Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church

[09/07/13: An in-depth "answer" to this post is now available: Answer to Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church.]

The following transcription comes from a sermon on 12/20/09 titled Jesus Is Our Model1 from Bill Johnson of Bethel Church.  This is the same one which contains Bill Johnson’s infamous “Jesus was born again” statement.2  This time we’re taking a closer look at a different and more lengthy portion of this sermon.

Before proceeding, a brief review of the Trinity may be in order.   The first Person of the Trinity is God the Father, the second Person is God the Son, and the third Person is God the Holy Spirit.  Orthodox Christianity affirms that each member of the Trinity has the divine attributes of omnipotence (being all-powerful), omniscience (possessing all knowledge), omnipresence (being everywhere present),3 immutability (inability to change, divine constancy), and other divine properties, in distinction from humanity.  For our purposes, even more needs to be said on the second Person. 

The Gospel of John describes the second Person of the Trinity as the Logos, “the Word”, who was “with God” in the beginning and who was (and is) God [John 1:1-2].  Then, the Logos, the Word “became flesh” and dwelt among us [John 1:14].  That is, the eternal Word, the second Person of the Trinity, entered our temporal realm as God in the flesh – fully/truly man and fully/truly God.  Jesus Christ is the one, unique “Word made flesh”.

With our brief review completed, we can proceed with the selected statement of Bill Johnson.  In the following selection, ALL CAPS indicates words/phrases in which Johnson himself is being emphatic; underlining is added to bring the reader’s attention to something deemed important towards understanding Johnson’s overall statement.  Interspersed throughout the selected transcription is some explanatory commentary as well as some questions (in green text) which comprise this “challenge”.

To participate in this challenge, simply copy and paste the question(s) you’d like to answer into the comment box with your answer(s) following.  You may answer any or all questions, but please keep each individual comment relatively brief with one or perhaps two questions and your responses in each comment box.  Any comment which does not attempt to answer a question constituting this challenge may be summarily deleted, unless it is in response to another’s comment.  Please view the Before You Comment tab if you are new to commenting on CrossWise.

First, we’ll provide the transcription in full, and, following that, we’ll repeat the selection, breaking it down into smaller sections while adding the related commentary and questions.

Here’s the complete selected text in order to provide full, uninterrupted context.  Johnson begins by describing Jesus’ testing in the wilderness in Luke 4, quoting from the NKJV:

…Look at verse 3, “And, the devil said to Him, ‘IF you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread.’”  Jesus answered Him saying, “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone but by every WORD of God.”  What was the first temptation?  It wasn’t to turn stone into bread, it was to question who He was.  Verse 3, “the devil said to Him, IF you are the Son of God’.”  What did it say in verse 22, chapter 3?  “YOU are My beloved Son.”  “In YOU I am well pleased”.  What was his first temptation?  “IF you are the Son of God”.

Jesus explains this later to the disciples in Matthew 13; I’ll just read the one phrase to you that’ll help that concept to make sense.  He was talking about people who had no root in themselves; they hear the Word but there’s no depth in their person.  They’ve not been prepared for what God is saying and doing.  And, then it says “for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the WORD [ED: 3 second pause for emphasis] immediately they stumble.  Persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word.  The WORD of the Lord attracts CONFLICT.  It’s not punishment.  It’s not to humiliate.  It’s for two basic reasons: it’s because the Lord wants to give reward and He wants to honor character.  Character is not formed in the absence of options.  There has to be two trees in the Garden where I am honored for a decision.  Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not?  Do I consider other options, other possibilities? 

The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil.  And, then it says, but other things grow and they choke out the life of that seed of God.  Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe.  For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe.  It’s stunning.4

Now, here’s the same selection broken down a bit for our challenge: 

…Look at verse 3, “And, the devil said to Him, ‘IF you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread.’”  Jesus answered Him saying, “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone but by every WORD of God.”  What was the first temptation?  It wasn’t to turn stone into bread, it was to question who He was.  Verse 3, “the devil said to Him, IF you are the Son of God’.”  What did it say in verse 22, chapter 3?  “YOU are My beloved Son.” “In YOU I am well pleased”.  What was his first temptation?  “IF you are the Son of God”.

In this first section, by Johnson’s context, to whom or what does “WORD of God” refer: Jesus Himself, the written Word (Scripture), the Father’s words spoken over Jesus following Baptism, or a combination of some or all of these?  Explain.

Considering the Biblical context of Luke 4:1-13, how did Jesus Christ answer the devil in each of the three temptations?  Which kind of “Word” does Jesus refer in each of His answers?  Is each response a different kind, is one different from the other two, or are all the responses the same kind of “Word”?

Take note how Johnson relates the Father’s words “You are My beloved Son” and “In You I am well pleased” from Luke 3:22 to his interpretation of Luke 4:3-4, which is that the devil’s temptation was “to question who He was”, and how Johnson then proceeds to correspond this to Matthew 13 [verses 18-23] as “Jesus explains this later to the disciples”:

Jesus explains this later to the disciples in Matthew 13; I’ll just read the one phrase to you that’ll help that concept to make sense.  He was talking about people who had no root in themselves; they hear the Word but there’s no depth in their personThey’ve not been prepared for what God is saying and doing.   And, then it says “for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the WORD [ED: 3 second pause following for emphasis] immediately they stumble.  Persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word.  The WORD of the Lord attracts CONFLICT.  It’s not punishment.  It’s not to humiliate.  It’s for two basic reasons: it’s because the Lord wants to give reward and He wants to honor character.  Character is not formed in the absence of options.  There has to be two trees in the Garden where I am honored for a decision.  Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not?  Do I consider other options, other possibilities?

Given that Johnson has started this section with “Jesus explains this later”, how exactly does Matthew 13 ‘explain’ how the first temptation of Jesus in the wilderness [Luke 4:3] “was to question Who He was”?

Did Jesus Christ potentially have ‘no root in Himself’?  In what way is it possible, or is it impossible, that Jesus could be in a position to ‘hear the Word but there was no depth in His Person’? 

Is it possible Jesus could have been in any position in which He had “not been prepared for what God is saying and doing”? Explain.

Could Jesus have ‘stumbled’ due to “tribulation or persecution because of the WORD”?

In Johnson’s question “Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not?” it’s clear that Johnson is referring to himself and/or his audience as ‘believers’.  Does this mean Johnson is referring to the words spoken over Jesus by the Father in Luke 3:22 and that these words will be ‘declared over’ the believer’s life; or, does he mean some other declaration?

From a Biblical perspective, does Matthew 13 even apply to Jesus at all?  If not, then to whom does Matthew 13 apply?  Explain.

Finishing up the selection:

The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil.  And, then it says, but other things grow and they choke out the life of that seed of God.  Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe.  For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe.  It’s stunning.

Taking the full context of this selection of Bill Johnson’s Jesus is Our Model message, is the “Word of God” (“Word of the Lord”) used in the second and third parts of the transcription the same as the “WORD of God” in the first part (from Johnson’s interpretation of the NKVJ of Luke 4:4)?  Why or why not?

Could Jesus have succumbed to other IDEALS, VOICES, and/or WORDS and therefore have ‘choked out’ the Word of God?  Explain.

Is there Biblical support for Johnson’s assertion that the Word of God is “the most powerful thing in the universe”?  If so, cite chapter(s) and verse(s). 

Is the “Word of God” more powerful than the Trinity or any one Person of the Trinity?  Explain.

From a Biblical perspective, what is meant by “Word” in Matthew 13:21-23 when put in the full context of Matthew 13:1-23, i.e. does it refer to new revelation from God, the written Word (Scripture), the Gospel, Jesus Christ as the Word made flesh, something else, or a combination of some or all of these?  Explain.

Does Bill Johnson’s statement in any way affirm that Jesus Christ is the one, unique “Word made flesh”; and, if so, how?  If not, then does this selection actually affirm the converse, i.e., that Jesus Christ is not the one, unique “Word made flesh”; and, if so, how?

This “sperma of God” concept of Bill Johnson is rather difficult to unravel by the context.  It seems that everyone, or every potential ‘believer’, has “soil” within which contains a “seed”.  The “sperma of God” is the same as “the seed of God’s Word” which is then released into the ‘seed’ of the individual, which is in the individual’s ‘soil’.   Thus, there appears to be two “seeds”: one is “the seed of God’s Word”/“the sperma of God”/”Word of God”; the other is the “seed” within the “soil” of the individual which may be brought to life by this “seed of God’s Word”/”sperma of God”/“Word of God”.

Please note that Biblically it’s only “the farmer” [13:3-4] with seed who then ‘scatters’ it, with it falling either: “along the path” to be eaten by birds [v 4], i.e. snatched by the evil one [v 19]; on rocky places in shallow soil with the resulting plants scorched “because they had no root” [vv 5-6] lasting only for “a short time” [vv 20-21]; among thorns which choked the resulting plants [v 7] due to the “worries of life” and “deceitfulness of wealth” [v 22], or on good soil where it produced a crop of “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” [vv 8, 23].

However, there is an occult/New Age concept in which all things have a divine seed/spark/‘”Christ” within’,5 which may be ‘activated’ to grow by “the Word” aka “the Christ”.  That is, there is a “Christ” without:

Christ is the Logos [Word] of Infinities and through the Word alone are Thought and Force made manifest.6

And, there is a “Christ” within:

…Now Christ, the universal Love, pervades all spaces of infinity…7

The above quotes are taken from Levi Dowling’s 1907 book titled The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  The ‘Christ without’ is the only vehicle through which all things were made;8 hence, it could be called “the most powerful thing in the universe”. 

The following provides some more explanation:

Perfection is the ultimate of life.  A seed is perfect in its embryotic life, but it is destined to unfold, to grow.

Into the soil…these seeds, which were the Thoughts of God, were cast…and they who sowed the seeds, through Christ, ordained that they should grow…9

These “seeds” (‘Christ within’) were cast into all of creation from the very beginning.  The goal, then, is for each person (and thing) to listen to the “Word” aka the ‘Christ without’ in order for “Thought and Force” to be “made manifest”, thus activating the seed/spark/‘Christ within’, with the goal of growing to “perfection” by transcending the outer material ‘shell’ with only the ‘divine’ remaining.

In this occult/New Age conception, Jesus is not actually the Christ as in the Jesus Christ of Scripture.  Jesus was merely a man (but a special man) who, like all of mankind, had the ‘Christ within’; conversely, “Christ” is ‘God’ as part of a false Trinity.  Jesus’ ‘Christ within’ was activated by the “Christ Spirit” (the ‘Christ without’) when it descended upon Him as a dove.  At this point, Jesus received the “official title” of “Christ” and became known as “Jesus the Christ”, with “Christ” referring to His office.10 

This Jesus is but man who has been fitted by temptations overcome, by trials multiform, to be the temple through which the Christ can manifest to men.11

Thus, He began the journey to become “the Christ” for our current era/aeon, which was not fully consummated until Ascension.  At Ascension, He became the fully divine “Master Jesus”, and as such, He became the pattern for all to follow towards the attainment of self-deity/divinity.12

This leads to the final question of this challenge:

Keeping in mind the title of Johnson’s message – Jesus is Our Model – and the entire content of the selected transcript, could this be an adaptation of the occult/New Age concept described above?  Why or why not?

1This is from the 2nd of two services that morning.
2Johnson’s statement was covered in an earlier article, “Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I” <http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-i/>
3I particularly like the way in which Thomas V. Morris [The Logic of God Incarnate. 1986, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY & London, UK] describes omnipresence with its close dependence on the other two ‘omni’ attributes and vice versa: “Perhaps the best understanding of the attribute of omnipresence is that of its being the property of being present everywhere in virtue of knowledge of and power over any and every spatially located object” [p 91].
4Bill Johnson Jesus is Our Model sermon from 12/20/09, Bethel Church, Redding, CA, taken from compact disc subtitled “sunam2” (Sunday AM, 2nd message, 11:00); 25:21 – 28:24.  CD (and DVD or MP3 download) available at ibethel.com, titled “Jesus Is Our Model 11:00am December 20, 2009” <http://store.ibethel.org/p3322/jesus-is-our-model-11-00am-december-20-2009> as accessed 02/24/13.
5Levi Dowling The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ: The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age of the World. © 1907 Eva S. Dowling and Leo W. Dowling, © 1935 and © 1964 Leo W. Dowling, (11th printing, 1987), DeVorss, Marina del Rey, CA; p 6.  On page 3 is the following from the “Introduction” by Eva S. Dowling: “The full title of this book is ‘The Aquarian Age Gospel of Jesus, the Christ of the Piscean Age’…”  See also Alice A. Bailey From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus. © 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis Trust, 4th paperback ed., 1989; Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY; pp 162-163, 280.  A favorite Biblical text to pervert in this regard is Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
6Dowling; p 6
7Dowling; p 6
8Dowling; p 6
9Dowling; p 6
10Dowling; p 8, 82-83.  Also, Bailey; pp 100-101.
11Dowling; p 8
12Dowling; pp 8-9.  Also, Bailey; pp 231-284

163 Responses to Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church

  1. IWTT says:

    Now, here’s the same selection broken down a bit for our challenge:

    …Look at verse 3, “And, the devil said to Him, ‘IF you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread.’” Jesus answered Him saying, “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone but by every WORD of God.” What was the first temptation? It wasn’t to turn stone into bread, it was to question who He was. Verse 3, “the devil said to Him, IF you are the Son of God’.” What did it say in verse 22, chapter 3? “YOU are My beloved Son.” “In YOU I am well pleased”. What was His first temptation? “IF you are the Son of God”.

    In this first section, by Johnson’s context, to whom or what does “WORD of God” refer: Jesus Himself, the written Word (Scripture), the Father’s words spoken over Jesus following Baptism, or a combination of some or all of these? Explain.
    Johnson has missed the boat completely. It has nothing to do with his interpretation of the verses. Satan knew who He was and the temptation was between Jesus and the devil. The devil tried to make man FALL once again attacking (tempting us in areas of our weakness) at our basic needs or desires. In this case, the one who supplies our every need.

    “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone'” (v. 4). The quotation is from Deuteronomy 8:3, which speaks of God providing manna. Israel needs to understand that it was God who provided their bread. Jesus understands that (Cousar, 197). This answer to the temptation was

    Considering the Biblical context of Luke 4:1-13, how did Jesus Christ answer the devil in each of the three temptations? Which kind of “Word” does Jesus refer in each of His answers? Is each response a different kind, is one different from the other two, or are all the responses the same kind of “Word”?

    • The temptation to make bread from a stone (vv. 2b-4) is really a temptation not to trust God for sustenance –– and is therefore analogous to Israel’s failure to trust God for sustenance in the wilderness.

    • The temptation to gain the kingdoms of the world by worshiping the devil (vv. 5-8) is analogous to Israel’s temptation to worship other Gods.

    • The temptation for Jesus to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple (vv. 9-12), forcing God to protect him, is really a temptation to test God. This is analogous to Israel’s testing of God at Massah and Meribah (Exodus 17:3). Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “quarrel”) “because the children of Israel quarreled, and because they tested Yahweh, saying, ‘Is Yahweh among us or not?'” (Exodus 17:7).

  2. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    All the commentaries I have on Luke and Matthew – the parallel passage in Matthew 4:1-11 – affirm your statement. In fact, in Donald Hagner’s Word Biblical Commentary on Matthew (Volume 1: Chapters 1-13) [1993, Word Publishing, Dallas, TX] he states that the “IF” should be understood as “Since”, as the devil well knew who Jesus Christ was [p 65]. Then, he notes:

    …NcNeile [ED, not sure who this is] is hardly correct when he says that the temptation to Jesus was to see if he had power to work a miracle – i.e., a testing of Jesus’ own confidence in his identity. The question is one of obedience to the will of the Father. [p 65]

    But, IWTT how do you interpret Johnson with his use of “WORD of God”? It’s certainly not the written Word (Scripture); do you think it’s Jesus Himself or the WoF “rhema” Word?

  3. IWTT says:

    “…WORD of the Lord attracts CONFLICT…”

    I think when you read the following portion of the Bill Johnson quote, in the second paragraph section, you have the above line. I believe that is a main point that he comes to. I guess I would have to call it the “rhema” word. My interpretation of what he is saying is that the “word(s)” that “he” receives (and others who are prepared for receiving these words), is what he is getting at. CONFLICT? I could take that to mean a couple of things I guess. 1) The conflict thet the word could create within ourselves, the battle between flesh and spirit. 2) The conflict between “new revelation” and the scriptures. 3) The conflict created between “them” and “us”, between their camp and orthodox camp. 4) Or maybe even the conflict that arises from within the camp, common sense discernment and accepting the “poor theology” that is taught. Accepting that BJ is an Apostle.

  4. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    I think all would agree that Jesus Himself knew that He was the Son of God before the Father’s words of Luke 3:22, especially considering Luke 2:49 in which Jesus said, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s House?” to Mary. Given that, would we think that Jesus did not know that He was ‘a well pleasing Son’? I’d say not.

    My point is that the way Johnson is framing his argument that the first temptation was to “question who He was” and that “Jesus explains this later to the disciples” using Matthew 13 sounds as though Jesus Himself was listening to ‘new revelation’, or the “rhema” word in Luke 3:22. Is this how you understand Johnson’s words?

  5. IWTT says:

    As I said above, I guess I would have to call it the “rhema” word. Yes I would agree.

  6. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    So, then, given that Jesus Himself, according to the way both you and I understand Bill Johnson, was listening to the “rhema” word (the Word of Faith/modern prophetic ‘new revelation’), the way I understand this by its full context, by Johnson’s corresponding Matthew 13 to Jesus’s 1st temptation, it would seem Jesus Himself would have to be one of the four examples given in Jesus’ own explanation of ‘the parable of the sower’ in Matthew 13:18-23. That is, He Himself would be an example of one of these four with the seed falling:

    1) “along the path” to be eaten by birds [v 4], i.e. snatched by the evil one [v 19];

    2) on rocky places in shallow soil with the resulting plants scorched “because they had no root” [vv 5-6] lasting only for “a short time” [vv 20-21];

    3) among thorns which choked the resulting plants [v 7] due to the “worries of life” and “deceitfulness of wealth” [v 22];

    4) or on good soil where it produced a crop of “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” [vv 8, 23].

    Is this how you would understand Johnson’s words per the context of the supplied transcription?

  7. IWTT says:

    How is this for a thought? Bill Johnson follows Wof theology. If so then he would believe as Copeland has stated, “we are little Gods” (I think that is the wording that he, Copeland, used). If that is so, then they can attain the same as Jesus. Therefore, working backwards, Jesus was a man, smeared with the Holy Spirit (Baptism of the Holy Spirit) and is our perfect example of what we to can be. We to can be Baptised in the Holy Spirit (or smeared with the anointing) and as we learn to be and do the things that Jesus did, so we become.

    Maybe?

  8. Craig says:

    I’d say you hit the nail on the head!

    The key, of course, is Johnson’s statement that Jesus “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”. As man, He would eventually work His way back up into divinity. The first step towards (re)attaining divinity/deity is the “Christ anointing”/”Baptism of the Holy Spirit” in which Jesus, the man, is “smeared with the Holy Spirit” and, hence, receives the ‘title’ of “Christ” because:

    The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [“Christ anointing” by the Spirit after water baptism] there could be no title.

    This “anointing” then “linked Jesus the man to the divine”:

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

    And, as “our model” we must do as Jesus did:

    …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…

    [All quotes taken from Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, part I except the "emptied Himself of divinity and became man" which is from part II of the same series.]

  9. IWTT says:

    Is this how you would understand Johnson’s words per the context of the supplied transcription?

    Yes I see that…..

    But I also think the deception is a little more than the bad teaching of the scripture. Let’s not forget this portion it’s because the Lord wants to give reward and He wants to honor character. Character is not formed in the absence of options. There has to be two trees in the Garden where I am honored for a decision. Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not? Do I consider other options, other possibilities?

    I haven’t put my finger on this yet, but there is a deception that I am discerning about the “honoring portion”. And “…what is it that the Lord delares…” over my life? It is more than what we have been given in scripture, the Gospel. It is the “rhema word”, the “new revelation”, that is given by God.

  10. Craig says:

    This is one of the reasons I posed the following question:

    In Johnson’s question “Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not?” it’s clear that Johnson is referring to himself and/or his audience as ‘believers’. Does this mean Johnson is referring to the words spoken over Jesus by the Father in Luke 3:22 and that these words will be ‘declared over’ the believer’s life; or, does he mean some other declaration?

    By Johnson’s context, it seems possible that because Jesus received the declarations “You are My beloved Son” and “In You I am well pleased”, then the ‘believer’ may receive these same declarations. In fact, at the so-called “Lakeland Revival”, Georgian Banov claimed that “God” told him to tell Todd Bentley that he (Bentley) was a “well-pleasing son”; so, it’s not without precedent within hyper-charismaticism. Of course, Johnson was there the night of Bentley’s ‘commissioning’, with Banov and the others. This certainly indicates bringing Jesus down to the level of man and/or elevating man to the status of Jesus.

  11. just1ofhis says:

    “it’s because the Lord wants to give reward and He wants to honor character.”

    Honor what character?

    For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God….

    If the Bible tells me that all have sinned and fallen short and that it was the tax collecter in the temple who wouldn’t even look up but cried out “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner” who went away righteous before a Holy God; then what character exactly is God honoring in men?

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

    “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

    Maybe the question should be:

    Which one went home justified before God? The Word of Faith wolves who want to teach people that they are “little gods” walking in the “christ anointing” whom God wants to reward and honor (and who should be living their “best lives now”); or the humble Christian who falls down before a Holy God asking for mercy for the many sins the Christian has commited?

    What do you think Bill Johnson would have said to that tax collector? I’m guessing he would say that man was filled with the Holy Spirit of God, but not smeared in the anointing (few are, according to BJ).

    Can you hear these “preachers” saying “God, I thank you that I am not like other men….”?

  12. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    The thing to bear in mind here is how Johnson frames his entire argument. Since Matthew 13 ‘explains’ the events of Luke 4 and Luke 3:22, we must look at exactly how these relate by Johnson’s words regarding Matthew 13. Johnson relates the ‘honoring’ of character and reward with “two trees in the Garden”, i.e., a choice between two options. Jesus was already “honored” in Luke 3:22 by the Father’s words “In You I am well pleased”. To explain: given that Johnson has corresponded Luke 4 with Matthew 13, he seems to be saying that Jesus had, up to the point of Baptism (Luke 3:21-22), made correct decisions, and therefore the Father ‘honored Him’ for His good character by the words “in You I am well pleased”. Then, again by Johnson’s context (as opposed to the correct Biblical context), Jesus recalled the words of the Father from Luke 3:22 and did not succumb to the devil’s suggestion of turning stones to bread; instead Jesus (again, according to Johnson) told the devil to “live by every WORD of God”, i.e., “what God is saying and doing” (from Johnson’s 2nd paragraph).

    So, since Jesus is Our Model we are to do the same, i.e., when presented with “two trees” (two options) we must choose wisely so that God will honor us with “in you I am well pleased”. We must continue to do this instead of listening to “other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS” since “Persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word”. Put another way, we must continue to listen to this ‘new revelation’ from God (“what God is saying and doing”) and not to the words of the enemy.

    This brings me to two of the questions posed in this challenge:

    From a Biblical perspective, does Matthew 13 even apply to Jesus at all? If not, then to whom does Matthew 13 apply? Explain.

    and

    From a Biblical perspective, what is meant by “Word” in Matthew 13:21-23 when put in the full context of Matthew 13:1-23, i.e. does it refer to new revelation from God, the written Word (Scripture), the Gospel, Jesus Christ as the Word made flesh, something else, or a combination of some or all of these? Explain.

  13. IWTT says:

    From a Biblical perspective, does Matthew 13 even apply to Jesus at all? If not, then to whom does Matthew 13 apply? Explain.

    The answer to the question is done so in the chapter itself starting at vs

    13:18 “So listen to the parable of the sower: 13:19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches what was sown in his heart; this is the seed sown along the path. 13:20 The seed sown on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 13:21 But he has no root in himself and does not endure; when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. 13:22 The seed sown among thorns is the person who hears the word, but worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth choke the word, so it produces nothing. 13:23 But as for the seed sown on good soil, this is the person who hears the word and understands. He bears fruit, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”

    I believe that Jesus is speaking about (vs 19) When anyone hears the word about the kingdom. It does not apply to Jesus.

    From a Biblical perspective, what is meant by “Word” in Matthew 13:21-23 when put in the full context of Matthew 13:1-23, i.e. does it refer to new revelation from God, the written Word (Scripture), the Gospel, Jesus Christ as the Word made flesh, something else, or a combination of some or all of these? Explain.

    The word simply implies the, words of Jesus. What He has to say and command of us. Vs 16 is whom He is speaking to and He is speaking of His words.

  14. IWTT says:

    Could it also be …13:16 “But your eyes are blessed because they see, and your ears because they hear. 13:17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

    This verse is also used to support their theology, that since many did not see, that is prophets and righteous people, that now in the NT days, The Latter Rain, those who are of the “Apostleship” do see and receive the direct Word form God, and so, since they see the followers are to accept the “extra”, the “new revelations” from these leaders because they are of that same “high held position”, their “calling”, because those who are “smeared” can see and hear?

  15. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Yes, Johnson has specifically stated that this “smearing” is what enabled both Jesus and others to ‘see and hear’ the Father:

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

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

    [The above quotes are footnotes 27 and 28 respectively in http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ/ ]

  16. Craig says:

    It’s important to realize that this “Christ anointing”/”Baptism in the Holy Spirit”/”smearing of the Holy Spirit” is central to hyper-charismaticism. While this may not be as evident in this particular ‘challenge’, if one looks closely it’s central here as well. According to Johnson, Jesus’ first temptation was ‘to question who He was’ as a/the “Son of God” and ‘well-pleasing Son’, which were the Father’s declarations following the “Christ anointing”. And, since this “Christ anointing” “enabled Jesus to do only what He saw the Father do, and to say only what He heard the Father say”, Jesus hung on to the Father’s words that He was the Son of God and a well-pleasing Son, and, more importantly, Jesus was not going to listen to “other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS” such as the devil’s suggestion to turn stones to bread.

    So, it follows that if we take Johnson’s words by their context in this “challenge”, we can do ‘just like Jesus': 1) receive the “Christ anointing” in order to be able to “do only what He saw the Father do, and to say only what He heard the Father say” and be a ‘well-pleasing Son(Daughter)'; then 2) we will not listen to “other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS”, instead we’ll listen to the “new revelations/declarations” of “God”.

  17. IWTT says:

    What we see here in BJ text is the dangers of looking at single verses to make up ones theology rather than the whole counsel of God in contaxt to what has been written in the scriptures. He has once again, IMHO, ripped apart the very word of God, out of context to make it fit his theology. Proper Biblical Hermanuetics is not in the Bethel dictionary/glossary.

  18. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    I think we’d agree that Johnson is using eisegesis (taking one’s own ideas on Scripture and reading those into passages) rather that exegesis (extracting meaning from the Scriptures by context). Given that, we must ask ourselves: Ultimately, where do these ideas come from? This leads to the last part of the challenge.

    Is there Biblical support for Johnson’s assertion that the Word of God is “the most powerful thing in the universe”? If so, cite chapter(s) and verse(s).

    And, a related question:

    Is the “Word of God” more powerful than the Trinity or any one Person of the Trinity? Explain.

    Let me add two more quotes of Bill Johnson. These are from the same sermon that makes up this challenge, just spoken a bit later:

    …The most powerful thing in the universe, the Word of God – that created the world, that spoke things into being, that Word has been planted in your heart.

    You’ve got to know the mind of the Lord if you’re gonna stand strong

  19. IWTT says:

    You’ve got to know the mind of the Lord if you’re gonna stand strong…

    This is the same statement that is made in order to “prophesy” properly. You must know the “mind of God” in order to prophesy properly what He is saying. The thought is that you learn this through the scriptures. Only problem is if you are learing the scripture improperly then you get a skewed version of the mind of God.

    I’ll address later your other portion of the post.

  20. Craig says:

    When you say, from the hyper-charismatic perspective, that you “learn this from the scriptures”, is this by reading/skimming through the Bible and ‘hearing’ something whether in proper context or not?

  21. IWTT says:

    Well, you would hope that it was by actually studying the scriptures in depth, but in my case it was all in the area of “prophetic worship”. So if you have been reading the bible you would learn the “mind of God” and when you received a prophetic word, you would have enough discernment to know whether what you are receiving would pass the “berean test”. But as in the majority of cases, one knows enough scripture to come up with a verse to back the “word” up in some way. Have to confess I was guilty of it many times and so were/are many of my former fellow friends. (still friends, just don’t fellowship with them much anymore)

  22. Dawn says:

    Excellent critique. Thank-you. Many in our area (coastal BC) are heavily into this teaching, among them good friends. Very deceptive. It is not easy to extricate people once they have begun to see through BJ’s lens. Thanks for this reaffirmation of things that are true and things that are twisted.

  23. Craig says:

    Dawn,

    Thanks for your response. If I may ask you to indulge me, could you read the latter portion of this beginning with “However, there is an occult/New Age concept…”, and, then answer the last question of the challenge? I think Johnson’s ‘two seed’ concept is both a concession to the Biblical context and, more importantly, explicating the “divine seed/spark” concept in occultism/New Age. What do you think?

  24. Carolyn says:

    Craig: Can’t promise too much deep thinking today…just recovering from a migraine, so take it easy on me…no academic-speak…

    Quote from Levi Dowling above:
    “Thus, He began the journey to become “the Christ” for our current era/aeon, which was not fully consummated until Ascension. At Ascension, He became the fully divine “Master Jesus”, and as such, He became the pattern for all to follow towards the attainment of self-deity/divinity.12″

    The person that has been born and bred in the realms of the NAR and Bill Johnson will never, I say never, see that Bill Johnson’s version of God is skewed or that his doctrine of Christ is tainted by his own agenda UNLESS THEY START READING THE WORD FOR THEMSELVES. Even then, in my own case, it wasn’t till I removed myself from the indoctrination and influence of Charismania that I began to see the difference between assumed values and biblical values, between presumption and truth. And even now, I am still learning bit by bit. The Holy Spirit has had me interacting with different people, to come to an understanding of who he is.

    Coming out of Charismatic circles, it’s hard to even admit that you know so little about Christ except from a very humanistic, self centred approach. And of course many, including myself, swing to the opposite thinking and start believing other doctrines of men that appeal to the intellect more than what the Spirit is saying.

    So to the average Bill Johnson, Charismatic, NAR, WOF follower, Bill Johnson’s teaching on Christ is humanistic…that is, it revolves around us humans. And Biblical teaching on Christ revolves around what God says about himself. That’s the difference I see.

    The more I see, bit by bit, the more I see that it really does matter that Christ was divine, completely divine…from one end of his life to the other. He performed his miracles to prove his divinity. We are not divine, never were, never will be. The source of our miracle working power is only by the grace of God, by his divine power working through us or in us and not by any divine spark or union with the Holy Ghost where we actually BECOME DIVINE.

    We are having a discussion on another site right now involving a little book about the Power of the Spirit by William Law, who apparently was trying to incorporate this whole idea of union with the divine in order to spark some miracle working power from within the human…to effect some connection with divine powers. Here are two quotes:

    “THE SPIRIT OF THE TRIUNE GOD, BREATHED INTO ADAM AT HIS CREATION and

    “Man’s SALVATION can therefore only be effected by a reconciling UNION OF HIS SPIRIT WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE CREATOR”

    It’s always the same lie…”ye shall be as gods”…doing, being, knowing…something apart from what God has said in his clearly revealed Word. When God breathes life into his word and you hear it for yourself, there’s no doubt about who has spoken it. When it only comes to us second hand through the teachings of men it becomes, Genesis 3:1 “Yea, hath God said,”….

    Does that come close to answering your last challenge?

  25. Craig says:

    Sorry about your migraine. I’m STILL recovering (going on 4th week) from a viral infection, which has left me with little strength and endurance. Thankfully, I’m typically healthy and tend to bounce back pretty quickly from illness; but, this one has lingered.

    You wrote: And of course many, including myself, swing to the opposite thinking and start believing other doctrines of men that appeal to the intellect more than what the Spirit is saying.

    I think this is an understandable reaction.

    Your two quotes by William Law come straight from Platonism (or “Middle Platonism”, or Neoplatonism). The first – THE SPIRIT OF THE TRIUNE GOD, BREATHED INTO ADAM AT HIS CREATION – is how the divine spark/seed/’Christ within’ (sometimes it was known as the “soul”, the “spirit” or the “mind” of God) came into each human. Thus, the way to self-salvation is through self-deification – by this “union” with the Divine via the divine within. This is the same way to salvation in the Eastern religions (the goal of yoga, by its definition, is a union with the divine; and OM is chanted in order to bring one in union with the divine).

    The idea behind Platonism (and MP and NP) is that a finite amount of souls were created at some point from Deity, and each new person had the Divine breathe life (soul) into each one just after they were created. If the person did not achieve self-deification (by full union with the Divine such that the material body was shed) within their lifetime, then the spark/seed/soul/spirit/mind (whatever it was called) was ‘recycled'; it awaited reincarnation into a new person for the process to continue. As in Theosophy, the process was cumulative and continued from one (re)incarnation to the next.

    Note that this “union with the divine” is not much, if any, different from the hyper-charismatic goal of seeking and soaking “in His Presence” – the hyper-charismatics are also seeking a “union with the divine”.

    Note also that Bob Jones mentioned this same two-step process of creation: God made the body, then God “breathed life into it” as I quoted him in

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

    Last year I had a conversation with another Christian apologist who asserted that hyper-charismaticism (and Christian mysticism throughout the centuries) is really all based on Platonism (and/or MP or NP) as is many of the errors of the early Church “Fathers”. Interestingly, at the time, I was reading Andrew Louth’s The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys (the Areopagite) and had tentatively reached the same conclusion. It’s the same sort of Dualism of the early Gnostics.

    Same song, different dance.

    Does that come close to answering your last challenge?

    I’m not sure which question you are specifically answering; but, I’ll ask you to answer this one:

    Keeping in mind the title of Johnson’s message – Jesus is Our Model – and the entire content of the selected transcript, could this be an adaptation of the occult/New Age concept described above? Why or why not?

  26. Carolyn says:

    Well, good to hear you’re still alive. There are some killers out there. I think the US has worse viruses than Canada. The one I caught from my American family members 3 years ago, just about took me out…at the time, I wished it had. Anyhow…just some folklore for you….

    You ask: “Keeping in mind the title of Johnson’s message – Jesus is Our Model – and the entire content of the selected transcript, could this be an adaptation of the occult/New Age concept described above? Why or why not?”

    This is a very hard question and I don’t know why it seems so difficult to answer. I’ve gone over it a few times in the last week and I think it’s because I tend to dismiss what he’s actually saying and, as I wrote above, try to translate it from my own perspective…if that makes sense.

    It’s a skill of protecting myself from deception that I have developed over time. Having read so much fiction ABOUT the Word in charismatic/mystical literature, I suppose it’s become a protective shell of the “wary” and wise. Therefore, I find it really difficult to hear Bill Johnson’s ACTUAL words.

    But here goes… I did go over the seed teaching just now again in the quote below, he is ACTUALLY saying that there is a sperma seed, separate…underline separate…. from the seed of the word, which translates to me, “the divine spark”.

    Quote: “The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil.”

    Also, Johnson mentions the two trees in the Garden from Genesis 3 and may have in mind Rick Joyner’s book with the same title.. My take is that he is trying to bring to life “the tree of life” that lays dormant in our being “OUR ENVIRONMENT” (actual words by BJ in quote below)…once again there is a separation made between the environment(the seed sperma) and the seed word.

    Quote: “And, then it says, but other things grow and they choke out the life of that seed of God. Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment”

    And here’s where I see some major twisting of Scripture. Scripture says pleasures, cares and riches choke out the Word, making it unfruitful. BJ says ideals, other voices, other words. hmmm

    Quote: “that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe.”

    And lastly, there’s that ACTUAL word “power” showing up again. And there it is. The real issue is the power they want, the humanistic, self-controlling, mystical, occult power…and our choices are what affect the power so we better make the right choices.

    Quote: “For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe. It’s stunning.”

    And last but not least, the ACTUAL words “Jesus is Our Model” are fallacious. He is God, the Word made flesh. We are not. He came to give us life IN HIMSELF not IN OURSELVES.

    And there you have it. My challenging answer to your challenging question.

  27. Craig says:

    From a Biblical perspective, in a sense, Jesus is our example [1 Cor 11:1; 2 Cor 8:7-9; Phil 2:3-5; etc.]; but, it’s only through submission to the Holy Spirit that we can attain anything approaching Christlikeness. Yet, of course, we will never actually attain that in this life, as we have the sin nature. However, the key to the question posed is exactly HOW Johnson articulates that “Jesus is our model”. In reading Johnson, do you see how he has equated Jesus with other ‘believers’ (and vice versa) via his corresponding Matthew 13 with Luke 4 (and Luke 3:22)? That leads to this question:

    Does Bill Johnson’s statement in any way affirm that Jesus Christ is the one, unique “Word made flesh”; and, if so, how? If not, then does this selection actually affirm the converse, i.e., that Jesus Christ is not the one, unique “Word made flesh”; and, if so, how?

    How would you answer that?

  28. Carolyn says:

    groan…I’m still getting the sperm seed sorted out. I just realized that I said it wrong. The sperma seed is the word and the seed is the divine spark. The environment is the divine spark and the Word is what gets put into the environment. I had it backwards.

    Yes, I get that we are made into the image of Christ through submission to the Holy Spirit transforming us through his Word from glory to glory. His life transforms. Our life conforms. So it is important that our doctrine is correct or we will conform to the New Age spirits that are clamouring for attention these days.

    HOW? Johnson articulates that Jesus is our model…you ask. Johnson’s theory… By bringing to life the sperma Word seed to life as it penetrates the soil or the environment or the divine spark (whatever he wants to call it), suddenly we are awakened to the Christ consciousness and we now have the power to be as the Son of God was. This is mysticism.

    I don’t see where Bill Johnson affirms Jesus Christ as the one and only Word made flesh. We are all Christs, we are following the model of the word made flesh. There is no separation between God and man……..we are all becoming one through the Word. I believe that in his mind the Word is the Power of God that, if used properly by us, becomes the “choice” that leads us into NOT truth, but into WORKS, ie we will do the works that Christ did.

    I’m trying to get this and since you’ve studied it in depth, you can let me know if I’m on the right track yet.

  29. Carolyn says:

    I’ll put it another way…you’ve asked the question. Is there a specific answer you’re looking for or were you just wanting someone’s take on Bill Johnson’s “Christ is Our Model” teaching?

    Here’s a question for you Craig. What do you think is next? Can the Bill Johnson teaching get more New Age than it already is? Do you have a prediction for 2013?

  30. Craig says:

    Yes, I realized you had the “sperma” seed thing wrong initially, but, I recognize it’s very confusing. However, the important thing is NOW ya got it!

    You wrote: “Yes, I get that we are made into the image of Christ through submission to the Holy Spirit transforming us through his Word from glory to glory. His life transforms. Our life conforms. So it is important that our doctrine is correct or we will conform to the New Age spirits that are clamouring for attention these days.” And, this is where seducing spirits proliferate. They are quite good at confusion.

    You wrote: “HOW? Johnson articulates that Jesus is our model…you ask. Johnson’s theory… By bringing to life the sperma Word seed to life as it penetrates the soil or the environment or the divine spark (whatever he wants to call it), suddenly we are awakened to the Christ consciousness and we now have the power to be as the Son of God was. This is mysticism.” You are very close. The key is that Johnson is stating the same thing about Jesus; and, Jesus is our model.

    You wrote: “I don’t see where Bill Johnson affirms Jesus Christ as the one and only Word made flesh. We are all Christs, we are following the model of the word made flesh. There is no separation between God and man……..we are all becoming one through the Word. I believe that in his mind the Word is the Power of God that, if used properly by us, becomes the “choice” that leads us into NOT truth, but into WORKS, ie we will do the works that Christ did.” So, then Johnson implies that Jesus is NOT the one, unique Word made flesh, we all are; correct? Just like the following quote from a YouTube video:

    …It’s the Spirit of God that makes this thing [the Bible] come alive to where we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again, where we become the living illustration and manifestation of what God is saying.

    You see, Jesus was also “the living illustration and manifestation of what God is saying”, i.e., Jesus was NOT the eternal Word made flesh; He was the WoF “rhema” word ‘made flesh’. Johnson has demoted Jesus to a man who had His divine spark/seed/’Christ within’ awakened by the “Christ anointing”/”sperma of God”/”Word of God”, and Jesus is our Model.

  31. Craig says:

    I was hoping to both draw in some Johnson supporters to get them to see what he actually teaches and help to drive home just what Johnson is really teaching to critics of Johnson. However, I recognize that there may be some different interpretations. Perhaps I’m missing something?

    I don’t make predictions; however, the Bible does teach that false teaches grow worse.

  32. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the dialogue and your feedback really did clarify some things for me. Sometimes it’s hard to get started and you just need to jump in and say something even if you don’t have it all together. I don’t think you’re missing anything Craig. There’s just so much going on, it’s hard to keep up.

  33. Carolyn says:

    Craig, since Bill Johnson mentioned the two trees in the garden and I referred to Rick Joyner’s book, There Were Two Trees in the Garden…I was trying to remember if I had read it so I looked it up. Not that it would make any difference…I read so many things back in yonder day, that it’s all a blur now…but anyhow…I found this part in Chapter One about the seed. Pretty different from the Christian orthodox view, isn’t it? Can you tell by reading it, how it compares to Johnson’s sperma seed teaching?

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/there-were-two-trees-in-the-garden-rick-joyner/1103703668

    Knowledge – death. A tree can only produce fruit after its own kind. Scriptural references to trees are sometimes symbolic of family lineages. In order for Christ to come forth in man, His seed had to be sown in man. Likewise, in order for the “man of sin” to come forth in man, that seed also had to be sown in man. The fruit of a seed cannot be reaped unless it is first planted. When Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Knowledge, they were destined to perpetuate the fruit of that tree; consequently death spread throughout their descendants. But God, in His grace and mercy determined that He would redeem their mistake. He planted in man the seed that would again bring forth the Tree of Life in man – Jesus. Through Him true life would be restored to man. His seed is a spiritual seed, sown by the Holy Spirit through prophecy. No flesh could beget Him but all flesh could receive Him. The Lord promised transgressing woman that a seed would come forth from her that would crush the head of the serpent that had deceived her (Genesis 3:15). In the first two sons born to the woman, we discern the seeds of each tree.

  34. Craig says:

    I’m no farmer, but as far as I know sowing is the process of planting seeds. Not to split hairs, but Joyner is, in one sense seeming to say that the two different seeds are sown in man, rather than stating that the two seeds are already planted in each man from conception, which is what seems to be stated here. What I mean is that he should have substituted planted for sown in the first few sentences. However, Joyner is an intelligent man, and I think it possible that this done in order to confuse – similar in result, yet different in methodology as compared to Johnson. By that I mean that Johnson will correctly define, then subsequently incorrectly redefine the same term, thereby causing cognitive dissonance.

    Having stated all that, if we substitute planted for sown in sentences 4 and 5, then we can unravel Joyner’s meaning. According to Joyner, each person has a ‘Christ seed’ AND a ‘sin seed’. The ‘Christ seed’ is “sown”, or grown, “by the Holy Spirit through prophecy”, i.e., by the Word of Faith “rhema” ‘Word’ of ‘new revelation’. From the link, going back a few paragraphs in Joyner’s book, he states, “Self-centeredness is the chief malady with which it afflicts us.” While certainly not untrue from a Biblically orthodox sense, please note that the New Age/New Spirituality believes there is only ONE sin, the sin of “separativeness”, or the sin of separation, which is claimed to come from self-centeredness. Then Joyner uses Cain and Abel as examples: Cain let his ‘sin seed’ grow, while Abel “watered” his ‘Christ seed’. In addition, this could well be a reference to the “elected seed” doctrine that only the line of Abel is “elected”, containing the “elected seed”.

    This is also the basis for the “spiritual DNA” teachings. It’s at the point at which a person is “born again” that the “spiritual DNA”, which had already been planted, begins to grow. From Johnson:

    It is said that when a kernel of corn is planted, every kernel that grows has the exact same DNA as the original kernel in the ground. Jesus became the ultimate seed that was planted in death, and we were born again by the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead. Every born-again believer has the DNA of Christ. That is amazing!

    This DNA of Christ in us is practical in that it enables the Godlike capacity to dream…He [Jesus] was planted to redeem people unto something. And that unto something involves accurately and fully representing who Jesus is on earth as in Heaven. We have His DNA and therefore manifest His face to the world…

    and:

    When the Spirit of the resurrected Christ took up residence in our bodies [ED at the "Christ anointing"], all of heaven positioned itself to see what we would conquer in His name. Resurrection power is in our nature, in our spiritual DNA. When we were born again, we received the same spiritual DNA as Jesus. His resurrection power now is to dwell in us through the Holy Spirit…

    You’ll see that all this was covered – including the text making up this “challenge” – in the quite lengthy third part (IIIb) of the Johnson: New Age Christology series:

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

    However, I felt that the series was a bit unwieldy, much like drinking water from a fire hose, which is why I decided to break down a portion here for specific discussion.

  35. Carolyn says:

    Craig: I know it was covered, but you can go over this and get something different out of it every time, depending on the angles you are coming from. Right now I’m figuring out some heretical idea that came from William Branham about the serpent seed and trying to connect the dots to the hot button topic of the day in prophetic circles of the Nephilim.

    So….we won’t get into that but I have a few other irons in the fire…like what I mentioned above…thanks for the input about Platonism March 3 4:44 where you spoke about the divine union being the same as William Law’s “union of his spirit with the spirit of the creator”…ideology.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_(wisdom)

    “Sophia (Σοφíα, Greek for “wisdom”) is a central idea in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Platonism, Gnosticism, Orthodox Christianity, Esoteric Christianity, as well as Christian mysticism. Sophiology is a philosophical concept regarding wisdom, as well as a theological concept regarding the wisdom of the biblical God.

    Sophia is honored as a goddess of wisdom by Gnostics, as well as by some Neopagan, New Age, and feminist-inspired Goddess spirituality groups. In Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity, Sophia, or rather Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), is an expression of understanding for the second person of the Holy Trinity, (as in the dedication of the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul) as well as in the Old Testament, as seen in the Book of Proverbs 9:1, but not an angel or goddess.”

    I’m seeing a connection between Divine Wisdom and Divine Union. Can we ever really figure out Bill Johnson’s Christology/Theosophy? Can he really ever really figure it out…because as we said on the other thread today…we are always reaching for some new undefinable “something more”.

    Therefore, the confusion about BJ Quote: “It is said that when a kernel of corn is planted, every kernel that grows has the exact same DNA as the original kernel in the ground. Jesus became the ultimate seed that was planted in death, and we were born again by the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead. Every born-again believer has the DNA of Christ.”

    This seems like a teaching that is meant to stay “most mysterious”…to remain as Divine Wisdom/Divine Union that we’re all encouraged to breathe in breathe out with delight and exclaim with Bill Johnson: “That is amazing!” And in reality we have no idea what he just said. But wait, there’s more…there’s always more…as Just1ofHis said in her personal observation and you alluded to in the “mystery” yet to be discovered through Gnosis.

    Anyhow…I just connected some more dots…Sophia (Holy Wisdom) is an expression of understanding for the second person of the Holy Trinity. I’m starting to see a pattern….What will the Gnostic spirits do with the Son of God to distort his real purpose and divinity? That is why it is so important to KNOW the REAL and then you can eliminate the counterfeit (everything else).

  36. Craig says:

    I need to point out, first of all, that the Son of God is the second Person of the Trinity as per Christian orthodoxy. However, according to many occult doctrines which recognize a false trinity, the Holy Breath/Holy Spirit, or “Mother” is the second Person (Mother Mary, the perpetually sinless Virgin, the coredemptrix anyone?), whereas the Son is the third. I alluded to this in part IIIa of the aforementioned Johnson series, but I did not state this specifically (there was already a LOT of material and I did not want to potentially add more confusion).

    Yes, Wisdom Sophia, as the “Holy Spirit” appears to be the one of hyper-charismaticism. And, you’re right about the Divine Wisdom (Holy Breath/Spirit, Wisdom Sophia) and Divine Union – it takes one in order to effect the other.

  37. Dawn says:

    Hi Craig, as per your request for feedback re: the parallels between BJ and New Age teaching, I confess to having read very little re: the New Age specifics (most of what I have read has been here at your site!). The parallels are fascinating (and frightening) but I find the thinking so complex that I realize I would have to devote a lot of time to studying it in order to discuss it intelligently. I’m quite sure you’re on to something important but for those I’m trying to reason with I think it would be more effective for me to build a case from Scripture without specific reference to New Age teaching which they are ignorant of as well. I find the need to keep it simple and defend my case from the Word as they think this is what they are doing!

    I was alarmed this weekend, for instance, to hear our pastor quote these words:
    “The mission of the church is the continuance of the ministry of Jesus.” as part of his series on principles to be drawn from the book of Acts… Though he avoided referencing the quote it sounded strikingly similar to BJ’s Christ as our Model teaching. So… I am at present attempting to compose a response to this. In what ways, if any, does the Church continue the ministry of Jesus? Or is this a false premise altogether, i.e.Jesus’ ministry was unique and unrepeatable and finished! I keep wavering back and forth as to whether I am dealing with mere semantics and being unnecessarily critical or whether establishing these distinctives is really vital. What do you think?

    My sensitivity to these issues is keen as many in our small town are keenly following the School of the Supernatural teachings, over which we finally left our former church and friends of a decade, and are returning to our non-charismatic roots, only to enter a series on Acts and then this statement on Sunday as we head toward a series intended to get us all more active in living out the implications of the Gospel in our town. Unsure where this is going, I am feeling it crucial to nail down these distinctives of Christ’s ministry vs. ours.

    I do appreciate all the thinking and dialogue you promote here. Thanks!

  38. Craig says:

    Dawn,

    I can understand your position. Certainly, keeping it simple is important to those who are caught up in confusion. While I know it’s, first of all, difficult to unravel just what is being taught by the likes of Johnson et al, I do think it important that once one gets somewhat of a grasp of these teachings to see its occult underpinnings. The fact that there are occult parallels/analogies should cause anyone pause. (However, I’m aware of the default hyper-charismatic position: ‘the devil stole it from God, and we should take it back’ – a ridiculous notion, as, but one example, what’s the Biblical equivalent to the teaching that “what happens in the spiritual realm affects the natural” (and vice versa) {a teaching from Hermeticism: As above, so below}, a teaching within hyper-charismatic circles?)

    To address your second paragraph, actually in a way we do carry on Jesus’ ministry; however, as you point out, we don’t do this by looking at ‘Jesus as our model’ in a specific, literal sense. The following article addresses this notion head on, specifically the hyper-charismatic claim that we will actually exceed Jesus’ miracle workings:

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

  39. Carolyn says:

    Dawn…

    The real question, I think is How? “How” do we carry on the ministry of Jesus?
    By following innocent sounding, seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, one of which is “Jesus is Our Model”?
    By taking up all the catchy slogans of the time, like “Seise the moment”, “Catch the Fire”, “Jesus Walk” or by wearing “What Would Jesus Do” armbands?
    By Carrying our cross, (Jesus teaching) or by wearing the cross…idolatry through icon-atry.
    By ecumenical and interfaith ties with the faithless? (faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God).

    Truth: We carry on the ministry of Jesus by being faithful and obedient to his Word, period. If your pastor is leading you away from love of the Truth through philosophy (which is very inclusive), then he needs his feet held to the fire.

    The supernatural phenomena and the Christian culture of our time is diverting us from the Word…developing a thirst for anything but. There simply is no life or power in it. It’s like a searching in the desert for the Living Water. You will search in vain.

    Craig’s website is one of the unique ones in that it is exposing the parallels between the Occult and the New Breed of Christianity. Coming from hyper-charismaticism myself, it’s more a lesson in connecting the dots. I’ve already been exposed to the occult teachings all my life. Just didn’t recognize them for what they were.

    As I see more and more Christians falling prey to these personalities (Chuck Pierce, Bill Johnson, Randy Demain, etc.) and the captivations of their false teachings, (Prophets claiming to speak for God), I shudder. Should they have misgivings about the nature and source of these teachings, this site, for one, will confirm their worst fears.I pray that more will have misgivings

    …in the meantime, we continue to shine the Light in dark places.

    God bless you as you minister to your friends.

  40. Dawn says:

    Thanks to both of you, Craig and Carolyn for your feedback. I find this draw to ‘follow Christ as a model’ to be frustratingly deceptive. The “HOW” do we do this surely is one clue that needs to be pursued. For surely Jesus call to purchase redemption as the one and only Son of God, the perfect Lamb, quite sets His ministry apart from ours.
    We proclaim Christ. He proclaimed Himself!
    God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. We are ambassadors of this message of reconciliation. It’s what Christ has done, not what we can do that matters.
    I was thinking of the disciples sent out in pairs to preach. They came back elated to have cast out demons etc…Jesus warned them not to rejoice in this power at their fingertips, so to speak, but to rejoice that their names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Clearly we are not to be side-tracked by power shows but to remember what the Cross had made possible, our redemption. When it becomes about our great works/ potential/ ability we’ve missed the point. Christ IN US is our hope of glory. It’s not about our glory…
    Ok, so I’m preaching to the choir…these thoughts have been rumbling about in my head trying to be shaped into a cohesive response to the concept that the Church’s mission is to continue the ministry of Jesus…
    The complementary teaching as I see it is “our identity in Christ”. How can something so true, and as Scripturally proveable as the “I am…”s of Scripture be used to sidetrack us from the great I AM? And yet this teaching subtly turns believers to focus on themselves and even celebrate their own glory, forgetting that it is in beholding the glory of the Lord that we are transformed. Have you noticed this emphasis on our identity being paired with BJ’s teaching? I used to think it quite legitimate. Now I question it because of it’s self-focus. It seems like the “IN CHRIST” part of the equation is glossed over and misunderstood and the “I AM…” becomes the focus. What do you think?
    Thanks to you both for your time and consideration.

  41. Craig says:

    Many different occult teachings pervert the Colossians passage “Christ in you, the hope of glory” to mean that each person has a ‘Christ within’ which is awaiting to be awakened. I contend this IS what Johnson et al are teaching. This is what I believe Johnson is getting at in this very post with his ‘two seeds’ teaching (third paragraph of transcription). This is why I appended the New Age/occult teaching for comparison, with the very last question of this challenge asking if Johnson’s teaching could be a ‘Christianized’ version of the occult divine spark/seed/’Christ within’ teaching.

    So, yes, I do believe your assessment is correct that BJ’s teaching focuses on self, for, just as in the similar occult teachings, each person has a seed/spark of the divine within. This is why hyper-charismaticism teachings “intimacy with God”, “soaking in His presence” – we are to go within ourselves to encounter the divine. This is the essence of contemplative prayer, which is really no different than Transcendental Meditation. In TM, the goal is to unite your ‘divine within’ to the ‘divine without’, the Transcendent Being. Same song, different dance in hyper-charismaticism.

  42. Dawn says:

    Re: Craig’s mention of hermeticism.
    I had to look that one up: Wikipedia gives this definition: “Hermeticism is a set of beliefs and practices whose aim is the influencing of the world through contact with the heavenly forces.” Right away I thought of of Prayer. Is this the believer’s equivalent? I have been thinking lately of the role of prayer in a believer’s life. I think it is all too easy to fall under the misconception that prayer is a person’s way to manipulate God into doing our will. I even wonder if traditions like prayer chains, can give the false impression that if enough people want a thing, God will do it. Just thinking…as I clean out my ‘closets’ of wrong beliefs…
    btw, thanks for the link re: Greater Works (http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/). Very nicely presented. Good to see the commentary to back up some of the truths I have become convinced of. Did Jesus ever see such converts as Peter on the Day of Pentecost, for instance. The power of the preaching of the Gospel in tandem with the Spirit’s convicting work is a dynamic duo sometimes overlooked in the scramble to do ‘greater works’.

  43. Craig says:

    I think it is all too easy to fall under the misconception that prayer is a person’s way to manipulate God into doing our will.

    This is basically witchcraft.

    Re: prayer – I would frame the argument this way: Prayer is the proper way to commune with God, to ask God for answers to our prayers, to seek His will; Hermeticism’s “as above, so below” is a perversion of this in the form of forcing our way, with malevolent forces (demons) doing our bidding. The enemy is VERY willing to allow us to use his powers towards our/his ends.

  44. Craig says:

    Dawn,

    By the way, I supplied a link to some esoteric teaching in my comment at 6:15am. The blue text is a hyperlink, and if you click on it, you’ll go here:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/kyb/kyb04.htm

    See Point 2 “The Principle of Correspondence”

    Now, how does that compare to Johnson’s goal of bringing heaven to earth as in his book When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles? As above [Heaven, miracles], so below [earth, miracles] – the “Principle of Correspondence”, corresponding heaven and earth.

  45. Carolyn says:

    Dawn, you said: ” I find this draw to ‘follow Christ as a model’ to be frustratingly deceptive. The “HOW” do we do this surely is one clue that needs to be pursued. For surely Jesus call to purchase redemption as the one and only Son of God, the perfect Lamb, quite sets His ministry apart from ours.
    We proclaim Christ. He proclaimed Himself!
    God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. We are ambassadors of this message of reconciliation. It’s what Christ has done, not what we can do that matters.”

    John 6:63
    It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    What makes a true Christian different from a false Christian? The true Christian is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit.
    Therefore, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident. His/her love will be apparent. There are counterfeits for everything Christian…but this fruit…love… cannot be duplicated. Ecstatic emotion is not Love. If you watch a false teacher’s life for a while, the absence of genuine love will become glaringly obvious.

    Romans 5:5
    And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

    How many false teachers have this fruit of love in their life? In my own life, there is a genuine love for people. It even surprises me because it’s always there in spite of circumstance. It is not mine. If I get angry with someone, I’m convicted and I HAVE to make it right…otherwise the Holy Spirit is grieved and my relationship with him is broken, until I make it right.

    Love is…how we carry on the ministry of Jesus. It is His Love and his Life in us…and I’ll follow this up with an example of the counterfeit.

  46. Carolyn says:

    http://apprising.org/2013/01/02/louie-giglio-passion-2013-and-jesus-culture/

    Speaking of witchcraft, Craig…in this video clip, third one down, about 3:09 Cindy Jacobs “shifts” into the prophetic gear…and says, the Lord says….blah blah blah… “I am calling from the nations of the world, from the North and the South and the East and the West”…witchcraft verbiage…

  47. Carolyn says:

    And I persist….because I want to drive this point home. There are many discernment ministries and apologists who have a knowledge of the Bible but don’t have the Spirit of Truth, evidenced by their lack of LOVE.

    They may even be accurate to a point in their defence of Christianity…for instance some Roman Catholics can sound quite orthodox when just speaking on Christology. But without Love of the Spirit (because they have not the belief of being born again), then they are but a sounding gong.

    Yesterday in doing some research I ended up on a Mormon site and a Seventh Day Adventist site. They sounded pretty good on the Biblical topic I was studying, but then as I looked a little deeper, they gave clues as to their real agenda.

    Notice in this passage…the last word ties it all together.

    Ephesians 4:14-16
    King James Version (KJV)
    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
    16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    My point…in carrying on the ministry of Christ…if the sheep are fed religion without love or finely articulated doctrine without the Spirit…it is pointless. If we only care about the doctrine, then it is but an agenda of men…a religion void of the Spirit. And if we think we have love and we don’t….then God help us!

  48. Dawn says:

    Good point, Carolyn. Thank-you. Love. Now that’s bringing it down to the basics, and yet, without the Spirit. unattainable. Good perspective. Good reminder.
    And yet, at a distance we can’t measure the ‘love’ of a false teacher, only the doctrine. I think they might stand out more readily if there weren’t so much anonymity as is created with only knowing them from a broadcast/DVD/etc…
    Then there is the false call to ‘love one another’ and be ‘unified’ under whatever teaching is going around, as if to hold to sound doctrine were unloving!
    Anyway, will consider these aspects as I get back to collecting thoughts on paper. Thanks.

  49. Craig says:

    2 Cor. 11:1 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 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.

    5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6 I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. 7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

    12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

  50. Carolyn says:

    Dawn, I was just re-reading your comment of March 7 10:03pm where you said:
    “The complementary teaching as I see it is “our identity in Christ”. How can something so true, and as Scripturally proveable as the “I am…”s of Scripture be used to sidetrack us from the great I AM? And yet this teaching subtly turns believers to focus on themselves and even celebrate their own glory, forgetting that it is in beholding the glory of the Lord that we are transformed. Have you noticed this emphasis on our identity being paired with BJ’s teaching? I used to think it quite legitimate. Now I question it because of it’s self-focus. It seems like the “IN CHRIST” part of the equation is glossed over and misunderstood and the “I AM…” becomes the focus. What do you think?”

    Ah. yes, self focus. A big topic. Many shall come in my name saying I am the Christ. This new identity of “Christ consciousness” is preached by all the New Agers. In my humble opinion, it is THE LIE or shall we say, the DNA(life) of the LIE. Our identity in Christ is who we are in Him. That is, the real Christ. If we have our identity in a different Christ, one so altered by the teaching of angels or the doctrines of demons, then our faith will be discounted…the spring of eternal life only wells up as we put our faith in the Christ, the Word of God who became flesh John 1:14.

    If you will notice, in doctrine’s of demons, they somehow manage to turn every truth into the opposite, which baphomet signifies the solve et coagula of his arms in the representation of “as above, so below”…He dissolves the truth and presents the lie. First doubt has to be cast on the truth, then the lie can be birthed.

    As in Oprah’s case…she was sitting in church and the minister was talking about God being a jealous God. She said she felt at that moment that something didn’t sound right. Doubt entered her mind. She believed the opposing idea to God’s truth, even though Scripture can back up the point that God is a jealous God, and from that moment the deception in her grew. She had opened the door to be deceived and has never looked back. She became identified with the opposing truth, the Anti-christ spirit.

    2 Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

    He opposes the truth in every way he can…

    The Holy Spirit in us testifies of the truth if we are listening to Him, rather than men’s teachings. He (the Spirit of Truth) will guide us into all truth.

    Craig…yes, he masquerades as the true and is actually pretty good at it. If we don’t compare everything we hear with the Word, we can be EASILY fooled.

  51. Carolyn says:

    Dawn…you said “And yet, at a distance we can’t measure the ‘love’ of a false teacher, only the doctrine. I think they might stand out more readily if there weren’t so much anonymity as is created with only knowing them from a broadcast/DVD/etc…”

    True true. False teachers can keep their deceptions well hidden by being unapproachable or unavailable or by being too busy to come down off their pedestals (which we have erected for them). Sometimes it’s hard to drag them out of the shadows to unmask their character, but should you make contact with a false teacher and if you should contradict their doctrine…they will react. The true nature of the beast will be apparent.

    The false teacher will usually divert attention from himself/herself, attacking either your character or your absurdity, rather than defending or contending for the faith. Speaking of focus, it will be on anything but the Word…they will defend their truth with extra biblical teachings, with teachings of men, with experience or visions, accusations, lies, sarcasm or silence.

    The fruit of the Spirit is love and self control. If you speak to a man of God about the seemingly contradictory aspects of what you are hearing, there will be patient teaching and admonition from the Word (feed my sheep). They care for the sheep, not their own reputations.

    Right now, I could go off on a tangent on this issue, but lucky for you, I won’t. :-)

  52. Carolyn says:

    Craig, I don’t know if you want to post this, but since we were talking about Hermeticism, this is the teaching on Baphomet…the one worshipped by the Kabbalist Shriners, Secret Societies and New Agers and….this guy pulls the “Oneness” factor together at the end with the ultimate in Scripture twisting!!! Oh yes, Satan knows Scripture very well…I can hear his smooth, velvety voice pulsating “hath God said…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br0Ca0eAHSo (Disclaimer – false propaganda)

    “To the pure all things are pure”…indeed!!! *cough, choke*

    The comment I would make is that if you can see the agenda of Baphomet, then you can see the agenda of Satan. It makes you more aware of what to look for in false doctrine, ie God is both male and female…there is no distinction (lie), dark is light, evil is good, they are not anti-thetical (lie) and heaven becomes one with earth…no separation as they are united by Christ consciousness (lie). This baphomet ideology parallels Bill Johnson’s ideology in “When Heaven Invades Earth”…because they are both doctrines of demons…all ending up with the One World Plan of Satan to sit in the Temple as God (Satan’s true, hidden agenda) while proclaiming unity in peace and love (Satan’s false, publicized agenda).

  53. Craig says:

    The guy in the video seems to conflate the prefix pent (five) with pan (all); the two have nothing to do with one another. He also fails to distinguish between a five-pointed star with two points pointing downwards (as in the American flag) and one including each straight line which are drawn to make up the pentagram. When a pentagram has only one downward pointing point, it is associated with Satanism. And this pentagram (or pentacle) also sometimes has the goat’s head of the Baphomet in the middle.

    While the Baphomet is meant to depict ‘god’ as both male and female, more importantly, it is meant as a depiction of perfect humanity. The idea is that the first Adam was a perfect bi-sexual (meaning two-sexed, not its common meaning) being. This is not the same as androgyny which is meant to depict neither gender. All of humanity’s problems came when the female aspect – Eve – was removed from Adam, leaving him only male. The goal, then, is to reunite humanity into one. This all comes from the idea that a part of ‘god’ is immanent (in) everything; i.e., in the beginning ‘god’ diffused a part of himself into all of creation. Therefore, ‘god’ is split up into himself (a not-quite-whole ‘god’) and the ‘god’ that remains in all of creation. First, all the ‘god’ sparks must reunite so that one day ‘god’ can reunite himself with the part of him that was previously diffused throughout all of creation. Then all will be ONE again.

  54. Carolyn says:

    Boy, did that theory miss the mark! We’re already ONE in Christ.

    Ephesians 2:14
    For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

    Colossians 1:20
    And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

  55. Craig says:

    Actually, both of those verses can (and have been) misused to convey that doctrine. Continuing through to verse 16 in Ephesians, you’ll see the “one new man” concept that Chuck Pierce is promoting. The following, from Esoteric Christianity by Richard Smoley [2002, Shambhala, Boston, MA; pp 134-35], may help illustrate how:

    …The Father is the ineffable, transcendent aspect of God; the Son [ED: Christ] is God’s immanent aspect. This divine spark or Logos is the first sounding-forth of existence form the depths of infinity: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4). Christ is the embodiment of this immanent aspect of God.

    So are we. “Without him was not any thing made that was made.” Nothing comes into existence unless this divine spark of consciousness, no matter how faint or dim, lies at its center. This was true of Jesus, it true of me, and it is true of you…at the core we are the same.

    The text goes on to use A Course in Miracles as an example, quoting from it (quotes below are from it). It explains that The Fall came when humanity (Adam and Eve) chose to “know good and evil”, with the consequence that man saw himself as separated from God. [Not stated here, but this happened as a direct result of separating the woman from the perfect bi-gendered man.] The process of Atonement begins in man’s recognition of unity with God and one another:

    …The man Jesus was the first human being to fully realize his part of the plan. “The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but AT ONE [ED: caps added for emphasis] with God.” For this reason Jesus says in the Course, “I am charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin.” This does not mean that Jesus is essentially different from the rest of us; the Course insists he is not….

    …Another part of the Course says about Jesus, “Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you….”

    To help unravel potential confusion: “Christ” is “the Son”, but this is NOT the same as Jesus. Jesus, like all of mankind, had/has the “divine spark” (‘Christ within’); Jesus is the first man to fully actualize Atonement (at-one-ment), and, as such, he is our model to emulate towards individual at-one-ment with God. Yet, we are all “Christs”, as we all have the ‘Christ within’.

  56. Carolyn says:

    It always amazes me, although it shouldn’t….when you look at the teachings from the perspective of the Word, when you look below the surface, the serpent is still distorting the identity of Christ, casting doubt on what God has said, refusing to acknowledge the penalty for partaking in what is forbidden and changing the focus of God’s remedy for sin…twisting the gospel message into something vaguely familiar but unrecognizable to the original…

    Genesis 3:3 “but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.””

    It’s just the same lie of the garden of Eden, dressed in a different robe…same song, different dance, same ice cream, different toppings….same twisted logic, toxic to the soul…

    And he’s still at it, and we’re still indulging in the forbidden fruit….hoping for some enlightening spark that will permit us to have life apart from our Creator. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

  57. Craig says:

    What is described in my comment at 8:46pm 03/09/13 in the first paragraph quote is panentheism – God is IN all. However, it’s important to recognize the transcendent element, in addition to the immanent (God within) element, as both are central to the doctrine. Many confuse pantheism (God is all) with panentheism, but these two are totally different. In fact, I’m not really sure there are actually true pantheistic cultures; but, I could be wrong. Most seem to revere things because the belief is that every thing, including inanimate objects, are viewed as living beings, since they each contain a “divine spark” or ‘consciousness’. Alice Bailey’s first book is titled The Consciousness of the Atom, because it is asserted that even the smallest building block, the atom, has its own consciousness. From what I understand, even the ‘sacred cow’ of Hinduism is not sacred because it is revered as god-like; it’s revered because of what can be used from it.

    The goal then is for each ‘spirit’ within each and every thing to be liberated from its ‘shell’ at some point. This teaching is in Gnosticism and the Kabbalah, as well as other esoteric doctrines. The idea goes back to BC times in which there was a dualism in which all matter was believed to be evil (and just WHO created all?), while spirit, which is within all things (and who said we will be gods?), is inherently good. This ideology explains why the Gnostics of the 1st/2nd century could not envision Jesus as God – He came in human form, which is inherently evil, in their minds. Therefore, Jesus’ body was either a phantom, a ghost-like apparition (known as docetism from the Greek word which means “to seem”, as in Jesus Christ only ‘seemed’ to have a body), or He was merely human and the Christ spirit (remember, all spirit is good) descended upon Him at baptism, but left Him before the Crucifixion as spirit cannot die.

    The Gnostics (just like the Platonists, as well as the Middle Platonists and the Neoplatonists who came after), recognized a transcendent, unknowable God, along with their own God within (the immortality of the soul). The goal is to rid oneself of the evil matter that envelopes the inner ‘true’ self, the ‘god’ within. The primary way to do this is by a form of Transcendental Meditation (called by various names, using a variety of methods, with the same basic intended result) – uniting the inner ‘god’ (the immanence aspect) with the transcendent by a cumulative process.

    Once one understands the basic ideology as outlined above, one can see how many of the world religions adhere to a form of this. In addition, and more importantly for the work on CrossWise, one can begin to see the underlying theology permeating much of Christendom – a ‘Christianized’ version of the above.

  58. Carolyn says:

    Alright, I see that you have pin pointed the lies. And we have been concerned for many Christians who are crossing the line into these theories/heresies of Platonism, Divine Spark and Transcendence, being ignorant of what they are actually believing…one example that I brought up in a previous post, being the Platonistic divine spark teaching of the “Power of the Spirit” by William Law. And some Christians apparently have thought the teaching was “powerful”.

    Now, the question is HOW do we get them to understand from a Biblical point of view the difference. Yes, everyone is making the same mistake…Gnostics, New Agers and Christian mystics but what is the truth that will dispel the darkness? Obviously, if some very intelligent Christians have been deceived, there’s not an easy answer. Perhaps a simple answer…but not an easy one? Humbling oneself before God? Accepting that one can be deceived in spite of a seminary education? Can theology really open our eyes to these great deceptions or is it something only God can do by his Spirit… in answer to a child like simple prayer of faith?

  59. Craig says:

    The problem is that Christians, in general, are very trusting – especially with those viewed as being in the ‘church’. This makes Christians, as a group, vulnerable to false teachers. It’s up to each individual to read the Scriptures for themselves. In so doing, the reader will notice that there are a LOT of references to false teachers in the NT. Yet there are many who are Biblically illiterate, due to no one’s fault but their own, who would much rather have their ears “tickled”. As a consequence, they’ve NO IDEA they are sitting under false teachings. The enemy knows how to distort the Scriptures such that they look like Truth, as he’s been doing it since the Garden.

    To add to the problem, many are not even saved, as Matthew 13:24-30 makes clear. How many unsaved are actually attending Christian churches? I’m not speaking of the false teachers who are perpetuating these esoteric doctrines; I’m speaking of those in the “pews”. The unsaved do not even have the ability to discern falsehood, as they’re not equipped, lacking the Spirit. And, these folks are not likely to get saved by attending the ‘churches’ of the false teachers because said teachers are not preaching the Gospel message. Yet the Spirit will ‘speak’ to the unsaved; it’s a question of whether they’ll be a able to ‘listen’ amongst the hyper-charismatic excesses.

    But, yes, once one understands s/he is under false teachings, the only answer is to humbly pray to God that He would forgive us and that He would guide us into the Truth. When an individual is convicted that they may well be adhering to false teachings, then the best prayer would be to ask God to show them the falsehoods they’ve been embracing.

    I should point out that the Christian God is transcendent, as well as immanent in a sense; however, He’s not within everything such that all things are inherently ‘god’. I’m sure you meant the transcendence and immanence aspects as reflected in the false doctrine of panentheism. I just want to alleviate any potential confusion on any reader.

  60. Carolyn says:

    Well said, Craig. I think another question I have is WHY are Christians, including leaders so easily deceived…and you have answered that with Biblical illiteracy and wanting their ears tickled. But what about those that are Biblically literate? Those like the Bill Johnsons and William Laws who know the Scriptures well but in spite of that, have taken the road into deception?

    What were they looking for besides a relationship with their Creator through Christ? Was it power? greed? prestige? popery? Is blindness a judgement of God for going after evil seductions, crossing unscriptural boundaries and believing lies of attainment by alternate means?

    Matthew 13:15
    For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

    I agree many who we think are Christians, were never even Christians to begin with…they are professors. They have dulled their hearing by their own lusts and without the miracle of conversion, they will remain sinful advocates of deception.

    Matthew 18:3-5
    3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

  61. just1ofhis says:

    “Now, the question is HOW do we get them to understand from a Biblical point of view the difference. Yes, everyone is making the same mistake…Gnostics, New Agers and Christian mystics but what is the truth that will dispel the darkness? Obviously, if some very intelligent Christians have been deceived, there’s not an easy answer. Perhaps a simple answer…but not an easy one? Humbling oneself before God? Accepting that one can be deceived in spite of a seminary education? Can theology really open our eyes to these great deceptions or is it something only God can do by his Spirit… in answer to a child like simple prayer of faith?”

    Just a thought here, but in the book of Revelation Jesus calls His people out of the harlot church lest they share in her sins and receive her plagues. (Rev 18)

    I actually don’t think we can do anything to get people to understand the truth of scripture, but God can. We can do our part: love them, pray for them, hold up the truth to them gently but firmly, and watch our own lives and doctrines closely. But it is God who works understanding; and if those who have been handed His Word “resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7: 51) and “refuse to love the truth” (2 Thess 2:11), then they will fall to the judgment of “powerful delusion” (2 Thess) that has been sent by God.

    If people do not willingly come out of her, God will do the humbling. The warning is already written on the wall.

    The part that we don’t know is whether or not a person, in that hour of humbling, will repent and turn. The robber on the cross next to Jesus–who began by mocking Jesus and ended by confessed his guilt and recognizingJesus as Lord–is our example of God’s saving grace in the last breath of life. I think part of our “how” is to keep faith in a God with such amazing mercy towards people and keep praying for that change of heart in those who are deceived.

    btw, thanks all. This is an awesome discussion.

  62. IWTT says:

    @Carolyn,

    Fitting question on March 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm
    Been thinking about it alot today. How did I get decieved and duped into this? I was educated by one top notch pastor in my younger years. Where did my ears become itching? Thank the Lord, what I was taught came back, and He opened my eyes to this.

    @justoneofhis…
    Appreciate your response, March 11, 2013 at 9:20 am
    And truthfully, “…nothing new under the sun…” and I agree with your assessment. Only God can really bring them out. If He turns them over to their own deception, then only He can turn them the other way. We just need to have the right answer of truth and share it in love.

  63. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Could music have played a part? I myself am very moved by music, as music has been (and still is) a large part of my life. This was certainly a draw for me potentially into hyper-charismaticism. In an effort to draw me in, years ago an individual gave me a Misty Edwards cd, which I initially was drawn to, as it was a departure from some of the more ‘ordinary’ Christian music I’d heard prior. Frankly, it reminded me of some of the alternative rock I listened to in the ’80s/’90s, except with a more explicitly ‘Christian’ message (or so I thought). However, I have to admit that at first some of her lyrics gave me pause. On the other hand, I initially dismissed that as thoughts emanating from my own former wordly life and my own distorting of the lyrics’ intent based on that. Specifically, I’m thinking of the “God is a lover looking for a lover, so He fashioned me” lyric. For me “lover” meant sex partner, and I actually condemned myself for thinking that Edwards’ lyrics were wrong for presenting God in a manner confusing to the listener. However, NOW I’m of the opinion that the lines between God’s agape love and eros love are purposely blurred to go along with Bickle’s “Bridal Paradigm” teaching. I don’t care how many times he makes the “Jesus is not your lover” claim; his teachings lend themselves to this sort of thing.

    I didn’t mean to get too far off track and into Mike Bickle on a Bill Johnson thread; but, I did want to try to help you in finding your answer.

  64. linda62 says:

    Craig said:The problem is that Christians, in general, are very trusting – especially with those viewed as being in the ‘church’. This makes Christians, as a group, vulnerable to false teachers. It’s up to each individual to read the Scriptures for themselves…”

    I find this issue of why and how people become deceived very interesting, as my husband and I have watched this process over the past year or so in a circle of believers we shared a small group with for more than two years (before it was hijacked by B J: SofS teaching). Not knowing the Word well is a factor but must be clarified. In the case of those we watched these were the ‘cream of the crop’ in our church, the most zealous, most likely to be in the Word, in a small group, in a Bible Study or pursuing further teaching in some way. They all loved the Lord and His Word and had strong desire to see the Chruch fulfill its mission in the world….

    We saw their vulnerability as coming from the culture of this church and others of its kind–one in which experience is given a higher respect than Scripture. This is not formally held to. The doctrinal statement would appear sound. But in practice, one who has seen something, felt something, had a dream or an experience of whatever kind, has a lot of clout. Experience ends up interpreting Scripture instead of the other way around. A steady, unemotional, reasonable faith is regarded with suspicion if not attended by regular experiences.

    A second factor in this ‘culture’ is the continual desire for ‘more’–This is seen as spiritual when in many cases it is actually a carnal attitude. There is little rest in God’s sovereignty, or confidence in His working where no outward display is in evidence. This culture of discontent is a set-up for deception.

    A related factor was personal desperation for God to ‘do something’ in a given situation, usually based on a false premise that the current situation could not possibly be the will of God. For one family it was a long-awaited healing, for another the disgrace of having a baby in the church born with birth defects, for another the longing to see people in our town come to Christ…In desperation people, especially really zealous believers, are easily led into deception, esp. if the teaching seems to be promising results.

    But underlying the pursuit of deception, there is often a wrong guiding premise, an unrecognized false understanding of God’s will and my responsibility. Certain church ‘cultures’ beget these vulnerabilities in their faithful constituents.

    Have you seen Kevin Reeves The Other Side of the River? He aptly points out many of these things in the story of his own experience of hyper charismaticism. I’ve written a short review here: http://thestackofdawn.blogspot.ca/search?q=river with relevant quotes.

    This is great dialogue. I concur with so much of what’s been pointed out!

  65. linda62 says:

    IWTT, Music clearly has a powerful effect. In some churches it is used (almost?) hypnotically to bring the ‘worshiper’ into a state assumed to be real worship. If the lyrics are self-absorbed, feeling exulting, me-oriented, is it any wonder they make us feel good and in turn cloud our ability to really worship but deceive us into thinking that’s just what we’ve been doing.

    I personally appreciate Sovereign Grace music for this reason (though I don’t always appreciate the musical style) because they have been very intentional in teaching solid, Cross focused, God-exalting doctrine in their lyrics. The words that echo in our minds will affect what we believe. All that is marketed as Christian is certainly not Ephesians 5:19 ‘spiritual’.

  66. Craig says:

    linda62,

    Thanks for jumping in! Yes, I have Reeves’ book. (I actually bought a second copy hoping to give it to the individual who tried to lead me into hyper-charismaticism 6 years ago – after the escape that I prayed for. After a while I ended up giving it to someone else.)

    I should point out that I wasn’t trying to make an all-inclusive statement in my comment below, as I fully recognize your point about those who are zealous. My former friend (the hyper-charismatic – she is the one who broke off our friendship, making it “former”) was very zealous. It was so very disheartening to hear her speak of some of her experiences. But, no doubt they have wandered from the Truth. As the Apostle John has stated:

    18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

    20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. [1 John 2:18-21, NIV]

    Sadly, these individuals can become pragmatists – whatever works in their spiritual journey is what must be done. It doesn’t matter if it amounts to witchcraft, the occult. This is the basis of E.W. Kenyon’s theology (from which we get the modern Word of Faith). According to D.R. McConnell’s excellent A Different Gospel, Kenyon appropriated methods used in Christian Science, Unity and other esoteric traditions in an effort to lure more folks to the ‘Church’ and/or to get those who moved to these other traditions back. Many of these things are in use in the hyper-charismatic church today.

  67. Craig says:

    linda62,

    I do believe that a mild state of hypnosis is the desired (demonic) goal of the music within hyper-charismatic – whether the musicians realize this or not. In this way, the attendees are in a more receptive state for the teachings and goings-on which follow.

  68. Carolyn says:

    IWTT – I think it may be as simple as the fact that we are going after transcendence for ourselves before the appointed time. We have the deposit of the Spirit in our life but it is only that, a mere deposit, a hope of greater things to come…which we must patiently wait for.

    Craig said, Mar 10 1:08 – “The goal then is for each ‘spirit’ within each and every thing to be liberated from its ‘shell’ at some point. This teaching is in Gnosticism and the Kabbalah, as well as other esoteric doctrines.”

    This is perhaps why we listen so easily to these Satanic deceptions. It is the promise of being released from the shell of ordinariness to become divine. Wouldn’t you like right now to be liberated? God’s way…through salvation by faith. Satan’s way…you can have it now.

    In the case of the phenomenon of hyper-charismaticism…they are unwilling to wait. So what they have attained is a counterfeit for the real. Contrary to popular Christianity, in this life, we are to walk humbly with our God, showing mercy and justice. And in the life to come, he will appoint us to power and rule…not over God, or not equal to God, but subject to God.

    Today, we don’t want to live on the lowly plane of existence with God. We want a higher plane. We want to feel the eternal flow of energy, the life force of eternity, the tree of life from the garden of Eden…without passing through the consequence of death to our natural man.

    We were humbled in the garden, through disobedience and now we have a chance to accept God’s plan of redemption. It is a lowly plane. If we accept it, we shall pass into a transcendent existence…If we try to attain to it now, we shall experience the counterfeit and lose our soul in the process.

    The Word teaches us how to walk with God. Not through transcendental meditation or igniting the divine spark or by attaining to a knowledge of how transcendence works. How we walk with God is a day to day relationship with him in his Word, by his Spirit’s guidance. A lowly plane…but the fruit of which yields abundant life.

  69. Carolyn says:

    Linda62 – you said, “personally appreciate Sovereign Grace music for this reason (though I don’t always appreciate the musical style) because they have been very intentional in teaching solid, Cross focused, God-exalting doctrine in their lyrics. The words that echo in our minds will affect what we believe.”

    I listen to a Christian station music mostly when I’m driving. It’s a mixed bag these days…sometimes I feel like I’m worshipping, when suddenly, I become aware that I’m actually having an emotional experience while listening to New Age…kinda sad…but at least I have some discernment these days, which tells me that the Holy Spirit is alive and well….

  70. Carolyn says:

    Linda 62 Quote: “A steady, unemotional, reasonable faith is regarded with suspicion if not attended by regular experiences.”

    Yes! Been thinking about this verse lately…

    according to Galatians, there are only two kinds of people in the Christian culture…those who are free and those who come under bondage:
    Galatians 4:28-30
    28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
    29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
    30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.

    …those born of the Spirit by the Word are always persecuted by those who prefer things like experiences or false teachers putting those who listen to them under bondage to them.

  71. Arwen4CJ says:

    linda62,

    Very interesting post. I think that you are correct in much of what you’ve said about how some are deceived. I, too, have observed much of what you wrote in others at a church I attended for a long time.

    I think that people become open to deception the moment they are persuaded that God’s grace isn’t quite sufficient. Of course we as Christians want to grow in our faith, in our understanding, and in our relationship with God. And God wants this for us too, or there would be no such thing as sanctification.

    However, just with any other biblical truth, these things can be twisted by Satan and his accomplices. As soon as any doctrine stops being about God, and begins to be about us, we are much more likely to be deceived.

    When the whole Todd Bentley thing came up, and I talked to the people at the church I was attending about the deep concerns I had with it, several people that I respected in that church gave me answers like, “I don’t want to miss something God is doing.”

    And those answers like that really disturbed me. It was as though the gospel wasn’t what was important to her, but rather that some move of God was more important. But yet, she never tested the teachings of Todd Bentley or his friends. She just heard that God was doing stuff, and she didn’t want to miss out on anything. It was as though she thought she NEEDED this new thing, as if it was an essential thing to seek out whatever God was currently doing, rather than being satisfied with the gospel itself.

    There is a great temptation to want to have experience or gifts or to be on the receiving end of the gifts, etc — or go after the next new thing, or whatever form it might take — anything that makes the gospel look insufficient. Maybe people are vulnerable in different areas, and none of us are above deception. We’ve probably all been deceived at least a little bit in our Christian walks.

    Even if someone knows the Scriptures well, we can still be deceived into accepting things that are not quite Scriptural, especially if the church or leader or whomever is teaching some very sound things too.

    I noticed at the two churches that I was involved with that there was a gradual, gentle push towards more and more unbiblical things. For example, the pastor would preach less and less on Scripture, people would slowly stop bringing their Bibles to church. There would be more and more experience type messages in both the sermons or in something that someone said, etc.

  72. Craig says:

    There are many scholars of the opinion that John’s Gospel was written years after the synoptics (Matthew, Mark, Luke) as an addendum of sorts. I would agree, as this makes sense of how John writes about light/darkness, truth/lies, and other opposites, which were present in the culture (known as Dualism), and likely (in my mind) were incorporated with Christianity creating a syncretism leading to (if not already) Gnosticism. Also, in specifically stating that the Eternal Word became flesh, I believe John was, in a subtle way, refuting the dichotomy of matter = evil, spirit = good, as Jesus was flesh (matter) and God (spirit) in one Person. (John would be more explicit in his first epistle.)

    I state the above to say that I believe this is the point Jesus was making after doubting Thomas put his fingers on his hands where the nails were and on his side with his words:

    29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    …was that we are to live by faith. This is also in Luke 18:8:

    …when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

  73. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hmmmmm…..I’ve been thinking — and I remember attending a young adult service that the church I left put on. I only went to one of these young adult services, because I really didn’t like what the “message” was in this service.

    The person who “preached” basically made the point that God will bless or use or give gifts to someone who rushes in and “grabs” the thing, pushing others out of the way, metaphorically. If someone doesn’t do this, then God won’t use them, they won’t grow in their faith, they’ll miss out on something God would have for them, etc.

    How prevalent do you think this type of teaching is with hyper-charsimaticis?

    I heard several references to this type of teaching in that church and in another church….

    If this is something that is commonly taught, perhaps it is yet another reason why hyper-charismatics tend to emphasize experience and going after the next new thing, and could help explain why the one lady made the comment she did about not wanting to miss out on something God had for her.

    There are several problems that I see with the above theology, one of the biggest being that I don’t think that this is describing the God of the Bible….

  74. Carolyn says:

    Linda62 – This is one of the quotes by Kevin Reeves that you had in your review:

    Pitting the Word against the Holy Spirit is the easiest way in the world to get a Christian to believe that he is missing out. Since there are no reference points in Scripture from which to validate these manifestations, visions, dreams, and experiences, the best way to get around the issue is to declare the Bible relatively obsolete, or somehow detached from the Spirit’s present leading.” (205)

    …love it!

    Just1ofhis – what stuck out to me in your post was: “The warning is already written on the wall.” Yes it is…just that no one without the Spirit, understands Holy Writ.

  75. Carolyn says:

    Arwen4CJ -Quote: “The person who “preached” basically made the point that God will bless or use or give gifts to someone who rushes in and “grabs” the thing, pushing others out of the way, metaphorically. If someone doesn’t do this, then God won’t use them, they won’t grow in their faith, they’ll miss out on something God would have for them, etc.

    How prevalent do you think this type of teaching is with hyper-charsimaticis?”

    Is this a trick question? The answer is, of course…”the violent take it by force”…

    And of course, I am being facetious, but it is the mentality of the aggressive, hyper-charismatic worldling who agrees with militant force and “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Where is the “patient endurance” of the saints or where is “quiet confidence”?

  76. Carolyn says:

    IWTT – Quote: “Been thinking about it alot today. How did I get decieved and duped into this? I was educated by one top notch pastor in my younger years. Where did my ears become itching?”

    Since you’re thinking about it, could you ever be deceived again…ever? Why or why not?

  77. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    I have been following this thread since Craig first posted it. Great discussion points! What Craig is doing in analyzing and exposing these doctrines is so essential. Thank you, Craig.

    What I am about to say does not negate what Craig is doing, but Carolyn’s comments and others with her, echo what I have been thinking. As I pondered how to answer Craig’s challenges, I kept coming back to what the Scriptures say. I have been having my eyes opened to this “stuff” since 2008. When I first began understanding its NA roots, I felt like I was playing catch up trying to devour all that was being written on the discernment sites. Now after five years, I cannot imagine the average “sheep” being willing or even able to do the same. What I am saying is that reading Bailey or recognizing the theosophical underpinnings of these teachings, as Craig so skillfully does, is not what is important in discerning the error.

    For as much as I have devoured and dug, I cannot always wrap my head around all the esoteric blabber. It’s really hard for me to make the connections sometimes. When I talk to the average sheep and point out very simple doctrinal truths, they glaze over at the simplest statements. In no way could they keep up with what is talked about here! (Stay with me—what is done on this blog is absolutely critical!)

    What Carolyn (et. al.) are stating about knowing the Word is the key thing. Arwen4CJ talked about her experiences during the Todd Bentley farce. She was told, “I don’t want to miss something God is doing.” I was pointing out some deception once when a friend tried to pull Matthew 23 on me saying that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they were “missing God”. When I emphasized the context was that they were rejecting Jesus Himself, she agreed with me, but said that it could be applied to me also because I was resisting the “move of God” in all the hyperCharismatic goings on. It was then that I realized just how important knowing God’s Word is. How could I possibly “miss God”? It is impossible, for He that began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Phil. 1:6). I didn’t need to argue all the finer points of theology.

    Since then, I have been more alert to the simplest reading of Scripture. I have to believe that the Shepherd who leads us by still waters and makes us lie down in green pastures gives us simple, easy-to-understand truth. In Craig’s initial challenge regarding Luke 4:1-13,

    In this first section, by Johnson’s context, to whom or what does “WORD of God” refer: Jesus Himself, the written Word (Scripture), the Father’s words spoken over Jesus following Baptism, or a combination of some or all of these? Explain.

    Knowing the Word and keeping it in proper context will clear away any smoke Johnson tries to blow at us. Both Satan and Jesus keep the discussion in context, “It is written…” It is the written Word here that is in question, not Johnson’s twisted version. My immediate understanding is exactly what IWTT said. The “if” is understood as “since”.

    What I am saying is not to challenge the research done in recognizing the esoteric roots of Johnson’s and others’ teachings. By all means we must be wise as serpents, harmless as doves. Recognizing the lure for what it is, is critical. But without a solid understanding of the Word and ability to see the deception through the Word, we will lose valuable pieces of armor—the girdle of truth (foundation for our armor) and the Sword of the Spirit (our only weapon).

    Dodging the mines of Theosophy, Gnosticism, Platonism, etc. is seriously deadly dangerous. To do so without a solid foundation of the Word is spiritual suicide. Thank you, Craig, for connecting the dots for us. I also pray that you protect yourself with your armor. May you be blessed!

  78. Craig says:

    Knowing the Word and keeping it in proper context will clear away any smoke Johnson tries to blow at us. Both Satan and Jesus keep the discussion in context, “It is written…” It is the written Word here that is in question, not Johnson’s twisted version. My immediate understanding is exactly what IWTT said. The “if” is understood as “since”.

    Exactly!

  79. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Carolyn:

    Re. “Pitting the Word against the Spirit”…

    Again, just going back to the Word. In my case, I was taken in by the assurance that we judge everything by the Word. Yeah, sure….!! Rarely, if ever, have I witnessed that in the Charismatic world. So let’s go to the Word. What did Jesus say about the role of the Holy Spirit? He would convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He will not speak on His own, but will glorify Jesus….

    So how come every time I go to one of these services, the speakers cannot make it through reading one verse, without a chuckling comment and going off on living the word or some such nonsense. Then they ramble for over an hour about nothing but their own blabber. And of course the snide comment about people who want to hear the Word preached because they have a religious spirit and are afraid of the anointing. Or my other favorite “bugaboo” — the interminably looonnnnggg worship services (because if we don’t get used to it here, we’ll really have a hard time in heaven!). Then they say, they just want “God to show up”. Of course, “he” often does so that they don’t have to preach at all. That’s the real mark of the anointing, they say. But what does the Word really say…..??? Where is conviction of sin? Where is the true Word preached (ie. Jesus glorified by bringing people to the power of the Gospel)? Sigh…the true Gospel….Now that’s a different tangent altogether….

  80. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    So here is a question for another discussion….perhaps Craig would prefer to go to a different thread. (Sorry this is off topic…)

    Carolyn re. Baphomet:
    It makes you more aware of what to look for in false doctrine, ie. God is both male and female…

    God made man in His own image; in His own image, both male and female, He created them. (Gen. 1:27). Isn’t it correct to say that all the attributes that make up humanity (excluding our depravity, of course) are found in God’s character and nature because we are created in His image?

    So following that line, is it true that what makes women uniquely female is also from God’s image—ie. tenderness, nurturing spirit, etc.? If women are made in the image of God as Genesis tells us, do we have to acknowledge a feminine aspect of God’s character?

    I am NOT arguing the spirit of your statement. I agree with you. However, this topic is something that I am dealing with in my situation, so would love to hear your input.

  81. IWTT says:

    @Carolyn
    Wow! Great question! I would say yes, if I am not careful, I could be decieved again. Maybe not into hyper-charismaticism but the other direction, into legalism, or something of that nature. It seems like it has been a long road in that I left the hyper and in the midst of that leaving becoming angry (mostly at myself) for getting duped like that. But I have swung more back into the middle and find that I am saddeed for those who are deceived. Prayer and study of His word helps me in getting to the truth and being able to give an answer when needed.

    I would have to agree with those that suggest it was music that took me to the “dark side”. When I 1st got involved in the charismatic movement it was music that seemed to be the area of “ministry” that I moved into. My wife and I started a “music ministry” and traveled to different churches to give testamoney and sing/worship. But truthfully, I think the “hook” was the “pats on the back”, “how wonderful you are” that got me. I’ll call it “I”-itis, self centered.

    It just took off from there until I got involved with the Worship Symposium in Pasadena and learned and eventually taught on “prophetic worship”. What I see today in most churches (IMHO 85%) is some type of this method used in their services. Or I see “Purpose Driven” methods.

    But what Bethel and especially IHOP use is an extreme version (corrupted version) of the “prophetic worship method” in their times of gathering…. (have to go to work, I will continue this in a little while)

  82. IWTT says:

    (Cont…) But what Bethel and especially IHOP use is an extreme version (corrupted version) of the “prophetic worship method” in their times of gatherings. The very things that I learned AND taught are being used and sometimes I wonder if these people have the same training I got.

    With the whole idea of “prophetic” behind it and the next thing you know, worship leaders are tryng to be :prophetic” in their worship leading, expecting and working towards the actual experience of the presence of God (taking the verse, He inhabits the praises of His people…) in their service. Which IMHO is nothing more than an overly emotional moment and attributing it to Gods presence or an actual false manifestation appears and then the “goosebumps” arrive and we become super excited over a “supernatural experience”. Intead of using proper discernment, it is thrown out the window and instead what discernment is used is improper.

    Anyway, I am making this much more simple than it is. It doesn’t happen over night. Deception comes in small “experiences” and “teachings” and creep in as leaven until the whole lump is full of the leaven. Many things add to the deception that all seem valid at the time. A little numbness here and there until one is swept away and believe in the false.

  83. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thanks, Carolyn, for your comment.

    Not only does there seem to be an aggressive attitude, and people not valuing the Word (in context), along with an attitude that experience and spiritual is more important than any other kind of worship, wanting to run after the next thing…….but…..

    There also seems to be irreverence for God in many hyper-charasmatic settings. Has anyone else noticed this? Irreverent attitude/not treating God as though He is holy seems to be a pervasive problem for hyper-charismatics.

    For example — in the church I was going to while in graduate school:
    The church under Pastor 1:
    The first pastor was very reverent towards God, and he preached the gospel and nothing else. He believed in the spiritual gifts, but they were not the main thing. They were not really emphasized, not preached on, etc. Worship under his leadership was about honoring God for who He is, what He has done for us, and glorifying Him. He wanted the church to reach out into the community out of his love for God. Then he left the church because he felt God was leading him in a different direction.

    The church under Pastor 2:
    The pastor really admired Bill Johnson, and he didn’t preach the gospel. Instead, he preached about the spiritual gifts, especially healing. He really didn’t preach out of the Bible much. For him, the entire Christian faith was about doing signs and wonders. The times that he wanted the church to reach out into the community were more so that he could boast about how God might use him. It was all about signs and stuff. He was very irreverent towards God, and it almost seemed like for him worship was all about having a big party or a great time.

    He was never really serious about things — I mean he never came across as being serious towards God or the things of God. He would go out of his way to say that our church wasn’t religious. He would laugh when he couldn’t pronounce a name in the Bible. It was like a joke to him.

    I don’t even know how to explain it other than the whole service didn’t seem to treat God like He is holy. Just no real respect or awe or reverence for God. God’s our buddy to party with…..kind of thing. In some ways, it is almost mocking God.

    I noticed the same thing in the pastor and in his services of the church I left.

    I’ve observed the same thing in Bill Johnson’s meetings when I’ve seen clips of it.

    What would others say who have had experience with hyper-charismatics? Do you think that not revering God or treating Him as holy is also part of the deception process….something that is common to note while a church is starting down the dangerous path?

  84. Arwen4CJ says:

    YesNaSpanishTown wrote:

    “What Carolyn (et. al.) are stating about knowing the Word is the key thing. Arwen4CJ talked about her experiences during the Todd Bentley farce. She was told, “I don’t want to miss something God is doing.” I was pointing out some deception once when a friend tried to pull Matthew 23 on me saying that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they were “missing God”. When I emphasized the context was that they were rejecting Jesus Himself, she agreed with me, but said that it could be applied to me also because I was resisting the “move of God” in all the hyperCharismatic goings on. It was then that I realized just how important knowing God’s Word is. How could I possibly “miss God”? It is impossible, for He that began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Phil. 1:6). I didn’t need to argue all the finer points of theology.”

    My response:
    That’s it! You put your finger on exactly what was in my mind, but I was having a difficult time phrasing it. As believers, we cannot miss God. It is impossible. God never says to make sure we don’t miss a move of His, or something He will do in the future. He didn’t need to say something like that.

    We are already regenerated, we are equipped with the Holy Spirit. We have the gospel. His grace is sufficient for us. We don’t need to go looking for anything else.

    We belong to Jesus.

    The idea that we COULD miss something God was doing that was part of the error that this woman fell into.

    It’s almost like many hyper-charismatics think we are still living in Old Testament times, but that we have a power source that the OT people didn’t have. They almost seem to view the Holy Spirit as though He is just a power house for them so that they can do all these signs and wonders. They ignore the whole regeneration aspect, and the convicting of sin and the sanctification, etc.

    Thus, all that seems to have changed for them with Jesus’ death and resurrection, is that we can do miracles. They don’t know anything about a transformed life or repentance, etc. For them, Jesus died and rose again just to give us power, at least practically speaking.

    In some ways, they are still living in Old Testament times, thinking that we are dependent on prophets and the like to tell us what God has planned. At the same time, though, they think it is possible for every person to be a prophet — or to at least be able to connect with the spirit realm through spiritual experience.

    But God doesn’t require us to be able to identify any move that He does, or any sign…..we just have to concern ourselves with Jesus. God takes care of the rest. If something is truly of God, then He will show it to us….but it won’t be something we need to fear missing. We don’t glorify God just because of the signs and wonders He has done. We glorify God because of who He is, and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ.

  85. Carolyn says:

    IWTT – A great question?…I asked my daughter the same question and she wrinkled up her nose and said, that’s a really dumb question. It’s sooooooo vague!!
    …..I like your attitude much better, IWTT

    Undoubtedly, you have a bit more life experience to lend some weight to your response and thanks for sharing some of your thoughts.

    Anyhow, here’s some of my thoughts on the subject:

    John 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
    5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

    As a born again believer, we are learning a language of the Shepherd…the true Shepherd. He leads us out and talks to us and we gradually get to know his voice. Spirit + Word = Language of the true Shepherd.

    My daughter reads a little Chinese book to her 2 year old son and he loves to listen to it. Today, he brought me the book and I pretended to read it in Chinese. He looked at me and we both started to laugh…because he knew it didn’t sound right.

    Moral of the story…the more you listen to the real thing, the better you get at discerning the false.

    No…I don’t think I will be fooled again…ever…because I have become well acquainted the real.

    YesNaSpanishTown…good to hear from you…I am having trouble getting time to think but I will reply in the near future.

  86. Carolyn says:

    Arwen, just a quick answer to your question before I break…”the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” I agree with you…that means reverence.

  87. Craig says:

    To the individual who just posted a comment on here – which I just deleted – if you are still reading and not a ‘drive-by’ commenter, have a look at my statement of faith:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/before-you-comment/

    Oh, and in the article, the “challenge” itself, are these words, “Any comment which does not attempt to answer a question constituting this challenge may be summarily deleted, unless it is in response to another’s comment.”

  88. Carolyn says:

    YesNaSpanishTown – re comment Mar 12 8:06 “If women are made in the image of God as Genesis tells us, do we have to acknowledge a feminine aspect of God’s character?”

    Seems like it could be a loaded question, depending on whether you are talking to a male chauvinist or a feminist advocate. And no, unless you are reading a feminist Bible, God is given a male gender…why would we make him feminine?

    Adam was made in the image of God. Woman was taken from man. And yes, in the (physical), there is that ORDER because it is a picture of Christ and the Church.

    But In the Spirit/Freedom of Christ there is no difference…we are all ONE Body, ONE Bride, ONE Heir according to promise.

    Colossians 3:10-12
    10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11
    Galatians 3:27-29
    27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
    29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Is that it or is it more complex?

  89. Craig says:

    Let me jump in here. I can’t say I’ve looked into this issue much at all, but here goes.

    We have to be careful not to go beyond the bounds of Scripture. And, Biblically I see God as genderless; He is neither male nor female. Of course, He does not come from procreation, as He has always existed; and, He does not procreate. He has no need of anything denoting gender. God as ‘Father’ is an anthropomorphism (from anthropos = man; morphe = form; allowing us to see God from man’s perspective), as He was to be viewed as the ultimate authority, just as the father of a given house was understood to have authority over that house. So, the father of the house was subordinate to God. This is the patriarchal system God Himself established.

    However, I think it possible that we can view God as having ‘feminine characteristics’ just as we can view Him as having ‘masculine characteristics’. Yet, we must understand that God is not ruled by emotions (I don’t say that as a stab at the female gender, as men are quite capable of being ruled by anger, jealousy, etc.). And, of course, we cannot view God as having broad shoulders like a male, or what-have-you.

    The first few sentences of the first full explanatory paragraph are stated because there are some who claim that God is actually, literally, many-breasted, by distorting the true meaning of the Hebrew words making up El Shaddai. This is disgustingly blasphemous. It is for this reason that I’d be careful when others begin to claim God has ‘feminine characteristics’. We must find out exactly what they mean.

  90. Carolyn says:

    YesNaSpanishTown…was reading over some of the comments and I see a couple of recurring themes…

    In what you wrote I would isolate the word “lure” and circle it a couple of times. It’s what was brought up with music and then there’s a desperation for miracles and healing and the lure of prosperity…so yes…Just like any fishermen, these false teachers use the lures available to them…I think for each of us the LURE would be different.

    We all deal with basic needs…need for security and identity…and this plays into the lure.

    “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” said Thoreau.

    We’re all looking for a better life, somehow, some way. The Bill Johnson lures would include ecstatic communion, esoteric propaganda, supernatural phenomenon, community, a sense of belonging, of making a difference.

    The other recurring theme is “the annointing”…it’s the biggest distraction from truth, the biggest lie perpetrated by the Bill Johnson inter-group fellowship.

    Craig has pointed this out repeatedly and this false annointing is probably the lie that has been the greatest opening for all the esoteric and mystical, gnostic notions in the group. I can’t think of any other solitary teaching that has had more influence away from solid Biblical Spirit led living. But maybe someone else can.

    Sorry, I’m time challenged today….but hopefully…we have connected on a couple of issues.

  91. Arwen4CJ says:

    Carolyn wrote:
    “Arwen, just a quick answer to your question before I break…”the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” I agree with you…that means reverence.”

    My response:
    Thanks — I thought of that verse, too. No fear = no reverence for God, no seeing Him or treating Him as holy, etc.

    If God is no longer thought of as being holy, then people don’t treat Him as holy…..and then people don’t treat Scripture as holy, and people don’t worship in a holy attitude, etc.

    I’m amazed when I hear people say that they think worship is all about receiving a blessing from God, having some experience, etc. :( Very sad. Clearly the gospel itself has become corrupted in many churches…in this case the hyper-charismatic church.

    The saddest thing of all is the people who have only attended these types of churches believe that this is the true expression of what it means to be a Christian. (I’m talking about people who were not raised in a church, but heard the hyper-charismatic gospel, and then joined a hyper-charismatic church). Yet, they have never heard the real gospel, they have never heard a sermon that is based on Scripture, and they can’t conceive of a faith that doesn’t involve a lot of signs and wonders and spiritual experiences.

    I know that that’s not how all get into hyper-charismatic churches, but it is how some people do. The people who were previously unchurched, but “found” the Christ of hyper-charismaticism, and think that they are saved because they are in the church now, and use Christian words…..

  92. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Ahhh….the anoi…oi…io…nting! Do you envision Kathryn Kuhlman floating across the stage? When I first got into Charismaticism I wondered about that term never having heard it before in my many years in evangelical churches and Bible college. I was all agog over the new stuff I was learning that I never challenged it. As time went on, I tried it on for size—that is, making the term part of my vocabulary. But like Saul’s armor, it never fit. One hot July Sunday night a woman came to church and insisted that we turn the fans off (old church didn’t have AC). When I told her that we needed to keep the fans on, she complained that she couldn’t sit on the front row because of the fans. When I suggested that she move back a few rows (can you guess what she said?)—the anointing wasn’t as strong a few rows back!

    Yeesh! Later, when I began questioning, I finally came to terms with this silly concept. The term as it is commonly used in hyperCharismatic and some Pentecostal realms is totally unbiblical. In the Old Testament, anointing oil was used to set the priests and worship articles apart for use unto God only, ie. to consecrate for service. This made them “holy” in that they were exclusively used for God’s service only. Kings were anointed to identify them in their leadership. They were to govern in a holy way unto God. The “anointing” was identification to set them apart for service as they led God’s holy people. (Who, by the way, were anointed with blood when they entered into covenant with God-Ex. 24:4-8, Heb. 9:19)

    The Meshiach/Messiah (H4886 & 4899 mashach) is THE anointed one. He was sent from God and set aside for one purpose—holy unto God for the salvation of mankind and deliverance from the bondage of sin. The OT anointing did not give anyone or anything mystical powers, or an aura of power. I do recognize the singular example of the Ark of the Covenant. In this case, I believe that because it was the one item through which God’s presence operated, God Himself sovereignly moved at His will through it, as opposed to an inherent/intrinsic power in the piece of furniture itself. This can be seen when the Israelites took it to war against the Philistines.(1 Sam. 4) If the anointing on the Ark were intrinsic to the physical item, they would indeed have won the battle. The problem was exactly their faulty theology as regarded the Ark. This is very important for HC’s to understand. God revealed His sovereignty through the Ark in very unpleasant ways when those who possessed it, used it for incorrect purposes.

    In the New Testament, the English word anoint is used for two different Greek roots. There is an anointing that is medicinal, with no religious significance (G218 aleipho). Mary anointed Jesus for burial. It was a physical preparation for a bodily condition. This is the same word used in James when we are told to call for the elders to anoint a sick person. I believe that this is not for supernatural healing, but rather gives believers not only freedom, but the blessing of the church to use medical means for healing of disease. (Exactly the opposite of what many have taught in the past.)

    The other Greek word for anointing is the same idea as the OT anointing for consecration G5545 & 5548 chrisma/chrio). Again, the Christ was anointed (Luke 4:18, 19). We also are anointed by the Holy Spirit at the new birth. We are called out, set apart, for use for the purposes of God by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every believer is anointed as 1 John 2:20,27 indicates. We have no need of anyone to teach us how to receive the anointing, have a greater level of anointing, or how to operate in the anointing, etc. Such teaching is Gnostic as 1 John warns.

    Pursuing holiness (1 Peter 1:15, Heb. 12:14, ) is all that is commanded of us as ones who are consecrated and sanctified for His service. How God chooses to use any believer is exclusively according to His sovereign will. The power of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts is not the same as the current understanding of the anointing. When the Apostles preached and 1000’s were saved, it was not because of a 20th century anointing. It was the power of the Holy Spirit because the Word was being preached (as Jesus described the function of the Holy Spirit in John 16). Has Benny Hinn or Bill Johnson ever stood before a crowd preaching bold, warnings of judgment and told the audience that their sins crucified the Lord of glory—without mixing in any other extraneous teaching? The power of the Holy Spirit in Acts brought people to salvation; it did not loose gold or feathers from heaven or cause people to fall to the floor laughing or jerking. Were the apostles any less anointed when their messages enraged the leaders and caused them to be thrown into prison? Where were the lines for the “anointing” then? When Acts records the various healings, these were special unique healings, not mass anointing fests. Was Paul “anointed”? Why then did Eutychus (Acts 20:9) fall asleep and some believers in Corinth criticize Him for his bodily presence being weak and his contemptible speech? (2 Cor. 10:10)

    Oh, if only we looked to the Word rather than to Kuhlman, Hinn, Johnson, etc. (ad nauseum). What error I would have avoided!

    Well that is my other bugaboo and it is my last rant. Well, at least for now anyway! LOL!

  93. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Arwen4CJ:

    The saddest thing of all is the people who have only attended these types of churches believe that this is the true expression of what it means to be a Christian. (I’m talking about people who were not raised in a church, but heard the hyper-charismatic gospel, and then joined a hyper-charismatic church). Yet, they have never heard the real gospel, they have never heard a sermon that is based on Scripture, and they can’t conceive of a faith that doesn’t involve a lot of signs and wonders and spiritual experiences.

    I know that that’s not how all get into hyper-charismatic churches, but it is how some people do. The people who were previously unchurched, but “found” the Christ of hyper-charismaticism, and think that they are saved because they are in the church now, and use Christian words…..

    Too true…too true…Matt 7:21-23

    May God grant us wisdom to be wise as serpents, harmless as doves and to preach the true gospel as often as we can. May our eyes be opened.

  94. Craig says:

    YesNaSpanishTown,

    Excellent on the delineations of “anointing”! I had covered this in the “‘Christ’ in the New Age” article, along with defining “Christ”:

    In the New Testament, chrio is used five times, two of which refer to Jesus’ Baptism [Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38], another most likely to His Baptism [Acts 4:27][7], and once at or after His Resurrection or Ascension [Heb 1:9; cf. Ps 45:6-7, Isa 61:3, Php 2:9][8]. In the remaining instance, chrio is used to refer to Holy Spirit-endued Christians [II Cor 1:21]. The noun form of chrio is chrisma, “anointing,”[9] which is used only three times, and each time in John’s first epistle to denote the Holy Spirit anointing of believers [once in I John 2:20, twice in 2:27]. [ED: this paragraph was added to this comment as it was inadvertantly omitted from its source.]

    Both chrio and chrisma are always used in a sacred and symbolic sense; whereas, the Greek words aleipho [Matt. 6:17; Mark 6:13, 16:1; Luke 7:38,46; John 11:2, 12:3; James 5:14], epichrio [John 9:6,11], enchrio [Rev 3:18], and murizo [Mark 14:8], which are also translated anoint/ed/ing, are always used in a physical sense [10] in the NT.

    The word “Messiah” is only used twice in the New Testament although it is derived from the Aramaic rather than the Hebrew [11]. This term is used solely in the Gospel of John [1:41, 4:25] and each time it is used in conjunction with Christos presumably for emphasis of Jesus Christ’s deity. It is therefore noteworthy that when the word “Christ,” (Christos) is used in the NT, it is exclusively for the person of Jesus Christ and nothing or no one else (except when Jesus Himself is referring to false Christs as in Matthew 24). As both Louis Berkhof and Wayne Grudem illustrate in each of their respective Systematic Theology’s, “Christ” is a term denoting His divinity.[12][13]

    Unfortunately, many online lexicons define Christos as Christ = “anointed” which is misleading and confusing. In the NT, Christos, though derived from chrio which means “to anoint” as noted above, is defining the unique Christ, Messiah, Son of God and He is thus the “Anointed One” as per the two sources for definitions above. While Christians are anointed by the Holy Spirit at baptism, we are obviously not referred to as “Christ” (Christos) upon baptism; and, furthermore, Jesus was described as “Jesus Christ” at the virgin birth which means the term was applied to Him prior to Baptism (of course, He was always Christ as noted above) rather than later at His Baptism by John as these online definitions would suggest. The importance of these distinctions will be made more obvious a bit later in this article.

    The confusion likely stems from the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament from which early Catholic Bibles have been translated. (Interestingly, many NT quotes from the OT are taken from the Septuagint rather than the Hebrew Masoretic Text.) The term christos is rendered as “anointed” in Lev 4: 4, Lev 6:22, 1 Samuel 2:10 (appropriate by the contexts) as well as a few other passages[14] and designated with a lower case rather than a capital “c.” In Psalm 2:2, the “C” in this term is capitalized (Christos) since this is considered a Messianic passage (prophecy about the coming Messiah). This distinction in uncapitalization/capitalization is illustrated in Brenton’s The Septuagint with the Apocrypha: Greek and English[15]. In the NT, I’m reasonably sure the convention of capitalizing Christos in each and every instance is followed in both the NA27 Novum Testamentum Graece and the UBS4 The Greek New Testament. [I’ve not checked all the references; so, if a reader finds an exception, please let me know.]

  95. Carolyn says:

    I’m sitting here, thinking I might know how Moses felt when he lost the first set of commandments. The thoughts of God flowed effortlessly from my mind this morning into an organized, readable form but when I hit post…I lost everything. Now I’m going to have to re-post on my own. Perhaps it will take me 40 hours instead of only a few minutes. You’ll just have to wait till I finish sulking.

    Craig… getting to know who God is, is the fight between good and evil. God is not made in man’s image as some men would have it, but rather man is made in God’s image. As for gender…that’s beyond comprehension…especially mine. In fact when I take it past Father, my head starts to hurt.

    This seems to be the goal of putting God into esoteric terms. He is transcendent…beyond our reach, beyond knowing. He’s up there but not making himself available to us. And portraying him as Immanent, also puts a blockade between God and man because it also presents him as an unknowable, force.

    It used to be in this country, when you used the word “spiritual”, it had to do with God. Now…it doesn’t have to…in fact…quite the opposite. In fact, the Creator God is probably the last thing on most people’s mind uttering the word “spiritual”.

    Creating a false image of God has definitely been top priority on the devil’s agenda.

    YesNa…if all was perfect, as originally intended, the feminine attributes of God represented in the female…would have reflected a perfect image of God (I think)…but due to sin, the good thing that God created has been distorted, the emotions are a bit out of whack and I won’t even discuss the male problems as we are in present company. *smile*

    Arwen, I believe that many in the Evangelical world are trying to promote the Christian culture rather than God. So the fact that they treat God’s holiness with contempt makes apparent the fact that they don’t know him, and are, in fact probably only professing Christians…never were the real and authentic.

    We can take the humour thing too far the other way, in that we all become too serious, there’s no freedom to be the personality that you are and God’s people are subsequently forced into a rigid mould, into a man-made image of holiness, rather than the real, the outcome being religion rather than a passionate love for God.

    IWTT, I wanted to add that when I said that I could not be deceived anymore…I have to pair that with God’s faithfulness. It’s a healthy balance between being aware of Satan’s devices and a humility that doesn’t act independently of God.

  96. Carolyn says:

    YesNa: “When I suggested that she move back a few rows (can you guess what she said?)—the anointing wasn’t as strong a few rows back!” LOLOL!

    Kathryn Khulman used to wait behind the platform for an “annointing” that sounds more like a possession…she would become animated by what she thought was the Holy Spirit, but obviously was not, since the product of her false teaching was ecumenism and confusion.

  97. linda62 says:

    Thank you for that EXCELLENT synopsis of the use of anointing in the Bible. Nicely done. We were just talking about this concept around the table today. Crazy all it’s come to mean in some circles. We’ve spent the last 9 years getting to know Pentecostalism from the inside. What was intriguing at first has born a lot of bad fruit as we see it. We were welcomed and able to challenge some presuppositions, and made some good friends. But oh the ‘winds of doctrine’ that blow. We finally had to leave when BJ’s teaching began to take in all our nearest friends. It’s not in the pulpit yet, but neither will the pastor condemn it…fearing a church split. Sad, maddening, disturbing, unbelievable really. It is good to listen in here at CrossWise and realize that God does open eyes and redeem people out of this church ‘culture’. It is so pervasive at this time in church history–a perfect set up for following the signs and wonders (and ‘anointing’?!) of the Anti-christ…

    Thanks to all for your good words!

  98. Carolyn says:

    YesNaSpanishTown…good thoughts on the Scriptural meanings of “annointing”.

    I was remembering back how we as Pentecostals heard “the annointing breaks the yoke”…when you hear these mantras over and over, you hardly question them.

    This excerpt from Mike Oppenheimer’s conclusion: http://www.letusreason.org/Wf29.htm

    “No apostle ever said I’m anointed, or suggested to come to him for the anointing or more of the Spirit. There is no specific anointing mentioned for any apostle, nor one that breaks the yoke. The New Testament writers understood what it meant to be anointed in Biblical terms, today it’s another story. They recognised the same anointing was to the whole body of Christ, they never said they possessed a special anointing: 2 Cor. 1:21 “Now he which establishes with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; Who has also sealed us, and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” Those who are established in Christ are anointed together having the same spirit. It is this same anointing John refers to in 1 John 2:26-27 “These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide (remains) in Him.” The anointing does not come and go like it did with Samson or the high priests or prophets in the Old Testament. He is continually with you as he first began. This anointing we have already received, He is in us.

    I thought of Kathryn Khulman…(second last sentence) With her, the annointing came and went.

    This is the false “second blessing” that creates, divisive hierarchy. We’re ONE in Christ.

  99. Craig says:

    In case this is not clear, in this particular post the “seed”/”sperma of God” concept is equivalent to the “anointing”. It’s just a different way of phrasing it. And, it’s also the same as the “spiritual DNA” teaching which is becoming more prevalent, as yet another way of stating this concept. That is, when the “seed”/”sperma of God” [ED: anointing] is “released into the seed [ED: inside the individual], through His Word, into the soil [ED: which contains the individual's 'seed']” initially, then this the point in which the individual’s divine spark/seed is activated, which is equivalent to one’s latent “spiritual DNA” activated.

    With each subsequent “anointing” by the external “seed”/”sperma of God” (which is the “rhema” word, the “word” of new revelation, “what God is saying and doing” as per BJ), the internal “seed” grows larger. The spiritual DNA teaching is encapsulated best by Bob Jones:

    But what He put in here [ED: the body] was not DNA. It was His [God’s] genetics that has authority over DNA… For this conscience of yours is really your spiritual guide. God gave this to you to guide your lives. Don’t violate your conscience. In certain places it’s called your spirit. Especially in 2nd Corinthians 7:1 it’s called spirit and flesh.

    Jones, as always, is confusing and unclear in how he phrases things, but, in context, Jones was speaking of the body being made first containing our DNA. Subsequent to that, the conscience/spirit/spiritual guide is “put in here”, that is, placed into the body. By quoting 2 Cor 7:1 Jones is delineating between the body (flesh) and spirit, with the flesh containing our DNA and the spirit containing “His [God's] genetics”, or as he states elsewhere “spiritual DNA”. This teaching comes from the Dualism (all flesh is evil; all spirit is good) from the 1st century and before – a background to 1st/2nd century Gnosticism.

    So, then, from the “spiritual DNA” teaching, once one becomes ‘born again’ one activates the latent “spiritual DNA”. The following Bill Johnson quotes and comments/analysis are taken from Bill Johnson: A New Age Christ?, part IIIb:

    God is our Father, and we inherit His genetic code [ED: at conception]. Every believer has written into his or her spiritual DNA [ED: activated by the “sperma of God”] the desire for the supernatural….

    It is abnormal for a Christian not to have an appetite for the impossible. It has been written into our spiritual DNA [ED: activated by the “sperma of God”] to hunger for the impossibilities around us to bow at the name of Jesus.

    God’s “genetic code” is the not yet activated “spiritual DNA” that all receive at conception. This “spiritual DNA” is activated when one begins to listen to the ‘Word of God’, or “conscience” / ‘spirit’ as Jones would put it, thus beginning the ‘born again’ experience. Here are some additional quotes:

    …Exposure to the supernatural works of God changes the capacity of leaders to lead, thereby changing the bent of the people of God to pursue Him.

    Such exposure is the equivalent of a spiritual change of DNA. Something is altered in that person that enables him or her to lead in a way that the people of God inherit a heart for God through the leader’s influence.

    It is said that when a kernel of corn is planted, every kernel that grows has the exact same DNA as the original kernel in the ground. Jesus became the ultimate seed that was planted in death, and we were born again by the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead. Every born-again believer has the DNA of Christ. That is amazing!

    This DNA of Christ in us is practical in that it enables the Godlike capacity to dream…He [Jesus] was planted to redeem people unto something. And that unto something involves accurately and fully representing who Jesus is on earth as in Heaven. We have His DNA and therefore manifest His face to the world

    In this context, ‘born again’ refers to the point at which the ‘spiritual DNA’ is activated…And the ‘kernel of corn’ comparison reads much like the “seed of God’s Word”, “sperma of God” teaching above. Johnson reiterates this teaching in a Charisma piece from last year’s special issue featuring Bethel Church:

    When the Spirit of the resurrected Christ took up residence in our bodies, all of heaven positioned itself to see what we would conquer in His name. Resurrection power is in our nature, in our spiritual DNA. When we were born again, we received the same spiritual DNA as Jesus. His resurrection power now is to dwell in us through the Holy Spirit…

  100. Carolyn says:

    IWTT – The comments being made are still seeping through my subconscious as they make their way toward some of the synapses that are connecting here and there in my brain…

    ….from your comment made way back at 9:31 on Mar 12. “It seems like it has been a long road in that I left the hyper and in the midst of that leaving becoming angry (mostly at myself) for getting duped like that. But I have swung more back into the middle and find that I am saddeed for those who are deceived.”

    It is common to become angry with ourselves for being duped. We feel we should have known better. But, is it possible that it was serving God’s purposes in the long run? Not that he sent you into deception, but he allowed it for the greater good in your life. He saw something in you that needed correcting and lifted the hedge of protection for the deception to pass to you. In allowing the exaggeration of the problem, in you, whether it was insecurity, pride, a need for purpose, or whatever, it was discovered by you as your eyes were opened (by the Spirit).

    If that’s a bit unclear, one of my personal examples is the rabbit trail I followed into 7th Day Adventism. The bait/lure was end times prophecy, the problem in myself was legalism. The exaggeration of the problem (legalism) caused me to search out the matter and cry out to God and by the Spirit’s light, my eyes were opened and I learned many more things in the process…still learning….

    God’s ways are higher than our ways.

  101. Arwen4CJ says:

    YesNaSpanishTown

    Thanks for writing about the anointing, and searching the Scriptures for information on it. Does anyone here know how this concept came into being in the hyper-charismatic world. The last time I tried doing research on it, I came across Randy Clark as the possible origin. If it didn’t begin with him, then he has helped to make it popular.

    When I was going to the former church, I was confused about the concept of anointing. At the time, the pastor didn’t preach about it from the pulpit, but some of the elders (what that congregation called the leadership in the church) talked about it a little in conversation. The first time I really heard about this concept was the same time that the Lakeland Todd Bently stuff was happening. The leaders in the church wanted to “give everyone the anointing” at an evening worship service — this anointing was supposedly passed on from people who had been to hear Bentley. Up until that time, I didn’t even know that that people in that church were even into Bentley. I didn’t go forward to receive the anointing, and I left early, confused by what was happening. I’d done research on Lakeland already, as an apologetic site I often visit had mentioned it. It then was all over forums that I’d visited at the time, etc.

    I was upset, and I wrote that church an e-mail sharing my concerns with the leadership. That was the first e-mail I sent to the leadership. Thankfully there was no senior pastor at the church at the time, and the people did look over my e-mail and the information presented carefully. As a group, the leadership decided that they didn’t want anything to do with Bentley or Lakeland….simply because Bob Jones was behind Bentley. I had cried and prayed over this — these were people that I loved, and I really loved that little church. I praised God when I heard their decision not to get any more involved with Bentley or Lakeland.

    However, it was tough — before they made that decision, I had a confrontation with several of the elders, and it was clear that they were all for Lakeland, Bentley, and “the anointing.” It was during this time that the one person made the comment that she didn’t want to miss anything that God was doing. Even though they had rejected Bentley, Lakeland, and the anointing, I didn’t realize that the evilness had crept into the church to stay. Little seeds remained.

    Then the new senior pastor came after the summer was over (and also around the time Lakeland ended). This senior pastor was the one who had attended Dutch Sheets’ church. He slowly started introducing more and more error. I wasn’t at home during much of this time, as I was away at graduate school. But I did notice after I’d graduated what was going on.

    First, there was that young adult service that I went to. At that meeting, I heard about the anointing again — this was from an elder. He said that he had thought at one point in the service that there was going to be “an anointing” time. Then there was the “Voice Of The Apostle’s Conference” that the elders were showing. Then there was the dominionism that was preached from the pulpit, and then there were the “words” that were dominionist in nature, and also the guided imagery. I’d written two more e-mails to the church leadership during this time, and I got rude responses back. This time it was clear that they weren’t going to listen, and it was clear that the whole church leadership was steeped in the false. I had to leave.

    But it was this “anointing” thing that kept on being promoted. First with Lakeland, then the young adult service (mention of it by an elder), and then the mention of it by those who were putting on the webcast of the “Voice of the Apostles Conference.”

    I challenged the church leadership to tell me where the concept of “anointing” came from, and I tried telling them it was unbiblical. They ignored all this. So how did this concept take such a quick hold in this little congregation? How is the Christian world able to so freely accept it? Where did people get the idea that there was a transferable anointing that could be passed on from Christian to Christian?

    I suppose it might have happened when people started viewing the Holy Spirit as a force rather than as a Person in the Trinity, or at the very least, they viewed His power as being a force they could tap into.

    With some of the articles that Craig has posted about the anointing and being “christed” and all of that…..it seems that there is one type of “anointing” in which someone becomes anointed with the gnostic christ spirit), and then there are additional transferable anointings that a person can receive. Perhaps they believe the initial christing anointing opens the spiritual door for them to be able to tap into the power in these transferable anointings? Maybe they view the transferable anointings as power sockets that they can plug themselves into? That seems to be how they actually use it. (Yes, I put “Christ” in lowercase because their “Christ” is a false one.)

    Seriously, Christianity has becoming a mockery in so many corners of what is called the Christian Church.

    Carolyn,
    You are right about many Christians and churches trying to promote a Christian culture — a place where people don’t have to really dig into their faith, but instead where people can just sit around and exclaim how cool Jesus is. And you’re right, many of them probably don’t know Him, and are likely just Christians on the outside.

  102. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I believe the “anointing” teaching goes back to the early 1900s via E.W. Kenyon, the REAL father of the Word of Faith. No doubt Kenneth E. Hagin (Sr.) taught on the “anointing”, and he ‘borrowed’ many teachings from Kenyon.

    [added] I should also note that both Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar are recognized as Hagin devotees, and each of these taught on the “anointing”.

  103. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    I see — so these people are just taking this “anointing” concept from one another, and it has gotten mixed in with hyper-charismatic doctrine….and if it is from the early 1900s then it has had about 100 years of being all mashed up and distributed to all these hyper-charismatic groups.

    My next question would be — where did Kenyon get the idea? Perhaps from an angel of light? It had to come from somewhere, as it is not biblical, and it is not part of church tradition.

    I think a lot could be learned if we could track down some of this false doctrine.

    Another concept that I’ve wondered about is the whole “pleading the blood of Jesus” protective statement that hyper-charismatics make. I’m guessing they got this from a twisted interpretation of one of the verses in Revelation — but what is the origin of the false teaching on it? Is this also something from Kenyon’s writings?

    And what about the concept of blaming an evil spirit for everything? Such as people who claim that there is a religious spirit? A judgmental spirit? A critical spirit? A spirit of depression? A spirit of death? A spirit of a headache? Spirit of fornication? Spirit of drugs? Spirit of rejection? Spirit of fear? etc. The list could go on and on and on. And then they believe that all of these spirits need to be exorcised.

    Yes, I do believe that there are evil spirits, but I don’t think that they are responsible for every single thing, etc. Their system seems very oppressive. And the “spirits” that they name for various sins seem to me like they are placing all the blame on the spirits rather than taking any responsibility for sin themselves.

    Theology that supports all of these spirits seems to me to be more like occultism than it is biblical Christianity.

    Where did this spirit blaming theology come from?

    (yes, I know that it is all demonic doctrine…..but who is the human source of it? Did some people borrow these concepts from pagan religions?)

  104. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I should add – as I know you are well aware – that this “anointing” teaching is prevalent in esoteric Christianity going all the way back to 1st/2nd century Gnosticism. Myself, I’m convinced that both the Gospel of John and, more explicitly, John’s first epistle deal with this issue [1 John 2:18-27]. Irenaeus, in his Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies), claims that John’s Gospel was an apologetic against the burgeoning Gnostic teachings.

    Kenyon, who borrowed heavily from New Thought, Christian Science, etc (and I’d argue Blavatsky’s Theosophy), may well have been the first to take this form of esoteric Christianity directly into the ‘Church’.

  105. Craig says:

    I see — so these people are just taking this “anointing” concept from one another, and it has gotten mixed in with hyper-charismatic doctrine….and if it is from the early 1900s then it has had about 100 years of being all mashed up and distributed to all these hyper-charismatic groups.

    My next question would be — where did Kenyon get the idea? Perhaps from an angel of light? It had to come from somewhere, as it is not biblical, and it is not part of church tradition.

    It looks as though I was answering your question before you actually posted it!

  106. Craig says:

    Also, with the Nag Hammadi discovery of 1945, Gnostic teachings gained new followers.

  107. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I mentioned a bit about Kenyon (comparing his teachings with Johnson) in this article here in the Johnson’s Word of Faith Roots Showing section. I was convinced then that Kenyon adhered to the same spirit/matter dualism of the 1st/2nd century (and before) which informed his own Gnostic-styled teachings.

  108. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yes — that makes sense for Kenyon to have been involved in that sort of spirituality, as it is the same stuff that is in gnosticism and all the other forms, as we have discussed. So if it was Kenyon who transplanted the “anointing” into the church.

    That’s exactly what I was looking for — the person that interacted with the spirit behind the doctrine, so the person who would have brought it from the esoteric teaching widely into the church. So then, we need not look beyond Kenyon for this doctrine.

    What about for the other doctrines? The “Pleading the blood of Jesus” as some kind of protective spell that is so prevalent now in Christianity. Was Kenyon the one who made that popular too?

    And what about the doctrine of evil spirits for everything? Kenyon?

  109. Craig says:

    I’m not sure on the origin of the “pleading the blood” and blaming evil spirits for everything. It’s been a while since I’ve read McConnell’s book A Different Gospel to know if these are addressed in it.

    However, since WoF teaches that we should have no sickness (a teaching which DOES go back to Kenyon), then it may be easier to blame it on the ‘demon of colitis’ or what-have-you. That is, assuming that the problem is not your “lack of faith”.

  110. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thanks. I’m looking it up now.

    Hmmm….it looks like Kenyon might be the inspiration of “pleading the blood” too…..

    http://www.angelfire.com/rnb/syndrome_vinc3/devotions/eternalministries/mysticism.htm

    It looks like some guy named H.A. Maxwell Whyte was reading Kenyon’s work about the blood of Jesus, and decided that “pleading the blood” was a good idea.

    http://letusreason.org/Popteach52.htm

    I’m guessing that the spirits behind everything doctrine is of similar Word of Faith origin. Thanks

  111. IWTT says:

    From: http://www.gotquestions.org/pleading-the-blood.html

    Question: “Is pleading the blood of Jesus biblical?”

    Answer: “Pleading the blood of Jesus” in prayer is a teaching that can be traced to some of the early leaders of the Word of Faith movement. When people speak of “pleading the blood of Jesus in prayer” they are referring to the practice of “claiming” the power of Christ over any and every problem by using the phrase “I plead the blood of Jesus over _______.”

  112. IWTT says:

    Carolyn says:
    March 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    But, is it possible that it was serving God’s purposes in the long run? Not that he sent you into deception, but he allowed it for the greater good in your life.

    Absolutely and would agree with you 100%…

    Thank you for the response to my post

  113. Carolyn says:

    Craig – Mar 14 6:57 Your comment: “God’s “genetic code” is the not yet activated “spiritual DNA” that all receive at conception. This “spiritual DNA” is activated when one begins to listen to the ‘Word of God’, or “conscience” / ‘spirit’ as Jones would put it, thus beginning the ‘born again’ experience. Here are some additional quotes:

    …Exposure to the supernatural works of God changes the capacity of leaders to lead, thereby changing the bent of the people of God to pursue Him.

    Such exposure is the equivalent of a spiritual change of DNA. Something is altered in that person that enables him or her to lead in a way that the people of God inherit a heart for God through the leader’s influence.”

    I was reading this over again, trying to understand what is going on. There is no mention of Christ’s atoning work. Our new life is activated by conscience, capacity of leaders to lead, change in bent, exposure to supernatural works of God…etc….

    No. We are dead in trespasses and sins. We have no spiritual seed in us that can be revived. We are born again from an objective, external source…Christ…not an subjective, internal source of a mystical DNA.

    When you get this, you can see that Satan triumphs through our assumptions. We assume that the atonement has been incorporated in the the teaching and that we are all on the same page. But the atonement, though mentioned as a Christian theme, or related as a background issue is superseded by this new theology.

    We have to be clear on the gospel, not blending it with our assumptions. If we isolate the false gospel from our assumptions, then it is easier to see that it is indeed a different gospel.

    I believe that the sleight-of-hand technique has been used in the whole Brownsville, laughing revival, Toronto Blessing impartations and Supernatural Manifestations…where the crowd is looking at a diversion while the real action is taking place elsewhere. In this case, the diversion is the exposure to the supernatural or teaching on the anointing while the real action is an exchanged gospel.

    And those that have swam in the charismatic river for so long(like me) can miss it because they become immune to the terminology and function on our assumptions. Of course, we do have the Spirit who is saying to those who are listening, that something isn’t right. But I think in some ways, someone like Craig, has the advantage, coming from a clean cut pathway into Christianity, he can see it more easily separate truth from fiction……maybe…..

  114. Craig says:

    And those that have swam in the charismatic river for so long(like me) can miss it because they become immune to the terminology and function on our assumptions. Of course, we do have the Spirit who is saying to those who are listening, that something isn’t right. But I think in some ways, someone like Craig, has the advantage, coming from a clean cut pathway into Christianity, he can see it more easily separate truth from fiction……maybe….

    Having not been in the ‘river’ movement is certainly advantageous on some levels. I don’t carry any emotional baggage from the resultant feeling of betrayal and embarrassment that can come with it. This is not to say that all who’ve been in hyper-charismaticism have emotional baggage. It’s just not a potential factor for me. This allows me to research and write from a somewhat dispassionate viewpoint, since I’m not emotionally invested as such. Of course, I only do this because I truly care about those who are caught up on this, those who are concerned about friends and family who are caught up in this, and those who may be spared from getting involved in the first place.

    On the other hand, not having the firsthand knowledge can leave me with an incomplete picture. This is why I’ve read a lot of other sites’ blog comments as an attempt to understand. Which leads me to a question for those who were involved: Did you use the term “anointing” in describing some of the goings-on, such as “the anointing was really strong in that meeting”? Or was the term used primarily be leadership?

  115. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Everyone uses the term to describe the goings-on. A common inside joke is to rub your shoulder with another’s and say something like, “I want to get some of your anointing.”

    I was at a meeting early (which I really didn’t want to be at). At first I didn’t know anyone there. Usually, I can make light conversation with people I don’t know, but literally everyone was there to honor an old pastor who has an “anointing”. So I tried to stand in the back of the room and blend into the wall until the meeting started to avoid the inevitable topic of conversation. There was one man who is really goofy and all into the anointing whomI was working hard to avoid. But he found me at the wall and came up to me and said, “I can tell just by the way you stand and look that you have a really heavy anointing!” I just can’t slough these things off any more. I have to speak out. So I said, “Oh, I believe the Bible says that every believer is anointed.” He had no idea what I was talking about. He tried to argue back, but I would not give in. I just responded with, “Every believer is anointed.” Finally he said, “Yes, but Jesus had the Spirit without measure.” He finally gave up because I repeated yet again, “Every believer is anointed.” I recognize now that he was probably getting that from Bill J. That crowd loves his stuff.

  116. IWTT says:

    Did you use the term “anointing” in describing some of the goings-on, such as “the anointing was really strong in that meeting”? Or was the term used primarily be leadership?

    I personally had used it as a way of discribing “something was going on”, as a difference between what was perceived as a place with “normal feeling” and a place where a “supernatural feeling” or “spiritual feeling” was present and therefore the place was “anointed”. I guess the same thing was meant if I were to say “the presence of the Lord is in this place…”.

    I never ever thought a person was anointed, but rather being used by God for that moment as in the idea that the gift(s) were flowing/manifested, which meant to me that the presence of the Holy Spirit was in the place and working through a person(s).

    But then later in my walk I do believe that I probably would say something to the affect that, there is an “anointing” upon that person. The Holy Spirit is upon him/her and using them mightly.

  117. Shawn says:

    YesNaSpanishTown – good on you for continuing to say “Every believer is anointed.”

    I have something similar to what you shared that also drives me nuts. I have to laugh to keep from crying, but I also find it “funny” when people tell me “God is going to use you.” They always seem to be referring to something in the future that will be “epic” or large scale.

    I always want to ask, “you mean God is not using me now?” It’s part of the Pentecostal movement to always look for some momentous undertaking to occur at some future date.

    Maybe one day we’ll all be “on stage” and speaking to millions, but really, who cares? If that’s part of God’s plan for our lives then let Him figure it out, right? Why not just serve where we are now and let everything else play out the way God intended?

    I also think if you tell someone that “one day God will use them,” you almost imply that what they are doing now is insufficient or somehow “less.”

    Oh well, glad I’m no longer a fruit loopy Christian like I used to be – bring on the orthodoxy I say!

  118. linda62 says:

    Oh Shawn, YES and AMEN.
    You said: “It’s part of the Pentecostal movement to always look for some momentous undertaking to occur at some future date.”
    You have so hit the nail on the head about the Pentecostal movement that I HAD to jump in with a hurrah! This is just it, resting in the assurance that God is using me (and you) at this moment and NO it doesn’t have to be a momentous future event. This is exercising true faith, even when the details are not in clear view. Preach it! God is using you!

  119. Shawn says:

    Thanks Linda – glad this spoke to you too. The next time I pick up a toilet brush for the mens’ bathroom at Church I’ll remind myself that God is using me ;)

    Ha – bet they don’t mean that when they talk about “the anointing” or doing great things for God!

  120. linda62 says:

    Jesus washed dirty feet… no man is greater than his master. ( : Keep up the good work!

  121. The problem with the statement “Jesus is our model” like so many teachings in charismania is that no lines are drawn. No specifics defined. It’s like when the pop culture says so-and-so is a good “role model.” I always ask, “Role model for what?” Yeah, Tiger Woods is a good role model of how to play good golf, but not so much on many other issues.

    Jesus is our model for what? He is our model for many things like obedience to God’s Word, truthfulness, how to respond to the poor, how to respond to wickedness, how to respond to self righteousness, etc etc.

    But there are aspects of Jesus we cannot model. We cannot model His unique standing as having existed with God [ED: and as God] before time. We cannot model his atoning death for the sins of the world. We cannot model His bodily resurrection [ED: of/by Himself]. We cannot model His second coming as the Righteous Judge, etc. etc…..

    Having had an extended journey through charismania these vague open ended ideas take on a life of their own: morphing and evolving until they do not reflect the truth of the Word of God. In that way it is very much like new age teachings as they keep changing and (in their minds) growing into new understanding. Each new book adding to the concepts of earlier books until the truth is lost.

    The same is true in relation to your question about the use of the term ‘anointing,’ Craig. We all used it- in many and varied ways. It was really up to personal interpretation what was meant. A song could be anointed (evoke an emotional response). A teaching could be anointed. A teacher could be anointed. A room could be anointed. A person could have an anointing. A person could catch or transfer an anointing. The anointing broke the yoke. It was a force. It was unseen, but felt. It could be discerned, felt, gained and lost.

    If I was to try and list synonyms …..It could mean ability or talent. It could mean impacting. It could mean articulate. It could mean being empowered. But the trouble was these alternative synonyms were not used. The term “anointing” was used, which automatically implied the approval of God.

    On rare occasions it would have been accurate to say true conviction was experienced during a message, but the message was declared ‘anointed,’ which diverted the focus from the Lord onto some abstract idea or the person delivering the message.

  122. Craig says:

    I agree that most don’t know what “Jesus is our model” means; however, Johnson does, in fact, define his meaning/s. At least they are strongly implied in the way he words some things. As in this post, given that the title of Johnson’s ‘sermon’ is Jesus is our model, and given that Johnson expressly claims that the passage in Matthew 13 explains Johnson’s own (faulty) exegesis of Luke 3:22/4:3-4, we can draw the conclusion that Jesus, as the “rhema” word (as the ensuing explanations in the comments have shown), is our model. But, again, many others do not specify, and those sitting under the teachings are not really understanding what it taught when they are teaching it, as they are vague and teach just enough that sounds Biblically orthodox that the audience just (figuratively) nods their collective heads in agreement. It’s tragic.

    The way I see the whole “anointing” thing is that this “so and so is so anointed as a singer, musician, etc.” that they don’t see how these false teachers are REALLY defining the “anointing” as Johnson has with the “Christ anointing” teaching I keep reiterating here in Crosswise. That is that Jesus was merely a man who was “Christ anointed” by the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’, thereby providing the title of “Christ”, making the man Jesus into Jesus Christ. This same “Christ anointing” is for all, which really means we all become ‘little Christs’, or ‘little gods’ – though Johnson does not say this like some of his predecessors. Yet the teaching boils down to the same thing when taken to its logical conclusion.

  123. Arwen4CJ says:

    theuntangling,

    I think you are right about a major problem of hyper-charismaticism is that terms aren’t always defined, or if they are, they aren’t defined the same way all the time. It isn’t consistent across the board. Perhaps this is on purpose. Those who are being drawn in aren’t able to see the danger in what is being taught. They slowly absorb one teaching after the other, and all the individual people are being mixed with others at various stages in hyper-charismaticism.

    When a person hears a term that they have already accepted as being “true,” or “acceptable,” then when someone else uses it slightly differently, they are able to accept the new usage of it. This keeps happening until the person gets deeply into the dangerous doctrine.

    Bill Johnson does have a definition of anointed, but perhaps not everyone realizes what it is. They just eat his teachings up, accepting what he says as truth. All the while they don’t realize that they’ve accepted false doctrine — that the meaning of a word has changed from what they thought it meant.

  124. Craig says:

    I’m going to copy a comment I just made on another thread as it’s apropos here

    This is one of the reasons I’m trying very hard to show that this is the same modus operandi of the so-called “esoteric Christianity”, which is in reality occultism. In my ‘Christ’ in the New Age article I quote from Hannah Newman’s excellent The Rainbow Swastika, which speaks of this same problem from a Jewish perspective. I only used her “Trojan horse” quote, but here’s a bit more context:

    …The main tenets of NA religion are important to grasp, not least because familiar religious terms are given radically different meanings while allowing outsiders to define them as they like (for example, the Great Invocation). This ploy has allowed NA “change agents” (as they are known to insiders) to infiltrate the unsuspecting Jewish community in the Trojan Horse of semantics. They say all the “right” things, work hard in service and scholarship, win leadership positions, and only then do they set out to reshape the old concepts to fit the “new paradigm”….

  125. Matt says:

    Craig,

    Thanks for another great artice!

    Over the past two years I have seen these teachings infiltrate my church and Im not sure what to do anymore. Im torn between uprooting my family and staying to see where it all goes. There is clearly a division within the congregation over these beliefs. I have voiced my concerns but they seem to get swept under the rug. We have elders and members taking trips to Bethel and coming back excited about all that they “felt and experienced”. Then it spreads through out the members and familys alike.

    Our Wednesday night service has turned into a joke. The worship team mimics that of Jesus Culture and Bethel Worship spouting out “prophecys” and “words from the Lord” as they play. They also incorporated “Treasure Hunts” (Finger of God movie) into the service. It seems like they parrot anyting and everything that comes out of Redding. Its sad.

    Our youth pastor seems to think he has supernatural powers. One day I was having trouble getting a leaf blower started (I help maintain the church grounds) and he offered to give it a try. It started for him and after asked, he stated that it started because ” I spoke life into it “. After digging deeper, I found out that I was priming it too much, resulting in the engine being flooded. Not that I wasnt speaking life into it. I brought this to the attention of some of the elders who didnt seem concerned and said he is just immature. Am I being overly sensitive/critical? I believe that a youth pastor needs to held to a strict standard of beliefs. How can he teach truth if he embraces false teachings?

    Sorry for the rant. This stuff obviously bothers me. Keep up the hard work Craig!

    I wanted to ask you a question about another topic but couldent find an email or contact page on your site. Have you done any research on Heidi Baker? She and her husband Rolland have a ministry in Mozambique. She is affiliated with NAR, TACF, Bethel, ect. There have been 4-5 young kids from our church that have gone to her school and come back speaking very highly of her. They also come back embracing the “supernatural realm”. It seems like the theme of all these ministries is to target the youth. Another theme Im seeing is that they dont read the word, or tell anyone that they should read it. I found this video of Heid and its quite creepy. I was wondering what your thoughts are on it or if you can shed some light on it for me.

    http://rr-bb.com/showthread.php?165350-Heidi-Baker-and-the-Burn-movement&s=7264c2b7015fa3914b0c428a18289d7a

  126. Craig says:

    Your youth pastor is governed by the Word of Faith belief that words have power (an occult belief). This comes from the belief that God Himself evoked the ‘Word of Faith’ in the creation account of Genesis 1. God “breathed life” into Adam. So, then, in essence, it’s a belief equating humans with God. Blasphemy! This is why Johnson references the (“rhema”) Word as “the most powerful thing in the universe”. Therefore, IMO, you are absolutely NOT being overly sensitive or critical.

    I’ve done little research into Heidi Baker, but, clearly, she is just like the rest of hyper-charismaticism; she exalts mystical experience over everything else. It’s all about ‘feeling’ and the ‘presence of God’. Yes, these groups have a focus on the youth – get ‘em while their vulnerable.

    Just in viewing the first couple of minutes of the video in the url you reference I hear two of Baker’s “WHOA”s, the same thing “former” witch Patricia King is known for. My bottom line: this is from the occult. The Holy Spirit does not so ‘take over’ an individual that they’ll be under this sort of control. The Holy Spirit’s role is found primarily in John 14:15 – 16:16. The Holy Spirit does not bring attention to Himself (not through others who would exhibit His characteristics, for example), He points to Jesus instead. He convicts of sin and leads to righteousness – not mystical experiences.

    Also, the guy in the video exhibits the Lou Engle ‘rock’, thought it’s not as pronounced.

    Stay away, I say.

  127. Craig says:

    Matt,

    If the leadership is just continuing to go more Bethel-like, and there are no others in leadership to counter this, then you’ll eventually have to leave, IMO. You can try to be a light amongst the darkness (just sayin’ it straight), but if leadership wishes to remain in the Bethel darkness (which looks like ‘light’, but see 2 Cor 11:14-15), things will just go from bad to worse.

  128. just1ofhis says:

    Matt,

    you state: “It started for him and after asked, he stated that it started because ” I spoke life into it “. ”

    my question: Did it start breathing, speaking the praises of God, grow legs and walk around the grounds by itself? Well then, he definitely did not “speak life into it”.

    I would encourage you to move your family far, far away from such nonsense and keep them safely planted in the Word of God. From experience, I know that this isn’t easy; but you have children to consider. wof doctrines and “ministries” are largely targeted to the youth. If your church is becoming bethelized, you will soon find your youth ministries going down that path also. It is cultic and dangerous. If you were a single man, firmly grounded in the faith, who wanted to stay and fight; that might be one thing. imo, when children are involved; the need to be proactive for their protection is very important. There is demonic behind much of this. If your youth pastor is “speaking life” into a leaf blower, it is time to move on (imo anyway)….

    Will be praying for you and your family as I know that others here will also do.

  129. Craig says:

    my question: Did it start breathing…?

    But wait! Since it’s a leaf blower, I suppose the youth pastor DID speak life into it; that is, if it started blowing, then it must have had ‘breath’ in order to start blowing! ;-) LOL

    Gotta inject some humor once in a while.

  130. just1ofhis says:

    Re: Heidi Baker (and her husband, Roland)…

    “Burn movement” says it all.

    The Bakers are huge fans of William Branham. Among other things, Branham taught that “trinitarianism” was “of the devil”. I have heard footage of Roland Baker calling William Branham the “most anointed” man since “jesus christ”. Branham was also into all kinds of new age ideas, and his tombstone is a large pyramid….

    Craig maybe has something he can link you to regarding Branham.

    The Branham promotion alone would be enough for me to steer clear of Heidi Baker.

  131. Matt says:

    >>>I have a short section on Branham here:

    >>>http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/kris-vallotton-and-the-mantle-of-jesus-christ-bill-johnson-on-corporate-anointing/

    I read this one the other day. Good stuff. It amazes me that Bill and Kris speak about Branham openly and everyone accepts it as a positive thing. How is this possible??

  132. Craig says:

    Branham is accepted under the false premise that we are to “eat the meat and spit out the bones”. Yet, those accepting this premise fail to acknowledge that a little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole.

  133. just1ofhis says:

    “It amazes me that Bill and Kris speak about Branham openly and everyone accepts it as a positive thing. How is this possible??”

    Matt, I believe a common thread among false teachers is a strong desire NOT to have their own teaching held up to the refiner’s fire of scripture. It’s like “honor among theives”…they generally return the favor to each other. It is also part of the “falling away” that comes at the end. They refuse to love the truth…Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God made flesh…and so they fall into apostate teaching….deceiving and being deceived.

    So, Bill Johnson has no motivation to test Branham against scripture. He won’t even test himself against it. Dangerous stuff, indeed.

    There is a conditioning of sorts that goes on through feeding folks the rotten food of Branham, the leaven of which Craig speaks. If you can get a person to accept someone like Branham willingly, or if you can get them to lay down their Bibles and believe that Branham in his day was a “new move” of “god” regardless of what the Bible had to say about it, then they will gladly eat all the rotten fruit of the current crop of false teachers too. It is a prepping for the final anti-christ.

  134. Craig says:

    I should add something else about Branham. Most of the teachers in h-charismaticism will claim that Branham’s gifting was as a healer; and, it wasn’t until he moved into teaching that he got out of his ‘gifting’. This is the reason cited as to why he went off a bit towards the end – that is, by those who DO concede even that much.

    This, of course, fails to acknowledge Branham’s many false prophecies, plus the fact that he couldn’t heal unless his “angel” was at his side.

    On another note altogether: Since just1ofhis mentioned about this movement “prepping for the final anti-christ” I wanted to state that it seems not a few folks have a misunderstanding of the term (not speaking to you just1ofhis, just in general). While anti can mean “against”, it also can mean “instead of” or “substitute”. I’d say he’s much better understood as the “substitute Christ”. Certainly, he’s against Jesus Christ, but the point is that he will seem to be so much like Jesus that many will think he IS Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, “Satan masquerades as an angel of light” and “his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness” [2 Cor 11:14-15]. The antichrist will be the ultimate masquerader.

  135. Matt says:

    The Lord keeps pointing me back to these two verses everytime I start to get distressed over this. Its the only thing that explains to me why others dont see whats really going on here.

    The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
    (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV)

    You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is.
    (Galatians 5:7-10 ESV)

  136. Matt says:

    “The Bakers are huge fans of William Branham. Among other things, Branham taught that “trinitarianism” was “of the devil”. I have heard footage of Roland Baker calling William Branham the “most anointed” man since “jesus christ”. Branham was also into all kinds of new age ideas, and his tombstone is a large pyramid”

    I did some research last night and found the video of Rolland Baker speaking VERY highly of Branham. Very interesting……and sad…

  137. Arwen4CJ says:

    Matt,

    I know a little bit about Hedi Baker, although not a whole lot. Before I left the one church in my hometown, the elders in the church had promoted a conference called “Voice of the Apostles.” They were offering a web viewing of some of the speakers at this conference (or sessions, or whatever they specifically called them). One of the speakers that they showed was Hedi Baker. From the time that it was announced that they would be showing videos from the conference up until they actually showed it, I searched for as much information on the speakers as I could. The other speakers were Randy Clark and Bill Johnson.

    From the research that I did on Hedi, I learned that Hedi’s ministry is a subdivision of Bethel Church. She is tied to Bill Johnson and all of Bethel. She speaks at many Bethel events, as well as with other hyper-charismatic teachers. She is a favorite among the hyper-charismatic crowd. I watched a few of her videos, and she appears to be often incoherent, drunk, and shaking/manifesting things that I am sure are demonic.

    The content of her “sermons” or “messages” or whatever you want to call her lectures or talks is very Scripturally suspect. For example, instead of preaching on Scripture, she tends to speak on spiritual experience. When she does use Scripture, she uses eisegesis (she makes a verse or passage mean what she wants it to, reading her own meaning into the text, and making it seem to support whatever she is saying) to support the manifestation or experience she has been talking about. She completely ignores the context of a given verse or passage.

    So, let’s say she is talking about angel encounters. (This is a real example that I can remember from a video I watched), and she’s been talking about all these great experiences she has had with angels. She then opens her Bible and turns to Revelation, where it talks about “the angel of ____ church.” She pulls one of those verses out and then launches into talking about hearing from angels, angels interacting with humans, etc. She spends the rest of the time continuing talking about this.

    I didn’t attend the “Voice Of The Apostles” webcast at the church, but I did talk to one of the elders about it the Sunday following the showing. He and his wife told me about Hedi Baker’s talk, and had nothing but praises to say about her. Apparently she talked about spiritual manifestations and experiences (what a surprise). And one of the things she talked about was when a tornado was coming towards her ministry in Africa. She used Jesus’ example of controlling weather, and was able to push away the storm so that it went in another direction, or so she claimed. The elder who told me this and his wife were super impressed by this tale, whether or not it is true. (The story personally sounds far fetched to me, who in the audience was going to try to verify her story? All she needs to do is show that she is “spiritual” by doing a few signs and wonders, shaking, etc, and these people will believe anything that she says. However, if it was true, and did happen, then it would have been by evil power, just to keep her trapped in thinking that she can control weather and be a little god.)

    It is true that she has an orphanage and a ministry to children in Africa, and that is great. But doing good work does not mean that someone’s ministry is sound. And I think this is the hook that gets a lot of people — her apparent love and devotion to these children in Africa. This is a good quality, and most people admire someone with that kind of love and devotion to the less fortunate. This is something that Jesus would want. So, it actually is a good fruit. So, I think a lot of Christians put down their guard about her. So, this is a case in which this part of her ministry is right — but the theology and content of her teaching is way off, which overshadows the good in her work. And the bad thing is that she is teaching this false theology to these poor orphan children.

    As far as weather or not you should go, from what you’ve said, I would leave. But that is just my personal opinion. If you don’t leave now, and nothing changes, then I think you’ll have to leave at some point in the future. However, certainly pray about it. If God tells you to stay for awhile, then you should listen to Him.

    You said you have to think about uprooting your family — so I don’t know who “family” is in this context. If it is a wife and children, then you need to discuss this with them. What do they think about these teachings? Do they think that what is going on is okay? How are they being influenced? Is this church a spiritually healthy place? And if it isn’t preaching sound doctrine, then how are you and the members of your family growing spiritually?

    How many people in the church leadership are into the Bethel teachings? Are there any that are not? If everyone who is in leadership is into this stuff, you’re going to have a lot of uphill battles to fight. Are you alone in the church in opposing these teachings? Are there others with whom you can share your concerns with, and who feel the same way? If so, then there is a chance that you could team up with them and try to approach the church leadership as a group, present your concerns, and see where it goes from there. Perhaps once you have taken this step, you will have a clearer picture on how entrenched your church is in this. You said there is a division in the congregation over these beliefs — so it sounds like there are others who hold your view? These are the people who you need to talk to.

    I think that you and other concerned members have to do something now. So, take some time, do some research, pray about it, and present your concerns as a group to the leadership. That’s what I would suggest doing before considering leaving :) That way you have done everything possible that you can.

    Oh yes…treasure hunts…sigh….that is spreading as well. That’s what the church in the town where my graduate school was started doing under the new pastor. Well, not regularly — they did it at a conference that the church hosted — but still. :( Treasure Hunts in the service though, that is weird.

    Yeah, the coalition of people with concerns about these teachings need to ask the leadership why these things are being incorporated, when they are not found in Scripture. Are they doing them just because Bethel does them? Etc.

    No, I don’t think you are being overly sensitive at all. Youth pastors should be held to the same standards as other pastors in a church. If they are teaching things that are off, then they need to be confronted in a loving way.

  138. just1ofhis says:

    Arwen stated, “It is true that she has an orphanage and a ministry to children in Africa, and that is great. But doing good work does not mean that someone’s ministry is sound. And I think this is the hook that gets a lot of people — her apparent love and devotion to these children in Africa. This is a good quality, and most people admire someone with that kind of love and devotion to the less fortunate. This is something that Jesus would want. So, it actually is a good fruit. So, I think a lot of Christians put down their guard about her. So, this is a case in which this part of her ministry is right — but the theology and content of her teaching is way off, which overshadows the good in her work. And the bad thing is that she is teaching this false theology to these poor orphan children.”

    Arwen and all,This is just something to consider when you are weighing this “fruit” of Heidi Baker. Heidi Baker has sold lots of books, cd’s, dvd’s, etc. describing all the good “fruit” of her life (both natural and supernatural). She is widely loved and received in charismatic circles because of all this testimony that she is providing about herself. It isn’t that the work is wrong. We are absolutely told in the Bible to love all people and to help provide for those who have less than we do, but we are told to do that in such a way that “our left hand doesn’t know what our right hand is doing”. Our Heavenly Father rewards us when we do our giving in such a way.

    BUT, if we do our giving and use that giving to win the praises of men (and sell lots of books and dvds and cds to boot), then we have already been rewarded in full for those efforts.

    “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have NO REWARD from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, THEY HAVE RECEIVED THEIR REWARD IN FULL. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be done in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt 6: 1-4)

    I would apply this same line of thinking to the new pope. Much was written and stated about his great humility and care for the poor, and yet he had no trouble putting on the white garb and talking for himself the title, “holy father”. He didn’t hesitate to walk out of the balcony to the cheers of several hundred thousand admirers. The “righteousness” of men and women such as these is something celebrated and honored among people….they have received their reward for it.

  139. Arwen4CJ says:

    just1ofhis,

    Please note, I was not meaning to say that I liked Hedi Baker, or supported her ministry. I was only saying that the act of running an orphanage in itself is a good thing. That is a good deed. This in no way means that I support her ministry, or think that she is a sound teacher.

    Most false teachers have some good that they do in their ministry. This doesn’t justify her ministry. I was trying to say that, yes, the orphanage stuff is good, in and of itself.

    I don’t know the motive of her heart for doing the orphanage work — if it is only to sell DVDs and books and to make money. That may or may not be the main reason that she does it. Only God knows her motivation for doing her ministry. It is a possibility that she is only doing it to make money. It’s also a possibility that she is doing it because she really wants to help them.

    Either way, the very fact that she does this seemingly good work makes her dangerous. People look at it and assume that she is very loving, and so they draw the conclusion that she must be a good person and a sound teacher.

    I think she is a false teacher, and that this good work that she is doing is a snare to get people to like her, whether or not she is consciously doing it for that reason. Her orphanage work is the very reason that people are being deceived about her.

    This is what I meant with my comment above. I was not trying to say that we should accept her, or that the work legitimatizes her ministry. I clearly think she is a false teacher, and that she has gone off the deep end, and that she is leading many astray.

    So please don’t take that one paragraph that you quoted of what I wrote in the previous message to be my opinion of her.

    I’m also not saying that Hedi is righteous because of what she does. Some people might think she is, but I don’t. I’m just trying to explain why people like her so much. Does that make sense?

  140. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I think just1ofhis was just conveying the fact that false teachers do exhibit some good qualities; but, these good things are usually done in front of men, to be seen by men and, so they’re receiving their reward in full at present. The way I understand her comment is that she was agreeing with you, just merely adding this other element.

  141. just1ofhis says:

    Arwen,

    Absolutely agreeing with you….sorry if it came off otherwise.

    My belief is that the final anti-christ will not only be a false “jesus” but will likely come with all kinds of earthly based works as part of the deception. The thing is, we are told that we know them by the fruits of their lives and NOT the works. Taking care of the poor is a work.

    It is so deceptive, because the “works” make the person seem “godly” in an worldly interpretation of the term. But the very fact that those “works” are flaunted before other people to gain a following makes them full of bad fruit.

  142. Arwen4CJ says:

    just1ofhis,
    No problem :) I just wanted to make sure people weren’t reading my one paragraph and assuming that I was trying to make a case to support Heidi.

    I think you’re right about the final Anti-Christ being not only a false Christ, but will also come with works as part of the deception. In fact, the Bible tells us as much — at least in regard to signs and wonders. Yeah, these people will be doing some seemingly “good” things, otherwise no one would be deceived — and certainly not to the point of “if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived.” The deception has to be very, very heavy for Jesus’ statement to be true.

    We agree. I was just trying to say why so many people like Hedi. Anytime someone tries to point out her flaws (including when I tried pointing them out to the elders of the one church), the response is always, “Look at the fruit. Look at what she does in Africa with the children. This means that she can’t be bad.”

    So, from the perspective of those who are deceived by Hedi’s ministry, they see her as only bearing good fruit (even though it only looks good on the outside), and that this means she is right. For them, her ministry to the poor justifies all her other teaching. :(

    So, I think what we were doing was trying to say the same thing in two different ways. :)

  143. Arwen4CJ says:

    I should also point out that that’s one of the reasons that people are deceived by Bill Johnson as well. Their argument goes something like this:

    “Bill Johnson reaches out to the community — his church has all these outreaches, they pray for people, they have all these ministries, Jesus is being preached, people are being saved, people are being prayed for, etc. See all that good fruit. See how loving he is? How can you criticize that?”

    They are setting it up as an either/or thing — if there is anything that looks good in the ministry, they point to that, and then ask the critics how they are able to say that the ministry is bad. They won’t look at the doctrine, because all they are looking at is the works.

    So yes, this is exactly what just1ofhis was saying.

    If people could get passed the seemingly good things about these ministries, and look at what is really going on, with the doctrine, what they are really teaching, then fewer people would be deceived.

    We all know that good works are good things to do, and that Jesus wants us to do them. The problem is that we can’t use only look at the works — we have to look at the doctrine behind the works, we have to look at the doctrine that is being taught by these ministries.

    Seeing Heidi work with all these children touches people’s hearts. They see her as being a loving woman who is serving God in Africa. These good things hide the rotten fruit she carries with her in her ministry from a lot of people.

    Just as we can’t judge a ministry based only on signs and wonders, etc, we cannot judge a ministry based only on good works being done.

  144. Craig says:

    This “fruit” is not unlike Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan (with none of the “E”s for “Evangelism”, which by itself is quite telling). It’s seemingly a great humanitarian effort, but where’s Jesus? Where’s the Gospel? Berit Kjos has an article showing it’s parallels with UN Millenium Development Goals (UN MDG).

    And, Warren himself sits on the board of Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation, which clearly identifies furthering UN MDG. It’s all part of the same one world religion plan, which will assist in ushering in the substitute Christ.

  145. Craig says:

    “Many will say ‘Lord, Lord’…and I will tell them ‘I never knew you’.”

  146. mike says:

    I am not a fan of Mr. Johnson and have first hand experience of one of his “plants” in Arlington, TX. I might quote Sinclair Ferguson however who states that Jesus had the same issues with temptation that we have yet chose not to crater. In that regard alone we might assert for a moment that He ” laid down His divinity”

  147. Craig says:

    Mike,

    I’m not familiar with Sinclair Ferguson, but I wonder if Ferguson would outright make the claim that Jesus “laid down His divinity”. Do you have a specific quote you can cite?

    In any case, Scripture DOES say Jesus was tempted in all ways yet without sin [Heb 4:15]; however, this does not mean He was any less than divine. It’s complicated matter which goes beyond the scope of this article, but, more to the point, Scripture makes it clear He did not ‘lay aside His divinity”.

    In John 2:11 we have the Gospel writer stating that Jesus’ first miracle “revealed His glory”. More conclusively, we have Jesus’ words in John 5:21-25 indicating that He both provided eternal life and judgment during His earthly ministry [cf. Luke 23:42-43; John 9:39-41, etc.]. Clearly, providing eternal life or judgment are divine acts. This could not have been done via the Holy Spirit, for if this were true than any Holy Spirit indwelt individual would be able to give eternal life or judgment to whomever s/he wanted – obviously not correct. Therefore, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man during His time on earth (and He remains so at the right hand of the Father), just like the Council of Chalcedon of 451AD states. [ADDED:] And, the above Scriptures (and others) make it clear He exercised those divine attributes.

    However, I note that you actually didn’t take part in this particular ‘challenge’. Would you like to answer one of the questions (in green) posed in the article? Perhaps you could explain Johnson’s “sperma of God” concept which includes two different ‘seeds’.

  148. Craig says:

    In the following thread on Andrew Strom’s site is a conversation I’m having with “Teshuva”. She seems to be putting forth the divine spark/seed concept by the way she’s framed a comment that “Christ is all in all” and “As He is so our we in the world”. And like most false teachers, she refuses to answer direct questions:

    http://www.revivalschool.com/rap-song-names-names-of-prosperity-preachers/

  149. Shawn says:

    To be frank, after looking at the posts on the site, I don’t think you’ll be able to reason with her/him. If you’re concerned for them I’d recommend prayer – nothing short of divine intervention is likely to pull the wool from this person’s eyes.

  150. Arwen4CJ says:

    Taken from the link Craig provided:
    antipas4yahshua,
    The woman who is to be quiet and be in submission is the “Carnal Mind”. Men and women alike have this and so they do need to allow God to place His heel on it in subjection and teach. A physical woman who the Christ is speaking through should be a word that is honored and appreciated. Not all physical men who speak are speaking with the mind of Christ but are speaking from the carnal mind/woman/harlot etc..
    Shalom

    Criag,
    with all due respect to you, how do we grow except by a seed. Nature teaches us that.
    The spirit of God is seed. Reborn from above and then we will not act like animals, but will have the resemblance of God to love and imitate Christ.
    You call me new age and gnostic–Bless you.
    I say to you that there are some things that you have written I hear my Fathers voice coming from you.
    You cannot have Christ likeness without the seed.
    Every seed reproduces after its own kind–that is scripture– yet His divine order is that He created us and so we are subjected to Him.
    Faith in Him is not for this eon only but the eons to come.

    Teshuva,
    Here’s a simple question: Do you believe all wo/men have a Christ seed awaiting to be awakened to grow?

    Craig
    Children do not have to grow/mature? All Children are born fully mature?

    Craig,
    So we are not to awaken to righteousness?
    Antipas is twisting what I said.
    I said that the carnal mind is to be subjected not we to be subjected to the carnal mind.

    Teshuva,
    Let’s try a different angle here to give you the benefit of the doubt: Could you describe what it means to become a Christian, i.e. the ‘born again’ experience? What does salvation and justification mean?

    Teshuva
    I used to do things that I should not do but when His love came in it subjected me to not do the things I used to do that I thought was right in my own eyes.
    I am saved by grace through faith.

    Craig Apr 18th 2013

    Teshuva,

    You’ve already identified yourself as adhering to ‘hyper-grace’ teachings.

    I submit you’ve not fully expressed a Christian view. You wrote, “I am saved by grace through faith.” – by faith in what/whom are you saved and how? What exactly has provided for your salvation? What is justification?

    _____________________________________________________________________
    Craig,
    I think that Teshuva may not be answering the questions because she may not understand the theological issues involved.

    True, it looks like she is into gnostic teaching, and she very well could be. However, I’m not sure she is able to understand your questions or your answers, so it may be like you are speaking a foreign language to her, in which she is trying to make sense of.

    I don’t know that she will answer your questions — she may have left the thread….but I would like to know a few things:

    First, what does she mean when she said “the Christ is speaking through” in her first comment above?

    If possible, I think it would be best to let her define it in her own words so that she can explain it — but then again, I’m not sure that she will take the time to explain it. Defining theology and making herself clear do not seem to be extremely important to her.

    If she is willing to answer your question, you might have to ask her what she believes about “the Christ.” Again, maybe let her try to answer it on her own.

    I know you tried doing this above with the divine spark thing — but I don’t think she exactly understood what you were asking because you were using the terms you knew in the question. You tried defining what divine spark/seed was, but I think your explanation went over her head.

    I do think she might believe it, but we need an explanation from her in her own words. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like you’re going to get it :(

    She also denied saying what she did about the “Carnal Mind” thing when the other person on the blog asked her a direct question about it.

    By the way, I noticed that the other person in the conversation seems to think that Jesus is not Yahweh, but that only the Father is Yahweh. I’m not sure what this other person was trying to imply. Maybe he/she thought that there was only one God, but that Yahweh was only the name of the Father, and Jesus had a different name, etc. Or maybe she thought that Yahweh was the big God, and was only the Father, and Jesus was a demi god.

    Teshuva answered this other poster with something about divine order, and started listing qualities behind the Persons in the Trinity…..which makes me wonder if this person is into kabbalah/mystical Judaism, which seems to really be another type of gnosticism. It seems to turn God into a bunch of impersonal attribute forces, etc.

    What does Teshuva mean by seed here? A divine spark (which seems to be outside of her vocabulary, but she may very well believe the concept, but use a different name for it), a type of knowledge, etc.

    Oh…and I noticed some other people commenting were trying to defend Todd Bentley, and they were claiming that Bentley is not into prosperity, and that he’s a great teacher!!!

    I don’t really want to get involved in the discussion on the site — but I will if you want me to. I’d like to know what these people think of Todd Bentley’s angel preaching, especially when he talked about an angel that was assigned to get him money, etc. It should be obvious who Todd’s god is.

  151. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I’ll answer quickly as I need to run and I’ll be gone for awhile. While I cannot definitively know whether she ‘gets it’ or not, it sure seems to me like she is intelligent enough and writes well enough to comprehend. She may well be so indoctrinated into new age teachings that she thinks (knows) she’s right. She has the typical false humility of acting pious yet not listening to anyone else. I had earlier questioned her about her hyper-grace leanings, which she dismissed out of hand. I had pretty much given up at that point.

    Keep in mind that in the New Age/Theosophical beliefs one can reach sinless perfection, and, in fact, the only ‘real’ sin is the sin of separation/being separative.

    I asked a very clear question if she believed all have a ‘Christ seed’ awaiting to grow (to perfection). She chose to take the conversation elsewhere. This was after explaining the Holy Spirit indwelling and that the Holy Spirit is not essentially a ‘seed needing to grow’. Had she answered the question straight, we’d be better able to ascertain her stance. Not answering straightforward questions is the clear mark of a false teacher.

    You’ll need to go up a bit to some more of the conversation. The one to ‘antipas4yahshua’ in which say states “Christ is all in all” and “As he is so are we in the world”. That was my tip off.

    Like a lot of threads on Strom’s site, it’s a mixture of very false beliefs amongst a few who are orthodox. My advice is to stay out of it; it’s up to Strom, and if he wants to let folks espouse heretics and heretical beliefs, that’s his business. While I believe in giving folks a voice, it’s irresponsible to let such comments stand as is for others to be potentially led astray.

  152. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    I wanted to address your comment. Sadly, many of us, myself included at times, use prayer as a ‘last resort’. All these people need our prayers. But, you’re right, she ain’t gonna ‘get it’ as is either because, 1) she’s so immersed in her various false teachings that she can’t see the Truth; or 2) she knows exactly what she’s doing and is a plant of the enemy.

    Arwen4CJ,

    “Teshuva” is Jewish for repentance; so, you may well be correct that she’s adhering to some mystical/Kabbalistic Judaism mixed with her Christianity – a “Christian” Kabbalah. Isaac Luria’s version of the Kabbalah is one which recognizes the divine spark/seed concept. Lurian Kabbalism has much in common with Gnosticism.

    Teshuva has apparently left the conversation. My take is that her reasons are either 1 or 2 above.

  153. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Thanks for the clarification. After looking over her earlier comments again….hmmmmm…..I still think she may have a slightly different understanding of “all in all” and “As he is so are we in the world,” portions.

    I think her beliefs are still definitely wrong, and she is into false teaching, but I still think she might adhere to a slightly different form of gnosticism — the kabbalist kind. These beliefs still come from the same source as that of the New Age, and the beliefs are similar for sure. They do amount to the same kind of thing, as we’ve said before. However, I think the theological language that is used by these individuals is slightly different from the language the New Age uses — hence, she may not quite understanding what you are asking…..although she sees that what you are asking seems to line up with whatever falsehood she has accepted.

    I had a friend who decided she wanted to become a Jew, a Messianic one. She no longer referred to herself as being a Christian. Since she’d met a Messianic Jew in college, and had some online friends who had decided the same thing as she……they sort of made up their own religion. They based it on Judaism, and they were open to everything that was Jewish, including kabbalah. They were self-made Messianic Jews, having never gone to an actual Messianic Jewish congregation, etc.

    Please do not think that this is my opinion of all Messianic Jews. I know that there are people who grew up Jewish and have accepted Christ. I see them as my brothers and sisters in Jesus. However, the Messianic movement has its false teachers and whatnot too, just like any other Christian denomination. Those who do not actually belong to a congregation tend to make up their beliefs, especially if they were not raised as being Jewish, and these individuals tend to talk to each other on the Internet.

    My suspicion is that Teshuva may be like my friend…..wanting to be a Messianic Jew, or adhering to the Hebrew Roots Movement, but just taking her sources from anything that she wants to, etc, including things that are part of mystical Judaism. She may also be using Christian sources, including Christian mysticism, and combining things just as she likes. Since mysticism of any kind seems to be related, being doctrines of demons, it makes sense that her views would be similar and maybe identical with New Age.

    Also, I do want to point out that “growing to perfection” isn’t necessarily a heretical idea — it depends on what the person means by that. The reason that I say this is because John Wesley encouraged his followers to do this. Although my degree was in counseling, I had friends who were going into the ministry. It was a United Methodist seminary, and I had to take some basic classes that people seeking to be pastors took as well. The concept of sanctification is a very United Methodist one, and it is very different from what the New Age teach. According to one of my friends, when they are questioned to be considered for ordination, they are asked if they believe it is possible to grow to perfection, or something like that. And they have to answer yes, because it is a United Methodist belief. So, while I see why the statement set off alarm bells, and I think that this Teshuva had heretical theology, I just want to say that there are also other interpretations of that phrase.

    I certainly agree that Teshuva’s language about “seed” was suspicious and sounded very mystical/heretical/gnostic. I really wish she would have answered the question about creation that she kept on avoiding, and I wish she would have answered you more directly, asking you clearly what you meant by the questions. Because she didn’t ask for clarification, and tried writing out responses, perhaps your assessment was correct — she did know what she was saying and doing.

    And you are right about Strom’s blog. I have read a few other of his threads — and it seems that most people are expressing some very false beliefs, although a few are not. And Strom is doing nothing to correct the false beliefs. It should be his job to straighten out the false theology being exposed, and by remaining silent on the matter, he is letting heresy flourish. I think he is right to expose false teaching in his articles, but he should also take the time to correct false teaching in the comments. That he doesn’t do this really is disturbing, and gives the impression that he just wants people to be warned about dangerous kundalini type manifestations, and some big name errors, but doesn’t mind if the people reading his blog have a little false theology that he hasn’t specifically named.

    Now, maybe he doesn’t correct comments because he doesn’t have the time. If so, he should have a moderator whom he trusts offer the correction. It sort of seems to defeat the purpose of having a blog exposing heresy, and yet allow people to post heretical comments without offering correction. Offering a voice is good, but then someone needs to gently point out that false beliefs are false.

    Anyway……thanks for pointing this discussion with Teshuva out.

  154. Shawn says:

    Hi Craig,

    Yes, I’m guilty of doing that too. Prayer is my last resort instead of my first response. I’m working on this to try and get better becuase I really think this needs to change in my own life.

    Thank you for your sharing, I really appreciate it.

    Shawn

  155. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Posted by Marcia Montenegro on her FaceBook page. I thought this sounded very familiar vis a vis Bill Johnson:

    Troubling quotes from Richard Rohr, head of the Center for Action and Contemplation: ==The Jesus we now have, the Jesus we participate in, are graced by, are redeemed by, is the risen Christ, the eternal Christ. The word “Christ” means “the anointed one,” and that anointment by God includes us and all of creation…..

    The Gospels are about the historical Jesus. Paul, however, whose writings make up a third of the New Testament, never talks about that Jesus. He is talking about the Christ. Jesus is the microcosm; Christ is the macrocosm.

    Jesus died, Christ arose. That’s precisely what the transformation is — Christ’s consciousness untied from a specific place and time.

    This movement from Jesus to the Christ means that the same anointing that was given to Jesus is given to all of us. That’s why he didn’t say, “Worship me.” He said, “Follow me.” We’ve projected more onto Jesus than he ever asked for. Also Jesus didn’t move from Jesus to the Christ without death and resurrection. And we ourselves don’t move from our independent, historical body to the Christ consciousness without dying to our false self.

  156. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    That’s about as New Age as it gets! But, I’ll say this. I do appreciate when folks just come out and say what they mean, rather than couching it as a ‘Christianized’ New Age as Johnson does. More distressing are all those who wish to give him [Johnson] the benefit of the doubt. If I’ve not convinced those who give this particular post a careful reading, then I guess I ain’t ever-a gonna.

  157. Pingback: Assessing Bill Johnson’s “Eternally God” Declarations Amidst His Other Christological Statements | CrossWise

  158. Ballerina says:

    Craig would you agree with Warren Smith’s assessment that Barbara Marx Hubbard’s “Planetary Pentecost” she speaks/writes of ties into the “holy laughter” that Johnson and the rest of the hyper-charismatic movement is into? Meaning everyone will be “caught of up blissful joy” like Hubbard claims, and the fact that it will intensify once the “paradigm shift” fully takes place?

  159. Craig says:

    I’ve not read this particular Warren Smith stuff, but I don’t think I’d disagree. I’m convinced the hyper-charismatic belief in a “billion souls saved” as a future ‘prophecy’ is based on the same New Age teaching as Marx Hubbard. See this post for something similar:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/chuck-pierce-hosts-conference-referencing-one-new-man/

  160. Pingback: Assessing Bill Johnson’s “Eternally God” Declarations Amidst His Other Christological Statements | The Narrowing Path

  161. Craig says:

    For those who’ve read this but not the larger article in which I used this Johnson text originally, please compare The Word Becoming Flesh here with the Challenge incorporated on this thread.

  162. Pingback: Answer to Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church | CrossWise

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