades Earth). Perhaps you should read, then comment on some of the longer ones attempting to actually refute some of the points of said article.

    You mention looking at so-called fruit; fruit is determined by its adherence to Christian orthodoxy (not to include denominational bias), NOT signs and wonders which could well point elsewhere according to Jesus:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/look-at-the-fruit/

    You wrote, “ One out of context quote, or an out of the normal behaviour/manifestation doesn’t make a false apostle, teacher or prophet, or off the wall church or gathering.” Which quote exactly is out of context?

    You wrote, “…Jesus would be rejected because he rubbed mud with spit into someones eyes.” Comparing apples with oranges doesn’t help make your point. But, hey, speaking of “healing”, do you think Jesus would “heal” a man’s perfectly good leg, instead of the man’s mangled one, and then make this man “scream out in pain” en route to a “healing”? I’ll answer that: Not the Jesus I know, but apparently the ‘jesus’ Johnson knows has:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/by-whose-power-does-bill-johnson-perform-healings/

    You wrote, “… As an example when a book like “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson is reviewed, how about celebrating the news that Jesus is alive and well in His church-which is the major theme presented in it instead of things like searching for a missing capital h on “His” as one site talked of, as though it was significant, or the debate on one words meaning – “emptying”, without considering the full story or tenet of Scriptures teaching.

    Perhaps this one is better for you: “…Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7)…” I think Johnson’s words are quite clear here, and his ‘jesus’ is non-divine. Yes, I’ve considered the whole tenet of the Scriptures, have you really? Let’s like at divine “self-emptying”:

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

    Part II goes into much detail of how Johnson “empties” Jesus of divinity and exactly how that’s not Scriptural. Yes, you must read Luke 4, but you also must read the Gospel of John.

    You wrote, “… Do you honestly believe that a Christian leader such as Bill Johnson doesn’t hold to the basic biblical truth that Jesus is fully God as well as fully man.” Yes, I do; and, that’s demonstrated by assessing his own words:

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

    You suggest that I, “ Give them the benefit of judging them on at least more than one testimony (which is biblical) and even then on more than one phrase, especially if they have written many books and given many messages to prove their dedication to the truth of God, through the Scriptures.” I’ve done just that and have shown by using a half dozen books, plus sermons, video, etc. that Johnson consistently preaches a non-divine Jesus.

  190. just1ofhis says:

    Peter Clark,

    We do look at “fruit”:

    Glory clouds that bring about the kind of behavior you would expect at a football game or rock concert, gold dust, feathers, “gemstones” growing and appearing, children laying on the floor laughing hysterically, women staggering “drunk in the spirit” down the hallway….all a part of Bethel.

    How about a man in Bill Johnson who would teach little children about a “jesus” who was smeared with the “holy spirit” like peanut butter and who satan killed because he wanted to get rid of the “anointing”? What kind of lie is that? It certainly isn’t the gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you believe that Jesus was crucified to pay for the sins of the world per the will of God the Father or not?

    What about teaching people NOT to study their Bibles too much lest they become bound by a “religious spirit” and therefore follow an “anti-christ”?

    These things all go directly against the true fruit of the Holy Spirit of God, which includes self-control and gentleness among other things. It includes a conviction as to the truth of scripture and a devotion to studying and learning from the Jesus Christ who is the Word of God made flesh.

    btw, I believe fully in the gifts of the Holy Spirit; but, separated from the truth of the Word of God, those gifts are nothing.

    There is a test of fruit; and miracles, signs and wonders are not it.

    “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. 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?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ”

    “Therefore everyone who HEARS THESE WORDS OF MINE and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt 7:21-24)

    The test is in both the hearing of the Word of God and the applying of what is said….both being miracles brought about through the Holy Spirit of God through Jesus Christ.

    Bill Johnson points people away from these truths, not toward them. Craig holds Bill Johnson’s teachings up to the Word of God, as we should do with every teacher who supposes to be speaking the Words of God. Does the Bible teach us to test all things, or not? That those teachings fall short has nothing to do with Craig, but everything to do with God’s Word.

  191. Shawn says:

    Peter,

    Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts on here. I can see you spent a great deal of time and effort to write on something that you feel very passionate about.

    I’m leading a study group at my Church which you might find helpful. We are reading a book called Christian History Made Easy by Timothy Paul Jones, PhD.

    I’m finding the book is incredibly helpful in understanding the history of our faith. I’m very much of the opinion that had those brothers and sisters in Christ that went before us not fought for the faith they believed in, that what we know about God from the Bible and how practice our faith today might look very different than it already does.

    The Bible instructs us to test what we hear as Christians and not to accept blindly the teachings of men (1 John 4:1). Whether you like it or not, the whole of our Church history is filled with conflicts between followers of Jesus that helped cement the faith that we now believe in.

    For example, before the Anna Baptist movement was started (out of a church splintering), Christians were taught that baptism as babies was fine – we did not need to be baptized again upon conversion to Christ. The Baptists, however, felt as though the Church had lied to them and intentionally kept from them the true teachings of the Bible. So strongly did the Church oppose the Baptists, that several were even rounded up and killed.

    I think it is Godly to question those things that are taught by others that are in conflict with the teachings of the Bible. Unfortunately, brother Bill believes and teaches that Jesus was born as a mere man – not 100% both man and 100% God. This is in conflict with Scripture and the very things that Jesus says about himself.

    Brother, you may like Bill and he might say some good things. But simply being right in one area does not make him right in every area. Come, let you and I reason together. To whom do we owe our allegiance, man or God? If to God, than why not be willing to look into and learn for yourself whether the man you admire is completely without fault?

    In the early Church history so fierce were the overseers protection of believers that they put out anyone from fellowship who attempted to lead those in Christ Jesus astray.

    While I applaud your passion, Peter, I believe you find yourself directly opposed to the teachings of the Bible. We must ensure that we do not become deceived or cause anyone else to be deceived by following a Jesus other than the one found in Scripture.

    Sadly, such websites as this one are needed now more than ever before.

    God bless.

  192. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    You wrote, “… I’m very much of the opinion that had those brothers and sisters in Christ that went before us not fought for the faith they believed in, that what we know about God from the Bible and how practice our faith today might look very different than it already does.

    A mini-thesis of an article I’ve been working on for a long time (I hope to complete in a couple months) is that if we would look to the first five Ecumenical Councils and adhere to the those tenets of those Creeds (which are all based on Scripture), we wouldn’t have all the “error” we have today. Sadly, most are ignorant of our formative Christian era. The blame can be put squarely on the collective leadership of the current “Church” over the last (at least) 30 years. And, I mean ALL leadership, ALL denominations, etc. I myself had to learn through self-study.

    It should be absolutely mandatory that all Christians familiarize themselves with the Chalcedonian Definition (Creed) of 451 AD especially.

  193. Shawn says:

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your note and I look forward to reading what you have written. I find Christian history a pretty fascinating topic.

    Dr. Jones uses the illustration of Sally (?) from the Charlie Brown comic writing on Church History. She titles her paper “Church History” and then writes, “in to study the history of the Church, we must go back to the beginning. Our Pastor was born in 1930…”

    Sadly, that’s how many of us first encounter the faith. We have the Bible and then a gap in our knowledge until we reach “today” and learn a little bit about the Church we attend. What went on after Acts 28? How did the Bible we have today come to be compiled? Why do we go to Church on Sundays and not Saturday? And what is a Calvanist and an Armeniast and if they were to both walk into the same bar, how would that joke end?

    I’ve found that since I read that book I’m more apt to challenge false teaching when I enocunter it and that I’m less rattled when I come across fruit loop type teaching :)

    God bless and keep up the good work.

  194. Shane says:

    I don’t know why some people on this blog call bill Johnson ‘a brother’? He clearly twists & lies about the scriptures… Look what Isaiah 8 v 21 says about the kind of people who do this. Bill Johnson is an enemy of Jesus, a new age serpent. As the bible says ‘mark them n avoid them’. The apostle Paul says ‘we are in the last days’ that’s when Paul was around. We now must be in the last seconds now!!! Stand strong like minded Christian brothers & sisters. God told me that He will bring cult ppl to my house. 2 days ago my daughters school freinds Dad met me in the car park at their school. First thing he says was ‘were do you live? I’ll drop over this week’ he goes to bethel church, I don’t even know him. He probably thinks he’ll get us to go to his church. He doesn’t know that Gods going to get him out of his church. Ah well, have to stay calm n love him through it. Keep going Craig, we need you mate..!

  195. just1ofhis says:

    Shane says: “I don’t know why some people on this blog call bill Johnson ‘a brother’? He clearly twists & lies about the scriptures… Look what Isaiah 8 v 21 says about the kind of people who do this. Bill Johnson is an enemy of Jesus, a new age serpent.”

    Will be praying that God will put great witness in your mouth when you meet with this man.

    “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Tim 3:1-5)

    “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” is something that is easy to see in churches where Jesus Christ is reduced to a loaf of bread (i.e., by teaching that the “power” of God is in communion…a “works” based salvation, which isn’t salvation at all). (see Proverbs 6)

    More deceptive, but equally “denying of the power of God”, is the Word of Faith-derived teachings. The most simply I ever heard this teaching put was this, “God WANTS to help you, but He CAN’T”. They see satan and not Jesus as having all the authority on earth, in spite of the fact that Jesus taught differently. (Matt 28:18)

    In the Word of Faith world, one must correctly “speak” the “words of faith” that will “allow” God to intervene in all situations. That is a form of sorcery and witchcraft.

    Bill Johnson goes even further in his twisting of 2 Corinthians 3:6:

    “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

    In context, 2 Corinthians 3 is speaking of justification by following the law of the OT (something the Jews held to), which we know is impossible for man, versus accepting the free gift of the blood of Jesus Christ to set us free from our sins so that we might be children of the Most High God and live by His Spirit according to His Word.

    Bill Johnson twists this to mean that the “letter” of the “Word of God” and the diligent studying of that “letter” kill Christians. He uses that to encourage people to follow “the spirit” “off the map” (i.e., away from the Word of God, into New Age metaphysics). In this Bill Johnson is one of those false teachers who “has a form of godliness but denies its power”. He denies the power of the Word of God.

    “I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL, because it is THE POWER OF GOD for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1: 16)

    Paul equates the Gospel to the power of God for salvation. Can anyone study that letter too much or put too much faith in it?!?

    Craig has written extensively about these things, and we need to keep coming back to them in the hopes that God will grant repentance to many out of the false teachings.

    Praying that God will set that family free, Shane.

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