Assessing Bill Johnson’s “Eternally God” Declarations Amidst His Other Christological Statements

[UPDATE: In a new post it is shown that Johnson actually affirmed some of the speculations in this particular article in a sermon at Bethel on the very same day this article was posted, using some of the very same Scriptures cited as possible proof-texts for such an approach!]

A hallmark of any true Christian is charity (this is not to say non-Christians cannot be charitable, of course).  Christians will give their money and time with no expectation of return.  Rightly, this generosity should extend to giving another the benefit of the doubt if a given statement or statements are not exactly clear.  Everyone makes a ‘slip of the tongue’ or a ‘slip of the pen’, right? 

But, on the other hand, when a teacher consistently makes statements that run counter to Christian orthodoxy, there is a need to address this issue forthrightly.  When these statements are in the public realm via books, online sermons, video/audio, et cetera, these should be addressed publicly. 

There are those who – while understanding that Bill Johnson’s Christological teachings are problematic, if not at least seemingly self-contradictory at times – do not fully agree with the views put forth on CrossWise regarding Johnson’s Christology.  Specifically, there are those who are of the opinion that Bill Johnson teaches that the Word retained all His divine attributes when He became flesh, yet chose not to exercise those attributes for the entirety of His earthly ministry, instead relying on the Holy Spirit for all miracle workings.  Whether they do this out of charity or out of a firm belief that this is Johnson’s teaching given the evidence of Johnson’s own words (as they read them), or both, I cannot be certain.  The following tweet from April 7, 2013 by Bill Johnson in answer to a direct question, seems to have strengthened this view:

Bill Johnson tweet April 7, 2013

Bill Johnson tweet April 7, 2013

Does this statement render false the CrossWise articles asserting Johnson teaches that Jesus Christ did not possess any divine attributes during the Incarnation?  Some may think so.  But, on the other hand, what are we to make of the above tweet in conjunction with the following selection from the recent book co-written by Randy Clark and Bill Johnson titled The Essential Guide to Healing? 

…Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7).  While He is eternally God, He chose to live within the restrictions of a man who had no sin and was empowered by the Holy Spirit.  In doing this, He provided a compelling model to follow.1

 By the clear words in the first sentence, Johnson is claiming that the Word (Jesus) divested Himself of divinity in becoming incarnate.  But, then again, in the second sentence we have the “eternally God” declaration like the tweet above.  Is this a contradiction?  Or should we be charitable and assume Johnson meant to state that Jesus ‘emptied Himself’ of all divine prerogatives, i.e., that Jesus voluntarily did not use the divine attributes He yet retained?  (Though this view is not Biblical.)  But please note, to assume the latter requires reading into this statement beyond what is clearly written in the first sentence. 

To be certain we are not misunderstanding Bill Johnson, here is another passage from this same book:

…While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Philippians 2:7).  It is vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God.  If He did them as God, I would still be impressed.  But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us.  Jesus is the only model for us to follow.2

Once again, we have the same “eternally God” statement in conjunction with a claim of divested deity while incarnate.  Yet, we also have the assertion that Jesus did all His miracles “as a man yielded to God”.  Does this indicate we should, as noted above, assume Johnson really means that Jesus retained His divine attributes yet purposefully chose not to exercise them, instead relying upon the Holy Spirit for all miracle workings, despite the claim that “He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man”?

I submit that there’s a different solution to this seeming conundrum, this apparent contradiction, without the need to read into any of the above.  But, it will require a bit of explanation first.

The Christ Anointing

One cannot effectively analyze Bill Johnson’s Christological statements apart from his teaching on “the anointing”, which is central to his theology.   In Johnson’s Christology, like some other teachers in hyper-charismaticism, both Christ, and then logically, antichrist are redefined.

Christ = the anointing
antichrist = against the anointing 

It is of utmost importance to keep this in mind.  “The anointing” is also called the “Christ anointing”,3 “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”,4 “Holy Spirit’s presence/rest upon” an individual,5 “the presence of God”,6 and “the outpouring of the Spirit”7 in Bill Johnson’s theology.  This is not speaking of the Holy Spirit indwelling; this is in addition to the indwelling:

…Certainly this is not talking about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that was already in Jesus’s life.  This was the inauguration of Jesus’s ministry, and the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Him as a mantle of power and authority for that specific purpose8

Bill Johnson’s duplicity is plainly evident in the way he first correctly defines Christ, and then redefines the term in the same paragraph in his book When Heaven Invades Earth:

Christ is not Jesus’ last name.  The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah…”9

So far, so good.  This is absolutely correct.  Yet, observe how he redefines “Christ” to “the anointing”:

…It [Christ] is a title that points to an experience.  It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title.  He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.10

 Contrary to Johnson, Scripture states that it was sufficient for Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah at His birth (Luke 2:11).  And, importantly, the term “Christ” is understood in Christian orthodoxy as indicating deity/divinity.11  Continuing on to the very next paragraph in Johnson’s book: 

The word anointing means “to smear.”  The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism.  The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.12

 This completes Johnson’s redefinition.  If Jesus is “the One smeared with the Holy Spirit” at His baptism, and this ‘smearing’ is the anointing, and this is the “experience” that brings forth the title of “Christ”, then it logically follows that Jesus was NOT the Christ prior to baptism.

To be sure the above is correct – that Jesus did not attain the “title” of Christ until He received the anointing in the river Jordan following John’s baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove (aka Baptism in the Holy Spirit, etc.) – the following quote from another work makes it clear: 

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 [the anointing] there could be no title.13

 Had Jesus not received the anointing, He could not have received the “title” of Christ, for this was the “experience” that “qualified Him to be called the Christ”.  But note how Johnson claims this “anointing” means “anointed one”.  Is Jesus then the unique “Anointed One”, although He did not receive the title of Christ until the anointing?  Does Johnson ‘merely’ have the timing wrong on when Jesus becomes the Christ?  Note that in the first quote in this section he neglects to use the definite article (the) in front of “Anointed One”, and he does the same in the immediately preceding quote for “anointed one” (lower case).  This is because, in another example of duplicity, ALL can receive this same “Christ anointing”:

…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him14

Be aware that this is consistent with Gnostic and New Age teaching as exemplified by Levi Dowling’s book The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ:

The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Kristos [ED: actually Christos] and means anointed.  It is identical with the Hebrew word Messiah.  The word Christ, in itself, does not refer to any particular person; every anointed person is christed15

 In Johnson’s theology, when ‘believers’ receive this “Christ anointing” do they become divine?  Not exactly.  Note below that it’s the anointing itself that’s divine, not Jesus.  The anointing links the man Jesus to the divine, thus providing the supernatural power that the non-divine Jesus lacked:

The anointing Jesus received was the equipment necessary, given by the Father to make it possible for Him to live beyond human limitations…That would include doing supernatural things.  The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil…16

It follows logically then that those who receive the Christ anointing will be linked to the divine in the same way.  To reiterate, just like mankind is non-divine and subsequently linked to the divine via the anointing, Jesus was merely a non-divine man who was linked to the divine via the anointing.  Also, given that Jesus receives the “title” of Christ only by virtue of the Christ anointing, then  it follows that anyone else who receives this same Christ anointing should receive this same “title” of Christ.  This puts us back to the teaching of Levi Dowling above: “every anointed person is christed”.

Having adequately determined how Bill Johnson defines Christ, we’ll briefly illustrate how he defines antichrist.  As he does with the term Christ, Johnson initially correctly defines antichrist (mostly, since anti can also mean “instead of”) as “anti, ‘against’; Christ, ‘Anointed One’.”17  Observe that he dispenses with the definite article (the) in front of “Anointed One” yet again.  And once again, he subtly redefines the term: “The spirits of hell are at war against the anointing, for without the anointing mankind is no threat to their dominion.18

In the following, he makes a clear distinction between believers – who would, by Christian orthodoxy, necessarily have the Holy Spirit indwelling upon conversion – and “the anointing”, though here he calls it “the Holy Spirit’s anointing” instead of the “Christ anointing”, or “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”, et cetera:

The spirit of antichrist is at work today, attempting to influence believers to reject everything that has to do with the Holy Spirit’s anointing….19

 There you have it.  By Johnson’s redefinition of antichrist, I myself have the “spirit of antichrist” since I am “attempting to influence ‘believers’ to reject” the anointing.

This teaching on the anointing corresponds with Johnson’s statements such as “He [Jesus] had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!”20 and “Jesus had no ability to heal the sick.  He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead.”21  Given His total lack of inherent supernatural capabilities, this clearly indicates a temporally non-divine Jesus.

Eternally God Yet Temporally Man?

In Bill Johnson’s Christology, like all men, Jesus lacks divinity while in the temporal realm – except by virtue of the anointing.  But how does that theology mesh with Jesus as “eternally God”?  To answer this, first we’ll look at eternity in Scripture.

According to Ephesians 2:6 all Christians are currently seated in the heavenly realms; that is, though we are currently in our earthly bodies, we are in heaven (cf. Col 3:1-3).  Believers have a sort of “dual citizenship”.  Eternal life is a future that we already possess.  This means, in a sense, we are already in the eternal realm, while we are yet still on this earth in the temporal realm.   However, the tension between these two realities must be kept in check, as we are not bi-located; we are not simultaneously living in heaven as we walk on earth.

This is usually referred to as the already but not yet.   True believers have eternal security already, but we are not yet seated in the heavenlies.  The last days have already begun at Jesus’ first coming, but the final consummation is not yet.  This understanding that we have been in the last days since Christ’s earthly ministry is also known as inaugurated eschatology (sometimes realized eschatology, but not in the absolute sense by some liberal theologians that there is no future eschatology), with the understanding that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming brings in the eschaton (end of all things).

To explain further, Revelation 13:8 indicates one of two things (the syntax of the Greek allows one of two interpretations): 1) Jesus was slain from the creation of the world, or 2) the writing of the names into the Book of Life occurred from the foundations of the world.  To accept number 2 would seem to necessitate number 1, as it appears difficult to have a Book of Life unless there first had been a Life Giver.  In any case, the point is that some events from our temporal perspective are depicted in Scripture as already past and/or already present in the eternal realm.  Therefore, we cannot conceive of the temporal realm, with its chronological developments, as if it were a subset of the eternal.  In other words, time as we know it does not run parallel with eternity, as though eternity has a past, present, and future.  Lewis Sperry Chafer aptly describes the relationship between the temporal and the eternal:

…Whatever time may be and whatever its relation to eternity, it must be maintained that no cessation of eternity has occurred or will.  God’s mode of existence remains unchanged.  Time might be thought of as something superimposed upon eternity were it not that there is ground for question whether eternity consists of a succession of events, as is true of time.  The consciousness of God is best conceived as being an all-inclusive comprehension at once, covering all that has been or will be.  The attempt to bring time with its successions into a parallel with eternity is to misconceive the most essential characteristic of eternal things.22

With the foregoing in mind, we can return to Bill Johnson.

It appears possible Johnson may be condensing the concept of already but not yet, with some of the not yet into the already.  This would not be surprising as some hyper-charismatics are known as having an over-realized eschatology; i.e., some of the things reserved for the eschaton (the end of all things; when Christ returns) are claimed to be for now.  The Manifest Sons of God (MSoG) doctrine is one example of over-realized eschatology.

It is conceivable then that, in the Johnson Christology, Jesus is “eternally God” because Jesus is God only in eternity, but not divine in the temporal, earthly realm.  Stated another way, we can read Johnson’s tweet in conjunction with the question posed such that Jesus Christ is “eternally God”, i.e., Jesus is God in the eternal realm – and, of course eternity never ceases, as it has no beginning and no end – while He was simultaneously non-divine temporally in His earthly mission, as He had “emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man”.

Note that this adequately answers the question posed in the above tweet: Johnson affirms Jesus’ full deity while on earth, but only in virtue of the assertion that “Jesus Christ is eternally God” (again, eternity never ceases).  This is somewhat similar to the believer claiming to already have eternal life.  In other words, in its context, Johnson is not necessarily affirming temporal divinity in the earthly Jesus in and of itself in the above tweet; but, in asserting eternal deity it can be comprehended as somewhat analogous to the believer’s dual status in Ephesians 2:6 and Colossians 3:1-3.  Understood this way, Johnson’s tweet and the two quotations from the book referenced at the very beginning are adequately synthesized.

To be clear, what I’m proposing above with regard to Johnson’s teaching is not orthodox; it’s merely an attempt at explaining the seeming contradictions in Johnson’s theology.  This same idea can be applied to the following Facebook quote:

Jesus is God, eternally God, and never stopped being God. But He was also man, completely man. In His earthly life He lived from His humanity to illustrate dependence on the Father in a way that could be emulated. Jesus said, “the Son of man can do nothing of Himself . . .” illustrating His dependence. His limitations were in His humanity, not His divinity. Understanding the difference can help us to successfully live the life He gave for us to live. [Bill Johnson, Facebook, August 11, 2012]

Setting aside the fact that Johnson totally distorts the meaning of John 5:19 (“the Son of man can do nothing of Himself…”) by taking only a portion of this verse, wresting it from its proper context, we can understand this such that Jesus is an earthly non-divine man concurrent with an eternally divine Jesus.  Some of the bolded portion will be discussed further below.

In another context altogether, there is evidence of Bill Johnson’s conflation of the not yet with the already:

When I first heard this phrase, the Kingdom now but not yet, over 20 years ago, it was used as a statement of promise.  It was helpful for me to realize that we have access to things right now that I had always thought inaccessibleThe phrase helped to bring into focus the reality that some things will be enjoyed in time, and some things only in eternity.  But that same phrase has also been used to define limitations and restrictions, and not instill hope.  It is used to ease people’s dissatisfaction with unrealized promises now…

It is true that a full manifestation of the Kingdom of God is more than our physical bodies can endure.  But it is also true that when we are in Heaven we will still be able to say, now, but not yet, about the Kingdom, because there is no end to the increase of His governmentThroughout eternity the Kingdom will be expanding, and we will always be advancing.  I teach our people that if now, but not yet is used to define promise and potential, accept it.  If it is spoken to build awareness of our limitations and restrictions, reject it.  We don’t need more people without authentic Kingdom experiences telling us what we can and cannot have in our lifetime.  Those who walk out their faith with an experiential paradigm understand that we will always live in the tension of what we have seen and what we have yet to see, and that we are always moving on to more in God.  This is an understanding by experience issue.23

I’m not exactly sure how to understand Johnson’s statement, “Throughout eternity the Kingdom will be expanding…”, but the phrases “we have access to things right now that I had always thought inaccessible” and “we are always moving on to more in God” indicate, in context, that some of the not yet is for now.

But, I concede, this does not unequivocally prove that Johnson intends to teach an eternally divine Jesus with a temporally non-divine Jesus simultaneously.  However, such a teaching is not without precedent within hyper-charismaticism.  

The Two Realms of the Manifested Son of God

The late Bill Britton, a Manifest Sons of God (MSoG) teacher, has implicitly taught this in his booklet Tent to Temple (and other works) in a subsection titled “A Man Living In Two Worlds”.  In the following, please note that Britton is referencing the KJV/NKJV of John 3:13 that includes a clause at the end not found in most modern Bible versions – No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven (NKJV):24

Jesus told Nicodemus a very strange thing in John 3:13.  He said that He was living in heaven at the same time he was living on earth.  It was too much for Nicodemus to comprehend, as well as for many of God’s people today.  But it was true.  Hebrews 10:20 tells us that the Veil that separated heaven and earth was His flesh.

One side of the Veil faced the sanctuary with its candlestick and the priests who ministered daily.  This was his earthly existence, living under a skin covering.  But the other side of the same veil faced the Holy of Holies and the Skekinah Presence of His Father.  So he could say “I do only those things I see my Father do – I say only those things that please Him”.  He lived on the earth where men could see him, in an earth body.  But in that body He also walked continually in a heavenly place on the other side of the veil.  And I see a people who live in “tent” bodies which have been redeemed from the sense realm, a people who walk victoriously because they walk in the spirit.  Jesus showed us the way.25

Ignoring the fact that Britton has taken Hebrews 10:20 way out of context and John 3:13 beyond proper exegesis, the above quote indicates the very thing I’m illustrating that Johnson may intend.  That is, Johnson’s quotes above are not incongruent with manifest sons of God (MSoG) doctrine.  I’m not stating definitively that Bill Johnson actually teaches or believes Britton’s exact statement; I’m just providing it as a possible explanation.

Yet, the Facebook quote above from August 11, 2012 fits the basic thrust of Britton’s statement quite nicely – as exemplified by the title of this subsection as “A Man Living In Two Words”.  Specifically, the Johnson statement “His limitations were in His humanity” [He was non-divine temporally on ‘this side of the veil’], “not His divinity” [He had full divinity in the eternal realm, on ‘the other side of the veil’] can align with Britton, especially when we add Johnson’s claims that Jesus is “eternally God” and “[b]ut He was also man”.

Johnson also alludes to something akin to Britton’s teaching above in his book The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind in a chapter titled “Becoming the Dwelling Place of God”:

…We are again becoming the dwelling place of God that was promised in the Bible.  [ED: Holy Spirit indwelt Christians throughout the years weren’t?]  We have hungered for more, prayed for more, and now we are receiving unprecedented insight into our privileges and responsibilities in the Kingdom of God.  These insights aren’t just being pondered; people are acting on them, and more and more, God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.26

This chapter is describing the Christian in “tent” bodies (not that this idea by itself is unscriptural), with an allusion to the not yet in the already.  Johnson claims that Genesis 28:10-19, Jacob’s dream, with the ladder of angels ascending and descending, is the OT precursor to the above (Johnson takes this out of context to ‘prove’ his point, not surprisingly).  He continues in this vein for a while, then discusses Jesus, after first quoting John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth:27

Dwelt in this verse means “to tabernacle.”  Jesus tabernacled among us – He was the House of God made flesh – the place where God lived.  He was the initial fulfillment of the prophetic picture in Genesis 28…28

There is a New Testament reference to Genesis 28:12 as Jesus being the one whom angels had ascended and descended upon in John 1:51, thus identifying Jesus as the one, unique Redeemer.

The fulfillment of the House of God began with Jesus.  He was the House of God on earth.  But this concept did not stop with Him – far from it…your conversion was not God’s ultimate intent for you.  It was His initial intent that set you up for the ultimate fulfillment, which is that you be filled with His fullness, living the normal Christian lifestyle as defined by what takes place in heaven29

For Johnson, “living the normal Christian life” means doing supernatural works in virtue of the anointing.  And, of course, this is what he means by Jesus being the “House of God made flesh”.30  Overlooking the fact that, from an orthodox Christian perspective, we cannot equate Christians as a “House of God” (via the indwelt Holy Spirit) to Jesus as the “House of God” (as He is the unique Word made flesh, with His divine nature in hypostatic union with His human), is this a veiled version of manifest sons of God (MSoG) doctrine?  I think so.

To assist in fully comprehending the unorthodox doctrine of MSoG, here’s occultist and New Ager Alice A. Bailey, as MSoG has a direct parallel with occult doctrine (the occult uses this very name).  The second quote provides the key to understanding Bill Johnson’s “eternally God” statements in conjunction with his temporally non-divine Jesus.  “Master” in the third selection is another name for a fully manifested son of God:

He [Christ] thereby liberated us from the form side of life, of religion and matter, and demonstrated to us the possibility of being in the world and yet not of the world, living as souls, released from the trammels and limitations of the flesh, while yet walking on earth.31 

…We are also preparing for expansions of consciousness which will enable us to live in two realms at once – the life which must be lived on earth and the life which we can live in the kingdom of God [ED: kingdom of God = eternal realm]…32 

If he chooses to take a physical vehicle [ED: body]… the Master will ‘function from the above to the below’ and not (as is the case today with all disciples, though naturally not with the Masters) on ‘the below towards the above’…33

The first Bailey quote is similar to the Britton passage (“redeemed from the sense realm”), while portions of this first quote align with the “eternally God” yet temporally non-divine Jesus in some of the above Johnson quotes (Bailey’s “being in the world and yet not of the world…while walking on earth”).  However, it’s the second one that quite adequately explains Bill Johnson’s “eternally God” with a non-divine earthly Jesus, while also being congruent with the Britton quote.  And here’s a Facebook comment of Bill Johnson from May 12, 2012, which sounds similar to the third Bailey quote, and two more quotes from other Johnson works, which read like a bit of all three:

The most consistent way to display the kingdom of God is through the renewed mind. It is much more than thinking right thoughts. It is how we think – from what perspective. Done correctly, we “reason” from heaven toward earth. [Bill Johnson, Facebook, May 12, 2012; emphasis added]               

…He wants you to see reality from God’s perspective, to learn to live from His world toward the visible world34 

…That which is unseen can be realized only through repentance [ED: contemplative prayer, aka “experiencing His presence”].  It was as though He said, ‘If you don’t change the way you perceive things, you’ll live your whole life thinking what you see in the natural is the superior reality35

However, for more explicit MSoG teaching we have the following, in which Johnson claims that the glorified Jesus Christ of Revelation 1:14-15 is the model for which the believer is to aim while here on earth.36  Note how he takes 1 John 4:17 out of context (as He is, so are we in the world) – just as Alice Bailey does in her works to promote MSoG:37

…[W]hy didn’t the Father send Him [Holy Spirit] until Jesus was glorified?  Because without Jesus in His glorified state there was no heavenly model of what we were to become! As a sculptor looks at a model and fashions the clay into its likeness, so the Holy Spirit looks to the glorified Son and shapes us into His image. As He is, so are we in the world.38

To summarize this section: Keeping in mind Johnson’s teaching on the anointing, which indicates a temporally, earthly non-divine Jesus, who is only ‘linked’ to the divine via the anointing, we can systematize this doctrine with Johnson’s other statements that Jesus Christ is “eternally God” by understanding Jesus living in two different realms, the temporal and the eternal, simultaneously.  That is, there is a temporally non-divine Jesus concurrent with an eternally divine Jesus.  This is not unlike Manifest Sons of God doctrine, and Johnson looks to be explicating a somewhat veiled MSoG at some times, while teaching it more explicitly at others.

Overcoming Some Objections

Before concluding, there other statements of Bill Johnson that are less strongly asserting divested divinity (notwithstanding Johnson’s prevalent teaching on the anointing), while seemingly more strongly implying that the Word retained His divine attributes, yet chose not to exercise them.  Following are two.  We will focus on the bolded portions:

Jesus was (and is) God.  Eternally God.  That never changed.  But he chose to live with self imposed [sic] restriction while living on earth in the flesh – as a man.  In doing so He defeated sin, temptation, the powers of darkness as a man.  We inherit His victory – it was for us.  He never sinned!” [Facebook 3/21/2011] 

…Everything He did in His life and ministry He did as man who, though He was fully God, had set aside the privileges of His divinity in order to show us a model of the kind of life He would make available to each of us through His death, resurrection, and ascension…39

The first of these is not too dissimilar from the quotes in the very first part of this article; however, the “self imposed [sic] restriction” [should be “self-imposed”] part can be read such that Jesus had continually restricted Himself from utilizing the divine attributes He retained, throughout His earthly ministry.   But, on the other hand, this can also be read that the Word’s limitation came just before the Incarnation in the form of a divestment, or partial divestment, of His divine attributes – or at least those divine attributes providing supernatural power – resulting in this “restriction”.

One unanswered question (at least explicitly unanswered) is just what the term divinity means.  From the above, it’s clear that possessing divinity entails an ability to perform the supernatural, since when it is “emptied” or “laid aside” the result is a complete inability to act supernaturally.  This implies no longer possessing the means by which to perform supernatural acts, rather than a continual, conscious self-limitation.  For, if Johnson means that the Word continued to possess supernatural powers, yet consciously chose not to use these powers, instead relying on the Holy Spirit, then words such as “no ability,” “couldn’t,” and “NO supernatural capabilities” would not be used.  Moreover, when “Jesus, the man” is ‘linked’ “to the divine40, i.e. the anointing, Jesus has supernatural capabilities via this linking “to the divine”.  Therefore, divine, is another form of divinity, both entailing the ability to perform the supernatural.

Also, we can construe that divinity and deity are interchangeable, as the term deity was part of the question posed to Johnson in the above tweet, and the term divinity is used in Johnson’s other quotes in a similar manner.  So, in Johnson’s dictionary, to empty of divinity does not result in ceasing to exist.  So, to recap, to empty or lay aside divinity/deity entails a continued existence but at the expense of any and all supernatural capabilities, in Johnson’s theology.

In the second quote above, if we take the bolded section just as it is (and the quote in isolation from all other Johnson material), we could understand this to be stating that the Word retained all divine attributes when He became flesh, yet refrained from using His divine “privileges”, i.e., supernatural powers.  But, on the other hand, this can be understood such that He was formerly God, that is, prior to becoming man, He was fully God; however, upon becoming a man He was no longer God having – to use one of the earlier quotes – “emptied Himself of divinity” when He entered the temporal realm.  Alternatively, we can interpret this statement such that “He was fully God” means He was “eternally God” (fully God) concurrent with the time He was temporally non-divine “as a man”.  The latter understanding is congruent with our analysis of the rest of Bill Johnson’s statements.

In each of the above quotes, it must be conceded that to apply the understanding that the Word retained possession of His divine attributes during the Incarnation is directly opposed to Johnson’s teaching on the anointing, which clearly reveals a non-divine earthly Jesus.  Therefore, to accept the interpretation that Johnson is stating that the Word retained all His divine attributes yet chose not to exercise them during His earthly ministry (while ignoring the “emptied Himself of divinity” statements) renders Johnson’s Christology totally incoherent, self-contradictory.

One other objection noted is based on a passage in When Heaven Invades Earth, which appears to affirm that Jesus was indeed Christ/Messiah at the virgin birth:

For hundreds of years the prophets spoke of the Messiah’s coming.  They gave over 300 specific details describing Him.  Jesus fulfilled them all!  The angels also gave witness to His divinity when they came with a message for the shepherds: ‘For there is born to you this day…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Nature itself testified to the arrival of the Messiah with the star that led the wise men…’41

Besides the fact that Johnson above, in His Christ = the anointing teaching, illustrates that anyone who receives the anointing is an “Anointed One” or “Messiah”, the above passage does not necessarily affirm that Jesus is the Messiah/Christ at the virgin birth.  The interpretive key is the remainder of the paragraph:

…Yet with this one statement, ‘Unless I do the works of the Father, do not believe me,’* Jesus put the credibility of all these messengers on the line.  Their ministries would have been in vain without one more ingredient to confirm who He really was.  That ingredient was miracles.42

Do we imagine that the archangel Gabriel was pacing the heavens hoping that Jesus would perform miracles to prove He really was the Messiah, the Christ, and thus prove Gabriel to be true?  Certainly not.  The asterisk (*) above refers to John 10:37 in a footnote in the original quoted passage.  In this Scripture Jesus Christ was not making some sort of all-inclusive statement putting “the credibility of all these messengers on the line;” He was addressing the unbelieving Jews.  Johnson is mixing Biblical contexts here.  However, note that in John 10:37 Jesus is pointing out that they should believe He is the Son of God by virtue of the works/miracles He performs.  Jesus’ point is that, though they do not believe He is Who He claims to be, they should believe by the miracles.  Johnson proof-texts this to remain consistent with the rest of his teachings that Jesus was not really the Christ/Messiah until His Baptism after which, of course, He performed the miraculous works having been ‘enabled’ by the anointing mentioned earlier in this same book.

So, it would seem the above paragraph can be perfectly harmonized with the rest of Johnson’s teachings.  To state another way: With Johnson’s assertion that “The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit”,43  in its original context (see above), he makes it apparent that baptism is the point at which Jesus receives the title/name of Christ (Messiah).  Consequently, according to this teaching, it follows that since Jesus did not have the name of Christ, and, hence was not yet Christ before baptism, the angels’ and the other messengers’ words were contingent upon Jesus ‘proving Himself’ by performing the miraculous, thereby showing Him to be an “Anointed One” – for anyone receiving the Christ anointing is an anointed one.  Moreover, Johnson’s quote is not necessarily proclaiming Jesus’ divinity (“the angels gave witness to His divinity”) since he asserted that it was the anointing that linked “Jesus, the man, to the divine.”44  Jesus’ divinity was only by virtue of the yet future anointing.

But what about the specific language in the first part of the paragraph above, especially the use of Luke 2:11, that states, in effect, that the Messiah had come at that time, at the virgin birth?  To answer this, I’ll quote New Ager/occultist Levi Dowling:

…When we say ‘Jesus, the Christ’ we refer to the man and to his office; just as we do when we say…Lincoln, the President…Lincoln was not always President, and Jesus was not always Christ45

If one has this in mind, one could use Luke 2:11 – “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” [NIV 1984] – to mean that Jesus is the future Christ and NOT that Jesus was born as the Christ.  This would be similar to stating, “President Lincoln was born On February 12, 1809.” Certainly, Lincoln wasn’t born President, for he was elected to the office of the President later.

Once again, if one does not accept the above explanation, then one is left with self-contradictory teaching.  However, I submit that Johnson’s penchant for redefining terms and concepts, as well as his overt duplicity in doing so at times (whether he borrowed any of this from someone else or not matters little), indicates he could be deceptive in other areas (as he has been in the account of the Roberts Liardon library acquisition); that is, Johnson could throw in the odd orthodox statement now and again in order to purposefully confuse those who see his main teachings as unorthodox.

Concluding Remarks

As this article illustrates, by using Bill Johnson’s own words, he does in fact deny the full deity/divinity of Jesus Christ while He was on earth in his teaching on the anointing.  This is not a “hurtful rumor”, as he states in his tweet; it’s an established fact as evidenced by Bill Johnson’s own clear (and sometimes unclear) teachings.  Is this being uncharitable towards Bill Johnson?  Scripture does not indicate we should be charitable toward false teachers:

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18, NKJV)

It is Bill Johnson who is causing division with his teachings that run contrary to orthodox Christianity.  Having identified this, we are to avoid him.  The Apostle Paul states quite clearly, “such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ”.  Anyone who consistently denies the divinity of Jesus Christ in any form or fashion, as Johnson clearly does in his Christology, is an enemy of the Cross of Christ and an enemy of the Christian faith.

1 Bill Johnson “Healing and the Kingdom” in Bill Johnson, Randy Clark. The Essential Guide to Healing: Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick, © 2011 by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark, Chosen Books (a division of Baker Publishing Group), Bloomington, MN, p 125.  Emphasis added.  Each chapter is authored by either Bill Johnson or Randy Clark.
2 Bill Johnson “Healing and the Authority of the Believer” in Johnson, Clark Essential Guide to Healing, pp 132-133.  Emphasis added.
3 Bill Johnson Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence. 2007; Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL, p 77.  Underscore added.
4 Johnson Face to Face, pp 21-22, 58, 77-82, 100-102
5 Bill Johnson When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. 2003, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA, p 80; Johnson Face to Face, p 22
6 Johnson, Face to Face, pp 21-22
7 Johnson, Face to Face, pp 79, 109
8 Johnson, Face to Face, pp 21-22. Bold added.
9 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 79
10 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 79.  Emphasis added.
11 Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology, 1994, Inter-Varsity, Grand Rapids, MI, pp 233-38, 543-554, 624-33; Louis Berkhof Systematic Theology, 1941, 4th revised and enlarged ed, 1991, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, pp 91-5, 312-13, 356-66
12 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 79.  Emphasis added.
13 Johnson, Face to Face, p 109. Italics in original; bold added.
14 Johnson, Face to Face, p 77.  Bold added.
15 Levi 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. Italics in original; bold added.
16 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 79.  Emphasis added.
17 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 79.  Italics in original.
18 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 80.  Bold added.
19 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 81
20 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 29
21 Bill Johnson The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles, 2005, Destiny Image: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA, p 50. Bold added.
22 Lewis Sperry Chafer Systematic Theology, 1948, 1976 Dallas Theological Seminary (1993), Kregel, Grand Rapids, MI, Vol. VII, pp 141-42.  Emphasis added.
23 Bill Johnson Dreaming with God: Secrets to Redesigning Your World through God’s Creative Flow, 2006, Destiny Image: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA, pp 64-65.  Italics in original; bold added for emphasis.
24 This clause will be the subject of a future article here on CrossWise.
25 Bill Britton From Tent to Temple, nd, Bill Britton (no publisher listed), Springfield, MO, pp 15-16.  All as per original except bold, which is added for emphasis.
26 Johnson Supernatural Power, pp 53-54.  Bold added.
27 Johnson Supernatural Power, pp 54-57
28 Johnson Supernatural Power, p 57. Italics in original.
29 Johnson Supernatural Power, p 57.  Bold added.
30 I’ve argued elsewhere that Bill Johnson is teaching that Jesus is really the Word of Faith (WoF) “rhema” word ‘made flesh’, aka the “present truth” word made flesh, in the following: < http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/open-challenge-to-fans-and-critics-of-bill-johnsonbethel-church/ >.  This is also is consistent with the Gnostic/New Age doctrine of divine spark or divine seed within each person waiting to be awakened.
31 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, p 187.  Emphasis added.
32 Bailey Bethlehem to Calvary, p 51.   Emphasis added.
33 Alice A. Bailey The Rays and the Initiations. 1960 Lucis, NY, 2nd paperback ed, 1976, Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; p 699. Emphasis added.
34 Johnson Supernatural Power, p 45.  Italics in original; bold added.
35 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 38.  Italics in original; bold added.
36 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 145
37  Alice A. Bailey The Reappearance of the Christ, 1948, Lucis Trust, 9th printing 1979 (4th Paperback ed.); Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, NY, p 145; Bailey Bethlehem to Calvary, p 110.
38 Johnson Heaven Invades, p 145.  Italics in original; bold added.
39 Johnson, Face to Face, p 23
40 Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79
41 Johnson, Heaven Invades p 97
42 Johnson, Heaven Invades p 97.  Italics in original.
43 Johnson, Heaven Invades p 79
44 Johnson, Heaven Invades p 79
45 Dowling, Aquarian Gospel, p 8.  Emphasis added.

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532 Responses to Assessing Bill Johnson’s “Eternally God” Declarations Amidst His Other Christological Statements

  1. Maria Billingsley says:

    One BIG thing Bill does not understand is that a man can not forgive sin. Jesus forgave sin on earth.
    “Your sins are forgiven you” Matthew 9:2. Case closed.

  2. Craig says:

    Maria,

    Well, Bill Johnson wants his theological cake and eat it too. But, we have to bear in mind that Johnson is not interested in Biblical orthodoxy. He’s interested in Gnostic/New Age teaching (the anointing, etc.) and manipulating Scripture such that it sounds close enough to pass for Biblical orthodoxy, yet is actually teaching New Age/occult doctrine.

    However, if you were to ask Johnson, I’m quite sure he would affirm that Jesus did forgive sin.

  3. Craig says:

    I just added a some verbiage and a quote for clarity. It’s in the form a sentence inserted at the second full paragraph under “The Christ Anointing” section and a brief Johnson quote below that, identified at footnote 8:

    This is not speaking of the Holy Spirit indwelling; this is in addition to the indwelling:

    …Certainly this is not talking about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that was already in Jesus’s life. This was the inauguration of Jesus’s ministry, and the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Him as a mantle of power and authority for that specific purpose.[8]

    Now I’ve got to renumber the footnotes.

  4. Arwen4CJ says:

    If Johnson is into gnostic/New Age teachings, which seems to be the case (even if they are “Christian” versions of these things), then might Johnson be dancing around the issue by answering “truthfully” according to that theology.

    For instance, might Johnson mean something else by “Jesus Christ?” Something that might imply that we can all be gods because of the Christ anointing that we receive? Thus, Johnson could still make a statement affirming Jesus’ deity (but also be stating that we too are deity).

    I know that that is stretching things by quite a bit. I’m just speculating here.

    Johnson’s answers, although they seem somewhat solid by seemingly affirming Jesus’ deity, there is still a lot of play room here. Because he can redefine terms, as we have seen him do, then how can we really trust a one sentence answer to mean what we mean?

    What we really need from Johnson is a position paper in which he talks about the Word made flesh — who the Word is, etc. Then he needs to wrestle with his seemingly contradictory statements and make a clear, several paragraph or page answer as to how he is defining terms, how he can seem so contradictory, and why he allows people to speak at his church and church events who have other views.

    If he can write a clear and coherent position paper expressing his christology, then that would really help him.

    Of course anyone could write one of those and lie about it, too…..but at least we would have his “official” position that he wanted people to think that he held out there, and if it is orthodox, then we will have to accept that.

    But because he only answers these questions in short facebook comments or tweets, he doesn’t take the time to edit his books or anything, and he provides no clarification in position papers, the only thing that we can conclude is that he is okay with heretical christology, and he doesn’t mind if his followers get confused.

  5. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Exactly! You are one of the few who actually ‘gets’ this. Yes, Johnson continually dances around orthodox Christianity. He is exemplifying the goal as set forth by Alice Bailey:

    The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished…The church must show a wide tolerance…The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance [ED: occult/esoteric meaning]. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.

    And, no, you are not stretching things with, For instance, might Johnson mean something else by “Jesus Christ?” Something that might imply that we can all be gods because of the Christ anointing that we receive? Thus, Johnson could still make a statement affirming Jesus’ deity (but also be stating that we too are deity).

    This is the basis of the divine spark or divine seed teaching that I’m convinced he’s teaching (see here). Since all have a ‘divine within’, according to Gnostic/New Age teaching, just waiting to be awakened in order to actualize ‘godhood’, Johnson’s “the anointing” teaching is the basis for it.

    Now if you can just convince the folks on the Facebook “Bethel Church and Christianity” site, who are speaking against Johnson’s teachings yet are not fully comprehending its occult basis.

  6. Craig says:

    I recall one of the very first comments on Crosswise was by an individual who made the explicit claim, “I agree with Bill Johnson’s Christology 100%”. By this she meant that she agreed that Jesus didn’t become Christ until baptism. She used the same basic analogy that Levi Dowling used (comparing Jesus to Lincoln):

    Craig, I’m not sure what you do for a living, but for the moment I’m going to designate you a “software engineer”.

    If, when you were born, a prophet had come to your house and said to your parents, “He is a software engineer” – would that have been the truth?

    [Now Software Engineer would really be a stretch as an occupation for me!]

    To be sure I understand her words she followed up her statement:

    Craig it does beg the question… how exactly does God grow in wisdom? How does He grow in stature? How does God grow in favor with God?

    She totally misunderstands the hypostatic union. And I’m pretty confident she is not the only one.

  7. Ballerina says:

    Craig you hit the nail on the head with that Facebook group “Bethel Church and Christianity”! And it seems ANY sort of New Age exposes’ that are brought up on that page, they don’t wanna hear it. Although I will say I am surprised recently where there was a discussion on Sozo and the theosophic roots of it were brought up in a comment. But other than that, Johnson is ALL they seem to focus on and not really the roots of how far this goes into the New Age/occult just like you say. That is one reason I am very leery of professed “discernment” blogs and Facebook pages that ONLY expose one thing, cause the deception is extremely broad and all connected. God bless you Craig and I am grateful that you are a true watchman!

  8. Craig says:

    Ballerina,

    Thanks for your comment. I do appreciate it. I used to discuss BJ with a few of those on ‘Bethel Church and Christianity’ (there are a good many comments on Crosswise from these same individuals), but they parted company when I did the BJ “New Age Christ?” series. I’m not on Facebook, so I don’t interact at all over there. It’s truly a shame because, though I truly believe they are trying to help those caught up in Bethel, etc., it seems they fear that putting any sort of ‘label’ on the teaching will scare them away. What is wrong with calling it what it is?

    I don’t particularly like calling someone a heretic because it seems to make a judgment, though calling a teaching heresy – when it plainly is – I have no problem with. (see Are You Heretic? post.)

    Since I can see some of the BC&C articles, I admit that I scratch my head when it’s pointed out (quite a few times) that Beni Johnson seems to be into New Age things. So, where’s the disconnect?

    The belief is that Johnson’s “eternally God” statement goes towards affirming the hypostatic union; however, Johnson’s teaching on the anointing (and other hyper-charismatics who teach this) effectively denies it in more ways than one; e.g., “the anointing linked Jesus, the man, to the divine” which implies Jesus Himself is NOT divine.

  9. Ballerina says:

    I came out from under that teaching (here is part of my testimony: https://sites.google.com/site/reflectionsfromthewall/videos/follow-me/blog/mytrainridethroughthecharismaticchurchpart2) and of course when I saw the light and spoke out against Johnson I was accused of being a cessationist.

    During those discipleship classes they really pumped us up into thinking we could have all the powers that Jesus had/has. That whole “Jesus was just a man submitted to God” mind set had a draw to it, can’t explain how but being as Biblically illiterate as I was then…it seemed logical to my then undiscerning mind. When you’re going through it, or bewitched by it rather, it seems almost like a “Whoa I never looked at it like that.” It’s so dangerous and so seducing.

  10. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Do the people on the Facebook “Bethel Church and Christianity” site, have a website, or do they just use Facebook?

    I don’t know if I want to engage in such discussions on Facebook, as I prefer to talk about these things more anonymously. However, if there is a main contact person, or if there is a blog that they run that is not through Facebook, I would gladly talk to them. :)

    As for why some of them don’t want to use the term “New Age” in connection with Bill Johnson or Bethel….I think it is because the connections are not always easy to spot. Hmmmm….maybe they would prefer not using the term “New Age” at all, but would still be willing to talk about the actual theological issues. For instance, the divine seed/spark thing and the spiritual DNA stuff….maybe they would be fine if each one could be traced back to the occult.

    The connections are hard to spot, and it does take a lot of digging to get there. On the surface it sounds far-fetched that Bill Johnson or these other teachers would be teaching New Age doctrine, as that seems very conspiracy theory oriented.

    And you have done a lot of digging into the research of these things, which is great.

    We all agree that Bill Johnson’s teaching is false and not of God. I’m guessing that most of the people on the Facebook page, or at least some of them, would admit that some of the manifestations happening at Bethel could be demonic in origin, and that the people at the church might be engaging in occult spiritual activity with their soaking and so forth.

    So now they just need to see that not only is the doctrine off, but it also has parallel gnostic/New Age/occult counterparts. If they can see that some of the doctrine has occult origins, then they will see how dangerous it is…as if a false gospel and a false Jesus isn’t bad enough.

    Ballerina,
    I just read your testimony on your blog, and wow. I attended a couple Vineyard churches for awhile, although my experience was different from yours. Some of the churches I was in were pretty theologically solid, while others were going off.

    I ended up leaving the one in my hometown, but things there were not nearly as bad as what you faced. Wow. :(

    That’s the weird thing about the Vineyard — there are some churches that are pretty solid, and some that are way off the deep end, and many churches somewhere in between. I think their biggest problem is that they leave too much open, too much for individual pastors and congregations to do, which means that there is a lot of potential for going off the deep end.

    As a whole it is too wishy-washy. This seems to be something they do on purpose — because they don’t want to close off to many people. The problem with this kind of behavior is that it won’t condemn much of anything, and it allows false theology to flourish.

    The stuff that you described in your experience should never have happened :( And what you talked about with sermons being interrupted and such…wow….that goes against what Paul was talking about with order in 1 Corinthians. At the Vineyard churches I was in, (except for the one in my hometown, under the new pastor) such things would never have been allowed to happen.

    I’m disgusted by how the people at this church treated you and by what happened :(

  11. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    My comment was not meant to be taken literally re: Facebook BC&C. But, if you scroll down to June 4 you’ll see the same BJ tweet as in this article, which then contains a couple links to the BeyondGrace blog. This is where those over there were convinced that Johnson is teaching a functional(ist) kenosis (that Jesus retained all divine attributes, yet chose to rely on the Holy Spirit for all miracle workings). I had shown that this view is NOT Biblical in a number of ways (John 2:11 {He revealed HIS glory}, John 5:21, 24-25 {providing eternal life}, John 2:19-22/John 10:17-18 {raising Himself from the dead – along with the rest of the Trinity}) yet they still claim it’s Scriptural.

    You wrote:

    As for why some of them don’t want to use the term “New Age” in connection with Bill Johnson or Bethel….I think it is because the connections are not always easy to spot. Hmmmm….maybe they would prefer not using the term “New Age” at all, but would still be willing to talk about the actual theological issues. For instance, the divine seed/spark thing and the spiritual DNA stuff….maybe they would be fine if each one could be traced back to the occult.

    The connections are hard to spot, and it does take a lot of digging to get there. On the surface it sounds far-fetched that Bill Johnson or these other teachers would be teaching New Age doctrine, as that seems very conspiracy theory oriented.

    I can understand this to a point. But, all I ask is that one really look at the evidence I present and evaluate it that way. Check my references/footnotes. Compare the texts as I’ve done. If one is still not convinced, challenge me point to point. I still may not convince the individual, but I’d feel better that at least the material was engaged, rather than dismissed out of hand.

    But, then again, it comes down to not wanting to ‘label’ it, which makes no sense to me.

    You wrote:

    We all agree that Bill Johnson’s teaching is false and not of God. I’m guessing that most of the people on the Facebook page, or at least some of them, would admit that some of the manifestations happening at Bethel could be demonic in origin, and that the people at the church might be engaging in occult spiritual activity with their soaking and so forth.

    That’s why I don’t understand the disconnect. They DO admit that some of the manifestations may be of demonic origin; so, why would it be so difficult to believe that Johnson’s Christology could be of the occult – that it could be antichrist? By claiming that Johnson’s Christology is orthodox, they’ve only strengthened the position of the Bethel/Bill Johnson fan. If they think he’s got Christ correct would the rest matter? OTOH, if it can be adequately shown that Johnson is promoting a faulty Christology, wouldn’t it follow that he’s teaching “another Jesus”? There’s a new article on Beyond Grace (and a good one, written by WB McCarty – the one who mostly wrote the first Open Challenge here) about Johnson teaching “a different gospel”. Again, would it be possible that one who is teaching “another gospel” would also teach “another jesus”?

    You wrote:

    So now they just need to see that not only is the doctrine off, but it also has parallel gnostic/New Age/occult counterparts. If they can see that some of the doctrine has occult origins, then they will see how dangerous it is…as if a false gospel and a false Jesus isn’t bad enough…

    Well, I’ll be surprised if it’s ever understood and/or acknowledged.

  12. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    And, I should add: You yourself had challenged a number of things I wrote. I’m certainly not infallible, and don’t claim to be so. In fact, knowing what I know now, given the research I’ve done throughout the nearly 3 years on this blog, there are articles I would have written much differently. But, I do think that in challenging some of my assertions you were able to better see what I was saying, and that you generally started to agree. That’s the purpose of the blog comments – to allow others to comment so that if my writing is unclear it can be clarified OR if I’m wrong on something, it can be noted.

    Another thing, it is known that about 20 years or so ago, the Manifest Sons of God doctrine was boldly being taught. Once apologists exposed it, it went underground. Now it’s more covert. One must really dig to find this stuff.

  13. Craig says:

    I would REALLY like someone from BC&C to fully engage the material in this article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/open-challenge-to-fans-and-critics-of-bill-johnsonbethel-church/

    I’m absolutely, 100% convinced Johnson is teaching the divine spark/seed concept, with Jesus Himself merely a man who then had the spark/seed/”inner Christ” awakened. Frankly, the whole “He emptied Himself of divinity” thing is a smokescreen – he can’t explicitly teach that Jesus was a mere man, with no divine pre-existence. He must teach something about the Incarnation, and he must make it sound at least somewhat orthodox. So, it’s a concession in order to appear orthodox. Otherwise he’d be exposed much more easily.

  14. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thanks. I think I will stay out of engaging those on the Facebook page. I understand now that this is something that you and they have argued about. I tend to think that the importance here shouldn’t be on trying to figure out what kind of kenosis doctrine Johnson teaches, but rather what he allows people to believe, and the actual result of his teachings.

    Whatever doctrine Johnson is trying to actually teach, he is doing very little to persuade followers or dissenters that he holds to any specific view. He says just enough about both kinds of kenosis that a person can come to the conclusion that he holds either view. This doesn’t seem to bother him; only to beef up his followers. Of his fans, those who hold to ontological kenosis will view him as supporting that, and those who hold to functional will view him as supporting that. Those of us who challenge his views can find support for both viewpoints.

    Johnson has never tried to correct anyone, has never edited his previous writings, and in general allows people to think whatever they want of Jesus. There is no doubt that he teaches contradictory things, and Johnson has not tried to reconcile his views.

    That being said, it is a bit more difficult to get at what he is actually teaching. As you say, I think that the orthodox statements are a smokescreen for the really evil stuff. A person must really, really dig to find these things.

    So yes, let’s all look at these deeper theological issues, such as this divine spark/seed concept. Let’s look at the occult teachings that Bill Johnson and other hyper-charismatics allow. Let’s look at how they teach about spiritual gifts, especially prophecy. Let’s look at Bob Jones’ “finger reading” thing that supposedly tells a follower what kind of five fold ministry they have.

    Let’s look at the doctrine and practices of those that Bill Johnson allows to speak at his church, and his association with the likes of John Crowder,

    If we look at these deeper things, the occult doctrines and teachings should become evident, and then we can more clearly see how Johnson’s Christological doctrine could very easily be occult in nature as well.

    I think that people just don’t want to accuse Johnson of anymore than they are convinced he is guilty of, which I think is a responsible viewpoint. It takes a lot of digging and time to see that Johnson’s doctrine can be traced back to the occult.

    I think you did a good job of showing that the Word Of Faith teaching, like Kenyon and Hagin can be traced to the occult. But perhaps some people missed this link. I didn’t see it the first time that I read your articles either….it does really take engaging in the material through comments and thinking to come to that point. So showing this influence really helps.

    Once a person sees that, then they can see that positive confession, etc. is little different from occult doctrines like co-creating through speaking words out loud, or by having positive thoughts, such as The Law of Attraction. So much of hyper-charismatic thinking and practices can be traced back to the Word of Faith/Positive Confession stuff, including much of what Johnson teaches.

    This is the more obvious occult connection. Once people see this, they will much more easily convinced that Johnson is teaching occult things about Jesus. It’s too hard for people to just go right into Bill Johnson’s Christology and see the occult connection. It just seems like it is too far fetched (at first glance).

    And yes, I have challenged some of the things that you or others have said on here. I think this is healthy for us Christians to do. I really have to be convinced of something before I will agree with a viewpoint, and I really want to understand the issue and what is involved.

    I too would like to see people from the Facebook group respond to the divine spark stuff that Craig posted. More so, I want to see if they agree that there is occult practices that are being allowed in hyper-charismatic settings. If so, then how far back can we trace these occult practices? Can we trace them back to a theology? Do they see positive confession similar to The Law Of Attraction?

  15. just1ofhis says:

    “Another thing, it is known that about 20 years or so ago, the Manifest Sons of God doctrine was boldly being taught. Once apologists exposed it, it went underground. Now it’s more covert. One must really dig to find this stuff.”

    Yes. They don’t call themselves MSoG. They regurgitated and renamed the concept. Now they are the “apostles” of the NAR. You may have to dig around to find the doctrine, but the bad fruits are everywhere.

    The NAR seduces youth with the idea that they are that chosen generation or whatever they call it. But, those NAR “apostles” boast extraordinary things of themselves, don’t they? The one whose church I attended a few times actually publically claimed himself to be, not only an apostle, but one of the 144,000 in the book of Revelation. That sounds MSoG to me.

  16. Ballerina says:

    @Arwen4CJ thank you for the kinds words. The pastor there is actually worse (from the streams I have heard online) the interrupting is all out of control, he doesn’t even hardly preach. He’ll preach like for 5 minutes, get interrupted and then digress to what that person is saying then someone else will have a “word” and then IF he goes back to his original point it’s almost pointless because the whole “sermon” (if that’s what you wanna call it) has been so hijacked. I am so glad I am out of there anymore.

    @Craig, I don’t remember this gnostic’s name, maybe you might (I think it’s starts with an S or maybe C but with an S sound..Seramous or I dunno I can’t remember). But he came out 100 years after Christ and basically coined the “Christ consciousness” theory, at least in HIS perspective, he said when Jesus died that it was really only about the “spirit” He had, not Him (Jesus). And when He died that the spirit stayed and that it should be a goal -if you will- to attain this “spirit”. Have you ever heard of that? Heard of that gnostic? Would that fall into Johnson’s kenois and/or the divine spark/seed concept?

  17. Craig says:

    Ballerina,

    EDITED: That sounds like it could be Cerinthus. I have an article in the works on this.

    But, I’ve not heard/read some of the rest of the stuff you’re mentioning; so, perhaps you’re thinking of someone else?

  18. Ballerina says:

    Craig awesome! I look forward to reading it.

  19. Craig says:

    “…The one whose church I attended a few times actually publically claimed himself to be, not only an apostle, but one of the 144,000 in the book of Revelation. That sounds MSoG to me.”

    Jehovah’s Witnesses make a similar claim – that THEY are the 144,000. The only problem is that there are many more than 144,000 JWs. So, which are which aren’t?

  20. Ballerina says:

    Hmmm, I do believe that’s the name. I heard a teaching on Church History and they mention that man and basically what I just mentioned. I will do some research on it.

  21. Craig says:

    There’s not much known about Cerinthus, but he is mentioned with the Apostle John. John, upon finding Cerinthus in a bath house, ran away exclaiming to run before the bath house were to be destroyed by God because of Cerinthus’ heretical teachings (paraphrase). The dominant philosophical thought was dualism – matter is evil, while spirit is good. With that in mind, it is believed Cerinthus taught that Jesus, since he was by all accounts a man, could not also be the Christ spirit – the two had to be separate. Consequently, the belief was that the Spirit descended upon Jesus at baptism, but left Him before the Cross, as Spirit cannot die. Sound somewhat familiar?

    Cerinthus also taught some strange things about the millennium (Chiliasm), but I don’t plan to write on that aspect except in passing. My focus will be on his Christological beliefs (assumed). It seems he was the first Gnostic, or some say proto-gnostic.

  22. Ballerina says:

    Yes Craig that IS it. “Consequently, the belief was that the Spirit descended upon Jesus at baptism, but left Him before the Cross, as Spirit cannot die” yes that’s what I meant. Would you say in a slight way that that is what Johnson teaches?

  23. Craig says:

    I’ll put it this way: There are some parallels. And it’s not just Johnson, as I believe this a consistent belief in hyper-charismaticism.

    But, look at this Johnson quote used in this article, noting the bolded portion:

    “Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations. He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and then die in the place of mankind for sin. This would be essential in His plan to redeem mankind. The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin)” [When Heaven Invades Earth, Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2003, p. 79].

    If “the anointing” is what provided the power for Johnson’s Jesus, then did “the anointing” leave Johnson’s Jesus before the Cross rendering Him “powerless”?

  24. Ballerina says:

    That sounds very similar to Cerinthus for sure.

  25. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I tend to think that the importance here shouldn’t be on trying to figure out what kind of kenosis doctrine Johnson teaches, but rather what he allows people to believe, and the actual result of his teachings.

    I agree. However, those who claim Johnson is teaching a functional(ist) kenosis are also making the claim that it’s not heresy. However, it clearly is NOT Biblical. Is something that is clearly NOT Biblical (not a matter of interpretation) also heretical? I’d say so. Therefore, even though I truly believe Johnson’s kenosis is the more extreme kind (ontological), it’s the appearance that functional(ist) kenosis is orthodox that is my main contention over against those who think BJ is teaching the functional(ist) type. Otherwise, the BJ supporter will think it’s not any big deal.

    Re: the post on the divine spark – I’m certainly open to another interpretation of the selection cited. If it’s not the Gnostic divine spark/seed concept, then what is it? It’s certainly not Biblical. And I don’t think it any helpful to just fall back on the claim that Johnson is just a “lousy teacher”. I’ve a much different opinion. I think Johnson is VERY clever, and/or the spirits behind him are.

  26. Craig says:

    This Crosswise link was posted at BC&C, and I see that “Made New” posted the following comment:

    “Tim Heil this page won’t address the issues, look and read the comments on that link you posted above “Assessing Bill Johnson’s Eternal God”..etc…Johnson IS a gnostic New Ager, his teachings VERY much parallel those of Blavasky and Bailey.”

  27. IWTT says:

    As I read the scripture below I realize the only thing that Christ did was change forms. He became a man. It doesn’t say He gave up the equality of the nature. It just says He didn’t use it to HIS advantage, but would be obedient, even to the act of death. He simply changed forms to that of a bond-servant…

    Philippians 2:5-8
    New International Version (NIV)

    5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

    6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!

    Footnotes:
    Philippians 2:6 Or in the form of
    Philippians 2:7 Or the form

  28. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Exactly. And this is why orthodox Christianity states that the Incarnation was an addition – of a human nature – not a subtraction of anything. While there was some obvious limitations in becoming incarnate, such as the impossibility of being omnipresent since man is limited in physical location (can’t be in more than one place at a time), this does not mean the divine attributes were reduced in any way. Just like the Holy Spirit is not confined inside the individual Christian, and is, in fact, the same Holy Spirit who has indwelt and is indwelling all true Christians yet remains omnipresent, Jesus’ divine nature is not confined to his theanthropic (theos = God; anthropos = man) Person. He is still omnipresent, just like the rest of the Godhead [EDITED; added the following:], yet the theandric (theanthropic) Person of Jesus Christ was not omnipresent. That is, the logos (Word) continued as the same divine Second Person of the Trinity as he had always and will always; however, the theanthropos was not and could not be omnipresent, as physical human bodies are limited in physical location.

  29. Ballerina says:

    I am Made New, I referenced this comment thread hoping they would see your quote “I would REALLY like someone from BC&C to fully engage the material in this article:
    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/open-challenge-to-fans-and-critics-of-bill-johnsonbethel-church/” I didn’t do it to cause a stir. I am sincere in my motive for them to see the truth of the occult roots of this. But oh well, I digress. They avoided it due to me using an “alias” as opposed to my real name (when in fact I really hardly use my real name except on my website). Anyway…I digress. :-/

  30. Craig says:

    Ballerina,

    Well, thanks for the effort. It would be good if I can get someone from BC&C to explain Johnson’s words in that article from a Biblical perspective. I can’t see how the selected text can fit into Christian orthodoxy. One has to really concentrate to see how Johnson is using the term “Word” all the way through.

  31. Carolyn says:

    This is one of those foundational truths we talk about sometimes, the fork in the road where you either believe in the original truth or a new, more enticing, exciting one. Of course functional kenosis allows some compromise and straddling of the broad road and the narrow road but a compromised gospel is no gospel at all.

    Are we trusting in another Jesus, one who is not fully the sinless lamb of God, one who has his divinity divided somewhere between heaven and earth? Someone we can only follow as a model for living rather than believe and trust for salvation?

    Where is the power? In the original Jesus, the power is in the cross from beginning to end, on a narrow pathway strewn with testings and trials of our faith. This is the power that Jesus warned that we could be diverted from by pleasures, the deceitfulness of wealth and the cares of this life. This is the power that is hidden from the greater part of the apostate church because they want a Jesus who pleases them. The new Jesus gives them power…power to do miracles, power to make money, power to find purpose, but they now find themselves off the narrow path and struggling with condemnation, guilt, sin, lust, greed, etc.

    The focus is on what we do. With the original Jesus, the focus is on what he did. The lie? That’s easy. Jesus was just a man. The truth?…Jesus was God come in the flesh. That’s a message that has no compromise and if you mess with that simple, profound message, you are messing with the only truth that can set you free. That is God’s Truth.

    Satan is not attacking our greater works…he is attacking our faith in Christ’s finished work. As long as he can lead us away from the faith of the Son of God, he can lead us away from the Word.

    And voila…we find ourselves following another gospel, another Spirit and another Jesus.

  32. Arwen4CJ says:

    Ballerina,

    It doesn’t surprise me that your pastor is worse now. It seems that the further pastors get into the false, the more they start teaching it. However, as unbiblical as they are being at that church, I think that they could get kicked out of the Vineyard…of course the right people in high authority positions would have to be informed, and they would have to investigate it, etc. Of course not all Vineyard high ups would disagree with what is going on in the church, so that’s why I said the right people would have to hear of it.

    Gnostic ideas weren’t just put out by one person….rather, it was a movement that was occurring. There were gnostic-like beliefs before there was Christianity, actually. It’s just that when Christianity became better known, these gnostic-like people added Christian sounding terms and tried to incorporate it in, and then turned it “Christian.”

    Those who embraced this “version” of Christianity probably all taught similar things, as we see with the hyper-charismatics. However, one person might have been one of the more prolific writers or whatnot.

    So as far as I know, all gnostics taught that matter was evil and spirit was good. Some taught that this meant that Jesus couldn’t have had a real body made of flesh, because flesh is made of matter, and thus it is evil. They taught that Jesus had a secret gospel that only a few special people who had divine sparks could understand. Salvation was by receiving this special knowledge. The occult and other New Age beliefs borrowed from gnosticism, or their understanding of it….with the help of demonic spirits, I’m sure.

    Oh…interesting about the guy you and Craig were discussing. So instead of taking the approach that Jesus wasn’t really made of flesh, he took the other viewpoint…..suggesting that Jesus couldn’t have been divine, and that He needed to be anointed by “the Christ spirit.” Very interesting. I wonder if everyone who teaches about “the Christ spirit coming on Jesus at baptism” could be traced back to this….

    I’m convinced that the lies in gnosticism are the same lies that are in the New Age, and that the two are linked by doctrine, all of demonic origin. I think it is possible to trace gnostic beliefs back all the way to the garden of Eden. It seems to be the counterfeit belief system, and when Christianity started, gnosticism was the number one threat. Since this stuff can be traced back to the fall, I think that some version of it will be the religion of the Anti-Christ. It makes sense to me. Although I could be wrong.

    Craig,
    You wrote:
    “Jehovah’s Witnesses make a similar claim – that THEY are the 144,000. The only problem is that there are many more than 144,000 JWs. So, which are which aren’t?”

    Actually, Jehovah’s Witnesses think that only Jehovah’s Witnesses born in the year 1914 or before have any chance of being the 144,000. All others can only hope to go to paradise on earth.

  33. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    You wrote, Actually, Jehovah’s Witnesses think that only Jehovah’s Witnesses born in the year 1914 or before have any chance of being the 144,000. All others can only hope to go to paradise on earth.

    That’s a new one on me. Darn the luck to be born on any other year after 1914!

    …Some taught that this meant that Jesus couldn’t have had a real body made of flesh, because flesh is made of matter, and thus it is evil…

    This is known as Docetism (from Greek dokeo, meaning “to seem”). Docetists essentially denied the humanity of Jesus Christ, while the Cerinthians denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. This is why I’m convinced ‘Christianized’ Gnosticism (or proto-Gnosticism) was already making headway before the end of the 1st Century in view of John’s first epistle (the antichrist teachings), even though the unearthed writings of the Gnostics are dated to the 2nd. Certainly, just as Christianity had an oral tradition that preceded the actual writing of the NT, it seems possible that Gnostics had same.

  34. Craig says:

    To help readers understand how some others understand Johnson, I will state the views:

    There are those who use the “eternally God” claim to assume that Johnson is affirming the hypostatic union (that Christ’s two natures subsist in the Person of Christ), but that Johnson’s other words imply functional(ist) kenosis. [I, on the other hand, don't think Johnson ever affirms the hypostatic union.] On its face, with no other evidence, it’s very reasonable. In that view, Jesus Christ had the full capacity to perform His own miracles yet was continually, consciously NOT using His divine powers, instead relying on the Holy Spirit.

    Johnson’s words “He laid aside His divinity” and other phrases to this effect are understood as meaning that Jesus set aside the USE of His divine powers. This seems plausible until Johnson uses (as in this article) phrases such as “He emptied Himself of divinity and became man”. But, even this much stronger statement is downplayed by using the “eternally God” statements as superintending all others, i.e., as the main lens by which all Johnson’s other words are filtered.

    Regarding the anointing teaching: first of all, Johnson’s redefinition of Christ = the anointing and antichrist = against the anointing is not acknowledged. Johnson’s claim that Jesus didn’t become the Christ until baptism is assumed to mean that He was really the Christ at birth, but that baptism was a requirement to start His earthly ministry. This latter part is not wholly untrue, but this thought requires that one ignores the clear words of Johnson such as “Without the experience [the anointing] there could be no [Christ] title”, which implies Jesus wasn’t the Christ prior to this event, and that this same “Christ anointing” is available to all. Therefore, to assume this position would also mean that Jesus’ baptism (“Baptism in the Holy Spirit”, “Christ anointing”, etc.) is identical to what each believer can and should attain, for without this particular ‘second baptism’ the believer would have no ability to be used as a vessel for God to perform any miracles. Also, once an individual receives this same “Christ anointing” they’ll be able to perform all the miracles Jesus performed (and “greater”).

    Johnson’s phrase that the anointing links “Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him…” is understood as stating that the “Christ anointing” (or BitHS, etc.) was linked to the ‘man-part’ of the Person rather than the divine part (of the hypostatic union). The problem with this is that Johnson’s words have the implication that Jesus was NOT IN HYPOSTATIC UNION with His divine nature, for if He were, Jesus’ ‘man-part’ would already be ‘linked to the divine’ VIA the hypostatic union. This is explained away as Johnson just being unclear or a “lousy teacher”.

    Language such as “He [Jesus] had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” is assumed to mean that because of Jesus’ conscious self-limitation in possessing yet not using His divine attributes He could not go against His word. In this view, to restate, though He theoretically COULD have used His divine powers, in reality He ‘could not’ (though He had the ability) because He cannot go against His own word. But, the problem with this is that Johnson never once uses any such caveat; Johnson never states anything like “Jesus, though He could have performed any of His own miracles, could not go against His word, and therefore could not perform the miraculous”, or some such words. Instead we have emphatic and clear statements that Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!”, He “couldn’t heal the sick”, “He so emptied Himself that He couldn’t…”, etc.

    The functional(ist) view requires too much interpretive linguistic gymnastics.

  35. Craig says:

    Here is a more lengthy section from Johnson’s Face to Face with God [pp 21-22] than what was in the article to help illustrate my points:

    We steward the presence of God by learning to obey the commands “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30) and “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)…Jesus modeled what life could be like when a person neither grieves nor quenches the Holy Spirit.

    Keep in mind here that “Holy Spirit” in this last part refers to the anointing, and the “presence of God” is also the anointing.

    It is for this reason that we see such a great measure of the presence of God in the person of Jesus. John said of Jesus, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him” (John 1:31, NKJV). Certainly this is not talking about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that was already in Jesus’s life. This was the inauguration of Jesus’s ministry, and the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Him as a mantle of power and authority for that specific purpose. But the fact that the Holy Spirit came to rest on Him is the evidence of Jesus’s faithfulness to be perfectly trustworthy with the presence of God.

    All the bold portion above are names for the anointing, or Christ anointing. So, Jesus was “perfectly trustworthy” to ‘host’ the anointing, i.e., “the presence of God”. But, if the anointing is divine, if it’s also called “the presence of God”, then doesn’t this statement above imply that Jesus wasn’t God, but that Jesus was merely “perfectly trustworthy” to ‘host’ “the presence of God”?

  36. Craig says:

    I see that the Facebook page “Bethel Church and Christianity” deleted the link to this article, which came from Tim Heil. According to their “rules of engagement” one must use his/her real name in order to post. Tim Heil did just that. Also, their claim is that they allow dissenting opinions, yet this is clearly shown not to be true. Hypocrites.

  37. Ballerina says:

    Craig I was JUST in the middle of writing that on here. I am SHOCKED that they deleted ALL the comments regarding this entry. Y’know, research is NOT a competition, especially if one’s motive is to warn the sheep! Now I am NOT saying they are competing with you, but something is VERY wrong that they won’t address your very valid ties between Johnson (and the NAR) to the New Age/occult. I don’t get it!

  38. Craig says:

    Ballerina,

    Ironically, they are more willing to allow posts by obvious Johnson supporters, those who are very clearly opposed to what BC&C is stating; yet, they do not want my dissenting opinion that Johnson’s Christology is the more strong version of kenoticism and that parts of his Christology sure resemble New Age/occult teaching.

    I understand that both the views cannot be correct. That is, either the CrossWise version here is correct, or the views on BC&C is correct, OR neither view is correct. I welcome anyone from BC&C to promote their views here in the open comments, which may challenge the views on here. In the Overcoming Objections section I purposely chose some of the dissenting views in order to explain my view on them; should anyone disagree, they may feel free to address them here. I note that Cheryl Unruh has made the claim that no one has addressed to her satisfaction the quote at footnotes 41 and 42. Maybe she’s not read this here, or she has and doesn’t feel like it is adequately addressed. If it’s the latter, that’s fine, but then I challenge her or anyone to reconcile that statement (as they understand being orthodox) with Johnson’s teaching on the anointing. Johnson’s Christology would be totally incoherent, self-contradictory to accept the view that Johnson is affirming Jesus as the Christ at the virgin birth, yet that Jesus did not become the Christ until He received the Christ anointing. If we assume this, then this would fit the defintion of heresy.

    I just saw a post over at BC&C that acknowledges that Johnson is teaching that “Christ” means AN “Anointed One” – just as I’ve illustrated here. If Jesus is merely “an anointing one” in receiving the ‘title’ of Christ, and others are also “an anointed one” implying that these others also receive the ‘title’ of Christ, is this is not heretical?

  39. cherylu says:

    I wasn’t going to get into this conversation again at all because I basically feel like it is just a good way to use a lot of time and energy and get absolutely no where.

    However, since you have basically “called me out” because I referred to a quote over yonder, here goes.

    Moreover, Johnson’s quote is not necessarily proclaiming Jesus’ divinity (“the angels gave witness to His divinity”) since he asserted that it was the anointing that linked “Jesus, the man, to the divine.”44 Jesus’ divinity was only by virtue of the yet future anointing.”

    Really a good one there, Craig. Don’t you see what you have just done? According to your thinking in that statement, the angels according to Johnson were proclaiming His future divinity at His baptism. So, you now have Jesus becoming divine at just the point where He starts His ministry. Really does a good job of explaining how Johnson doesn’t think He was divine at all during His time on earth doesn’t it? If that way of explaining away what Johnson said here isn’t a stretch, I don’t have a clue as to what is! You just have made him out to be affirming exactly the opposite of what you have insisted for years that he is denying. And this was the exact reason I said over yonder that this statement has never been explained away in a way that makes any sense. And yes, I will affirm once more that I think Johnson’s Christology is highly contradictory.

    And if you are picking up on a tone of total frustration here, you are indeed correct.

    And please don’t expect me to stick around and discuss this endlessly again.

  40. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I don’t think you’re quite understanding my statement that you quoted (and you didn’t quote the entire portion). By Johnson’s own teaching, it’s the anointing that’s divine, not Jesus. But, then again, the Christ anointing is for anyone; therefore, anyone receiving this anointing is ‘christed’, and hence Christ/Messiah. So, the angel’s were proclaiming Jesus’ future divinity, but only in virtue of the anointing, i.e., Jesus was not divine, He was only “anointed” with the divine (from footnote 16 quote):

    The anointing Jesus received was the equipment necessary, given by the Father to make it possible for Him to live beyond human limitations…That would include doing supernatural things. The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil…

    And, similarly, anyone who receives the anointing becomes ‘linked’ to the divine, and hence becomes “Christs”/”Messiahs”. That’s the clear implications of the anointing teaching as laid out above in The Christ Anointing section.

    Here’s the main part of my comments regarding this:

    With Johnson’s assertion that “The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit”,43 in its original context (see above), he makes it apparent that baptism is the point at which Jesus receives the title/name of Christ (Messiah). Consequently, according to this teaching, it follows that since Jesus did not have the name of Christ, and, hence was not yet Christ before baptism, the angels’ and the other messengers’ words were contingent upon Jesus ‘proving Himself’ by performing the miraculous, thereby showing Him to be an “Anointed One” – for anyone receiving the Christ anointing is an anointed one. Moreover, Johnson’s quote is not necessarily proclaiming Jesus’ divinity (“the angels gave witness to His divinity”) since he asserted that it was the anointing that linked “Jesus, the man, to the divine.”44 Jesus’ divinity was only by virtue of the yet future anointing.

    But what about the specific language in the first part of the paragraph above, especially the use of Luke 2:11, that states, in effect, that the Messiah had come at that time, at the virgin birth? To answer this, I’ll quote New Ager/occultist Levi Dowling:

    …When we say ‘Jesus, the Christ’ we refer to the man and to his office; just as we do when we say…Lincoln, the President…Lincoln was not always President, and Jesus

    was not always Christ…45

    If one has this in mind, one could use Luke 2:11 – “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” [NIV 1984] – to mean that Jesus is the future Christ and NOT that Jesus was born as the Christ. This would be similar to stating, “President Lincoln was born On February 12, 1809.” Certainly, Lincoln wasn’t born President, for he was elected to the office of the President later.

    Once again, Jesus is the future Christ, but only divine by virtue of the linking of the Christ anointing (which is divine) to the human, temporally non-divine Jesus (the fact of His non-divinity made evident by Johnson’s teaching on the anointing in which Christ = anointing and antichrist = against the anointing). And, again, by the logical implication of Johnson’s teaching here, anyone who receives the ‘smearing’ of the Holy Spirit will have the ‘title’ of “Christ”.

  41. Ballerina says:

    Christ within me? The anointed? Already Christ? Well, here is something from a Bill Johnson/NAR supporter:

    “Let’s be clear on some things I believe.

    I’m not a slave. I am a Son.

    I am not a sinner. I am a saint.

    I am not striving to be holy. I rest because Jesus made me holy.

    I am not becoming more like Christ. I am learning to express the Christ I already am.

    I am not hungering for righteousness. Jesus’ death made me righteous.

    I was not born again when I believed. I was born again when HE believed.

    Jesus did not die to appease an angry God. Jesus died to reveal a Happy Father.

    The cross was not needed because we were separated from God. The cross was needed to show us God had never left.

    God does not threaten sinners with an eternal hell. He threatens hell and sin with His eternal Presence.

    Shaka daka.”

    original post here (but I seen him on facebook too, it’s just easier to link from his Tumblr): http://hammereddrunkwithfaith.tumblr.com/page/7

  42. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    And, just to be clear: I’m quite OK if you disagree; but, I just want to make sure that you fully understand my stance. If, after looking at all the evidence, your belief remains that Johnson’s Christology is self-contradictory, then I contend that it’s not functional(ist) kenosis; it’s just incoherent and self-contradictory. That may well be, and have been, your belief all along.

    But, you did state that Johnson could be outright lying about that statement (or perhaps others which contradict it). I don’t deny that possibility.

  43. cherylu says:

    But to put it very bluntly Craig, that is not what he said. You can read that into it if you want to. And that is obviously what you are doing. But what Johnson said was that the angels proclaimed His divinity. Not “the angels proclaimed that He would be linked to divinity.”

    Your take is reading a whole lot into his statment to make it fit what you believe he is really saying.

  44. cherylu says:

    But I am not accusing him of outright lying. If I remember right, what I said was that he either believes what he said, or he is outright lying.

  45. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Yes, I’ve had to read into that statement, but only because his teaching on the anointing is central to his theology. Either we can make that particular statement cohere with his Christ anointing teaching, we just admit the two are irreconcilable and his Christology hopelessly incoherent, or that Johnson is just not being entirely truthful.

  46. Craig says:

    I understand you are not outright accusing Johnson of lying.

  47. Craig says:

    …But what Johnson said was that the angels proclaimed His divinity. Not “the angels proclaimed that He would be linked to divinity.”…

    I know you were there in the very first BJ, Born Again Jesus post; and, I think you may recall the comment by one who drew the conclusion similar as I, that Jesus wasn’t the Christ AND wasn’t divine at the virgin birth. I copied a part of her comments above on 6/10 @ 12:55pm. You can follow the link to see some of her other comments. Obviously, she understands Johnson to be teaching a non-divine Jesus (and she agrees with this Christological stance).

  48. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    I think that my basic problem with your whole approach to things regarding BJ is that you are so determined to make everything he says fit into one neat whole that you end up having to make a lot of jumps in logic and just outright ignoring the plain meaning of what is said repeatedly in order to do so.

    Perhaps you are right about all of this. That could be. I just don’t now, and haven’t for some years now, thought that things are all cut and dried like you do. He has just simply made way too many comments that take a lot of explaining away in order to be able to say that he does not believe Jesus was God during the incarnation. No matter how incoherent or poorly thought out that makes the rest of what he says to be. As I said before, it seems to me that he either has to believe what he is saying or be outright lying when he states that Jesus was God.

  49. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I understand what you’re saying.

    But, do you see my train of thought/logic on eternity, in general? That is, that you and I can safely say we have eternal life right now using Scripture, yet we clearly are only living in the temporal realm at the moment. But, of course eternity exists at the same time as the temporal realm, yet the two are not in parallel. This is where MSoG comes in, as they believe we can actually be in two realms at once; and, that’s what I think could well explain Johnson.

  50. IWTT says:

    I also stand in agreement that BJ is teaching a non-divine Jesus

  51. cherylu says:

    I understand, I think, what you are saying about eternity. However, I think saying that the same person can be two totally different entities with no tie between the the two, ie divine in one existence and man in another, is well beyond any analogy that can be drawn there. We have eternal life now and our bodies will be changed later, yes. But we are not man here and God there. Two different concepts. THAT seems quite incoherent to me.

    Anyway, I have to go. Have used my time quota and then some.

  52. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    I understand if you don’t have any further time to interact; but, I did want to explain what I’m conveying in this article for the sake of other readers as well. From an entirely Biblically orthodox position, we have eternal life right now, but we are obviously not in walking in two places at once:

    Eternal life is a future that we already possess. This means, in a sense, we are already in the eternal realm, while we are yet still on this earth in the temporal realm. However, the tension between these two realities must be kept in check, as we are not bi-located; we are not simultaneously living in heaven as we walk on earth.

    This is usually referred to as the already but not yet. True believers have eternal security already, but we are not yet seated in the heavenlies. The last days have already begun at Jesus’ first coming, but the final consummation is not yet. This understanding that we have been in the last days since Christ’s earthly ministry is also known as inaugurated eschatology (sometimes realized eschatology, but not in the absolute sense by some liberal theologians that there is no future eschatology), with the understanding that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming brings in the eschaton (end of all things).

    But, MSoG, as evidenced by the Bill Britton quote and the Alice Bailey quotes on MSoG, are of the belief that we CAN live in the eternal while still in the temporal. I agree that it sounds incoherent; but, it’s known as bi-location, a concept we’ve heard others speak on (Bob Jones, Todd Bentley, etc.).

  53. cherylu says:

    Just one quick thought on your last comment and then I am really out of here.

    Again, bilocation is one thing but it is not what you are talking about with BJ except that you are saying He is living in two places at once. That I could agree with. But bilocation does not involve turning into a being of a totally different essense in the other realm. That is a real sticking point, IMO.

  54. Craig says:

    I should add that eternity has no end and no beginning; therefore, we can’t really say that we’ll begin eternal life, when speaking from the perspective of eternity, but from a temporal perspective, yes, in the future there’ll be the Judgment and then eternal life (or lake of fire for the unbelievers). We cannot superimpose our temporal perspective with thoughts of chronological events unto eternity itself, though. I can’t say that I can wrap my mind around the concept; I just accept it. We have a beginning point in which we enter eternity, while God has always been there, but yet there is not ‘time’ in eternity to identify a specific point in which we enter eternity.

  55. Craig says:

    Cheryl,

    Re: your comment at 2:03: I understand that, but, then again given that God, by definition is an eternal Being, then can we say that the Word totally left the eternal realm at the Incarnation? Yes and no. Scripture does indicate that the Word continued to sustain the cosmos (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17) while He was incarnate; but, then again clearly the Person of Christ was located squarely within our temporal realm – simultaneously. MSoG is a variation of that concept.

  56. Carolyn says:

    From your 7:59 comment, Craig: “All the bold portion above are names for the anointing, or Christ anointing. So, Jesus was “perfectly trustworthy” to ‘host’ the anointing, i.e., “the presence of God”. But, if the anointing is divine, if it’s also called “the presence of God”, then doesn’t this statement above imply that Jesus wasn’t God, but that Jesus was merely “perfectly trustworthy” to ‘host’ “the presence of God”?

    I don’t completely understand the point of this argument between you and Cherylu…it’s not just a question of divinity but of IDENTITY. Christ is God. We are not. So all the imaginings of us modelling Christ are bogus. That’s the point I see.

    My point is that there are spirits behind these teachers telling them false things and they are believing them because they are very powerful “annointing”, persuasive spirits. But they are lying and they are telling us that Christ was not reeeeeeeeally God…not in the sense that he was God come in the flesh. That’s the lie. Choose a side….Read the Word, don’t let the spirits invent, interject their own meaning into it. It’s clear as far as I can see. Clear, I say…

    1 John 4:22 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

    4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.

    Reading the word is such a boring idea to a charismatic because they already have the “spirit’s” power, forgetting that we are to test the spirits. 1 John 4:1
    [ On Denying the Incarnation ] Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

  57. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    The very next paragraph in that book goes on to state (paraphrase) that the Spirit remained on Jesus because He remained worthy enough to ‘host the Presence’, with the implication that if we are worthy enough we can continue to ‘host’ the Christ anointing too. So, theoretically, Jesus could have lost the Christ anointing, with the implication that He no longer would have been ‘linked’ “to the divine”. Hence, He would have been back to Jesus of Nazareth. I suppose those who have the anointing can be called, e.g., “Joe Christ”; however, if he becomes unworthy enough to no longer “host the Presence”, he’d revert back to “Joe”.

    This is why understanding the teaching on the anointing is so crucial to understanding all hyper-charismatic Christology.

  58. Carolyn says:

    Yes, that’s very good. When you say host the Presence, it just raises some prickly hairs on the back of my neck. What Presence???? And I think that going back to 1 John 4, in verse 6 we get the reason why “they” can’t hear the truth and why “we” can… “We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

    For the sake of discussion and hopefully encouragement, I’ll raise a few points:

    Most charismatics think they are serving the Holy Spirit. They wouldn’t recognize a New Age spirit if it came up and bit them in the nose. That’s precisely what we have been talking about on this site. If you read the New Age and Occult Manifestos, you will discover that they are leading you to participate spiritually in the worldly domain. How can we tell? They are manifesting exactly the oppositie of godly principles of righteousness and truth. Yes they are.

    Since this discussion about Bethel Church seems to always end up taking a circular route because of the ambiguity of terms and double-speak being cleverly manipulated for self serving prophets, perhaps we should be asking some different questions…for instance:

    What is the problem area of the false apostles and their followers that is opening them up to error? how about worldliness?

    What is Worldliness?
    According to 1 John 2
    15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
    16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

    Desiring the world was the reason I was seduced into a false Christianity initially. I wanted something tangible, temporal and tantalizing to my senses. Here’s what I think. Since I lived and breathed charismania for most of my life, I think we had it backwards. We wanted the power, we wanted the “spirit” and what it could perform for us. We wanted the gifts to bring healing and to know the future and to find guidance for our lives. Backwards…

    Paul said that the message he preached was backed by the power and demonstration of the spirit. He spent 14 years getting the message down and then the works were the outflow of the message he preached…Christ crucified…which was the only message he preached.

    Most charismatics never spend enough time in the word to understand the goal of faith, to explore the treasures that are hidden in God
    Colossians 2:2-4
    New International Version (NIV)
    2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

    or they think that God’s truth is only what they can conceive in their minds but God says differently:
    1 Corinthians 2:8-10
    New International Version (NIV)
    8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

    “What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
    and what no human mind has conceived”[a]—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—
    10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

    From a biblical perspective, that’s the issue that needs to be explored in order to expose the works of darkness. The real issue starts with the sin of worldliness, pleasing the 5 senses, satisfying our own lusts rather than straight obedience to the Word. That’s how we end up denying that Christ came in the flesh and there’s nothing in that that we can touch. It is beyond worldly, it’s not hidden, occult knowledge, it’s not becoming a proper host for the Holy Spirit, it’s not even “hosting the Presence”.

    Repent and believe the gospel.

  59. Craig says:

    Yes, as I wrote in the first part of “A New Age Christ” article, this Christology fits the Apostle Johns definition of antichrist. So, it’s no surprise Johnson makes the counterclaim that those who reject the anointing are antichrist.

    It goes back to Cerinthus in which the belief is that Jesus, the non-divine man, had the divine Christ Spirit descend upon Him at baptism, only to leave him before the Crucifixion, as the Christ Spirit cannot die.

  60. Carolyn says:

    you quoted from the book: “He remained worthy enough to ‘host the Presence’, with the implication that if we are worthy enough we can continue to ‘host’ the Christ anointing too.”

    We are never worthy enough. We sin…if we deny that we sin, then we deceive ourselves. We sin and we repent. That’s our walk on this earth. To believe otherwise is to fall into the error of “levels” and “hierarchies” of gnostic nonsense.

    No, we are all on the same level, no special favours, no righteousness in ourselves. We are sinners, a most humbling truth but one which keeps us on the path of dependence on a Saviour rather than believing a lie that we can attain to our own salvation.

  61. Craig says:

    I hope you understand that I’m not agreeing with that viewpoint; it’s clearly heretical. Nothing about the Christ anointing is remotely Biblical.

  62. Carolyn says:

    I was just thinking of the Christian witch I had staying in my house for 3 months. When I threw down some books about the Power of Praise on the table in front of her she went ballistic. She screamed, “Carolyn, you are undermining everything I have said.” And now I see what she meant.

    I was saying to her (and the spirits that were speaking through her) that God was all the power we needed and that her rituals and incantations, visions, and prophetic words were false. It was the spirits behind her life that were angry…very very angry! So we can certainly expect that the false Christs dictating in Bill Johnson’s teachings and masquerading as the Holy Spirit will be very very angry. They don’t want to be discovered. They do not want to be denied authority and pre-eminance.

    I agree with you. The message that we believe about who actually has the power and authority is VERY important.

    I beg you charismatics who are caught up in the confusion. Do what I did that day. Fall on your knees and ask the Lord for guidance. To me he said, “test the spirits”….

  63. Carolyn says:

    oh…sorry I was writing while you were talking…of course I understand that.

  64. just1ofhis says:

    “Reading the word is such a boring idea to a charismatic because they already have the “spirit’s” power, forgetting that we are to test the spirits. 1 John 4:1
    [ On Denying the Incarnation ] Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

    Amen, Carolyn. I would go a step further with that. Charismatics FEAR the study of the Word of God in the sense that they may become bound by “a religious spirit” (as taught to them by Bill Johnson). Much like the RCC teaches that it is “dangerous” for people to study the Bible apart from the interpretations of the Magisterium and the Pope. It has been said many times on this blog, but good things bear repeating; satan is against the Word of God who is Jesus Christ in the flesh. He will use ANY and ALL twistings and distractions to pull people away from this Word.

    We have the anointing we need (the Holy Spirit) to teach us and need no man to do so. Most falsehoods depend on the teachings of human gurus, experts, “holy” men, “anointed ones”, and so on, as they are led along by satan.

    Bill Johnson has named himself among the gurus. No one did this for him. It was a choice that has separated him from the God of Heaven through Jesus Christ whom he pretends to serve. The only path back from that is repentance, if God will grant it to him.

    In Matthew 8:5-13, we meet the centurion. This was a man of authority in service to worldly authorities. He saw himself as so unworthy that he was not even fit to have the LORD under his roof. “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed,” he said. Of this man, Jesus said he had not found ANYONE in Israel with such great faith. That is an amazing statement!

    The centurion had greater faith than anyone Jesus had encountered in Israel. What about the centurion’s “anointing”? What about his “gifts”? “Anyone in Israel” would have included even the chosen disciples of Jesus. Jesus was declaring this man who saw himself as utterly unworthy as having even greater faith than they. So what about the centurion’s “apostleship”? If the centurion had such great faith, why didn’t the LORD just tell him to go back and lay hands on his servant himself? Aren’t we to do greater works?

    Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. It is nothing but pure faith in the work of God through the person of Jesus. We are not even worthy of Him. Praise Him that He loves us anyway!

  65. Carolyn says:

    I’m just on my way out the door but for what it’s worth, Craig…there’s no non description in what you are saying. It’s very plain. They are just not hearing because of their own blindness. When they are ready to hear, there it will be right in front of them…in plain English.

  66. Craig says:

    Food for thought: Here’s a lengthy selection from the Levi Dowling book I quoted from earlier [p 8]. Note how many different “Christs” there are here:

    The word Christ means “the anointed one,” and then it is an official title. It means, The Master of Love. When we say “Jesus, the Christ” we refer to the man and to his office…Jesus won his Christship by a strenuous life, and…we have a record of the events of his christing [ED: at baptism], or receiving the degree Christ. Here is where he was coronated by the highest earth authorities as the Christ-King; properly speaking, ‘The Master of Love'; and after this was done he entered at once upon his Judean and Galilean ministry.

    “We recognise the facts that Jesus was man and that Christ was God, so that in very truth Jesus the Christ was the God-man of the ages.”

    The Nazarene’s Testimony. Jesus himself made the matter clear. Once when he was speaking to a congregation in Bethany the people called him King and he stood forth and said:

    “‘I am not sent to sit upon a throne to rule as Cæsar rules; and you may tell the ruler of the Jews that I am not a claimant for his throne.

    “‘Men call me Christ, and God has recognised the name; but Christ is not a man. The Christ is universal Love, and Love is King.

    “‘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.

    “‘Then hear, you men of Israel, hear I Look not upon the flesh; it is not king. Look to the Christ within who shall be formed in every one of you, as he is formed in me [ED: perversion of Col 1:27 and Galatians 4:19].

    “‘When you have purified your hearts by faith, the king will enter in and you will see his face.'”–Aquarian Gospel 68:10-14.

    Surely this question has been answered. Jesus was man; Christ was Divine Love-the Love of God, and after thirty years of strenuous life the man had made his body fit to be the temple of the holy breath [ED Holy Spirit anointing (NOT indwelling); Christ anointing, etc.] and Love took full possession, and John well said when he declared:

    “‘And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.'”

    I’ll add comments tomorrow AM (actually this morning as it’s after midnight here!).

  67. Carolyn says:

    Ballerina, your comment from 12:46pm on June 12, quoting from someone on facebook who you say is a Bill Johnson, NAR supporter… has the aroma of New Age. They contradict EVERYTHING biblical. They oppose the truth and introduce the lies with a special coating of sunshine. They flatter us seducing us to flatter ourselves and they turn the whole reason for our need of a Saviour into a positive (though blasphemous) boasting in the flesh contrary to and void of the preaching of the cross. And they get away with it because we-don’t-test-the-spirits! But how do we test the spirits? We compare what they are saying with what the Bible is saying. If we don’t know what the Bible says….? Or in the case of what Just1ofhis said…if we are afraid of interpreting the word for ourselves and we just choose a guru or a Catholic Church who we decide is trustworthy…?

    Just1ofhis, Yes, we love our gurus. We are a trusting lot. It’s our own perversion that prefers flattery and deception to truth. True, our purity comes from an outside source…Christ, the Sone of God and Saviour of the world, not an inside source…the Christ consciousness, the divine seed. At least that’s what the Bible tells us.

    Craig, Don’t know much about Cerinthus except that he also had a distorted notion about Christ putting aside his divinity and allegedly, he is the reason that John wrote his gospel…

    Although we may not understand everything, we can understand this:

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    and cross references with:

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

    Interesting… the selection from Levi Dowling on “the Christs”. We know these are depictions of New Age Christs. What I find missing in all of them is any mention of the cross. And Paul said that he only preached Christ and him crucified. It has been said that you can solve a mystery sometimes, not by what IS there, but what ISN’T there. Is this the case in the MISSING CROSS?

    The question forming in my mind is: What makes them anti-christ?

  68. Craig says:

    On the Levi selection: First note that “but Christ is not a man” and “Christ was Divine Love-the Love of God”, i.e., Christ, or the anointing is divine. Conversely, “We recognise the facts that Jesus was man and that Christ was God” and “Jesus is but man who has been fitted…to be the temple through which the Christ can manifest to men”, i.e., Jesus was non-divine. So, (a) Jesus is a man, while Christ is God/divine; (b) when Jesus became ‘christed’ He received “the degree Christ” or the ‘title’ of Christ. Thus far, we have two “Christs”, the external divine one, and the ‘title’ Jesus received after He had “been fitted by temptations overcome, by trials multiform, to be the temple through which the Christ can manifest to men”.

    All of us should “Look to the Christ within who shall be formed in every one of you, as he is formed in me”; that is, we all have an “inner Christ” aka divine spark/seed. That’s three “Christs”.

    Also, we have the final statement: “And the Word [ED: Christ] was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”, which in context means that “Word” refers to the ‘divine Christ”, the “Christ without”. The “only begotten of the Father” refers to the ‘divine Christ’, which is part of the false trinity, for earlier in Levi’s book we have:

    …The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Kristos and means anointed. It is identical with the Hebrew word Messiah. The word Christ, per se, does not refer to any particular person; every anointed person is christed. When the definite article “the” is placed before the word christ a definite personality is indicated, and this personality is none other than a member of the Trinity, the Son who had a glory with the Father-Mother before the worlds were formed.

    Admittedly, this is not exactly clear with the rest of the text, but what this is stating (I don’t want to quote much more from the book and come anywhere close to exceeding ‘fair use’, even though the full text is available from another site – please don’t post url if you find it because that puts CrossWise in violation of ‘fair use’) is that “Christ” in the bolded portion is referring to the divine “Christ without”, the one of the false trinity, in contradistinction from the anointing, which is the result from being ‘christed’. Though the “Christ without” is divine, when one is ‘christed’, i.e., receives the anointing, one does not become divine; one is only “linked to the divine”. Note also that this false trinity consists of Father, Mother and “Christ”. Here’s a bit more from the book:

    Before creation was the Christ walked with the Father God and Mother God in Akasha.

    “The Christ is son, the only son begotten by Almighty God, the God of Force and God omniscient, God of thought; and Christ is God, the God of Love.

    “Without the Christ there was no light. Through Christ all life was manifest; and so through him all things were done, and naught was done in forming worlds or peopling worlds without the Christ.

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

    So, Jesus, the man, ‘manifested’ the (false) divine Christ, yet Jesus Himself was only ‘christed’, i.e. “linked” to the divine. So, returning to the “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” statement, we see that the ‘Word’/Logos is also the (false) divine ‘Christ’ who was “made flesh”. Obviously, this is not the same is what our Scripture states. There’s a reason I’m belaboring all this, as I’d like to turn your attention to a Bill Johnson quote used in “BJ: New Age Christ IIIb”:

    …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

    The above quote preceded the material I had used separately here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/open-challenge-to-fans-and-critics-of-bill-johnsonbethel-church/

  69. Craig says:

    Now, also make specific note that he mentions the definite article (the) as signifying the (false) divine Christ of the false trinity. Compare to how Johnson does not use “the” in this CrossWise article EXCEPT in that portion at the very end in which he quotes Luke 2:11. I did not want to bring this up in the article itself as the article was already longer than I wanted it to be, and this would have been very difficult to try to explain; however, this is the final aspect of “Christ”, which is hard to make out – even with the additional Levi material. As part IV of the “New Age Christ” series identified, Jesus Himself went through five initiations. The baptism with the “Christ” Spirit was only the second. It was not until resurrection/ascension that Jesus actualized his divinity (by the divine spark/Christ within completely overtaking the ‘man-part’), thus becoming Master Jesus (and of course, He paved the way for all others to actualized their own divinity by following in His path).

    So, in Johnson’s selected text the ‘messengers’ were [ED: could have been] announcing His future divinity as Jesus THE Christ, i.e., Master Jesus, the “Christ” of the Piscean Age, who will eventually be superseded by “the Christ” of the Aquarian Age, who will be in actuality the Antichrist.

    But, hey maybe I’m wrong on all this; maybe these are all just ‘coincidences’ and Johnson is just a “lousy teacher”…

  70. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    Where in that quote does he refer to Jesus as the the Christ? Your quote has him saying, For there is born to you this day…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. He speaks of “the” Messiah, but the sentences would be grammatically awkward if he didn’t use the definite article there.

  71. Craig says:

    I agree the sentences would be grammatically awkward without “the”. I’m just using this as a possible explanation, in view of the fact that Johnson neglects to use the definite article when (re)defining “Christ” as the anointing by claiming initially that “Christ” means “Anointed One” (or “anointed one”) or “Messiah”.

  72. Craig says:

    I re-read what I wrote, and I changed the wording so that it wasn’t so definitive (“could have been”), since I can’t be sure this is what Johnson had intended. He may have intended it to be absolutely orthodox, but then that would totally run contrary to the teaching on the anointing, which brings me back to:

    …However, I submit that Johnson’s penchant for redefining terms and concepts, as well as his overt duplicity in doing so at times (whether he borrowed any of this from someone else or not matters little), indicates he could be deceptive in other areas (as he has been in the account of the Roberts Liardon library acquisition); that is, Johnson could throw in the odd orthodox statement now and again in order to purposefully confuse those who see his main teachings as unorthodox.

  73. cherylu says:

    Well, maybe if it is “a possible explanation,” you shouldn’t be stating it as a fact with a rather snarky, “hey, maybe I’m wrong on all this….” afterwards.

    Frankly, these kinds of statements and explanations are very problematic to me. They make you lose credibility in my eyes.

  74. cherylu says:

    Thank you for making the change. I read your comment after I posted my last one.

  75. Craig says:

    No excuses, but I was running a bit late this AM, was distracted as I finished it, and I didn’t get enough sleep (though that’s increasingly common…).

  76. Arwen4CJ says:

    I believe that Bill Johnson’s Christology is off because of what he believes about Jesus, regardless of whether or not he is purposely teaching any form of kenosis.

    Theology is obviously not important to him, or at least defining it isn’t. He is okay with his followers having an orthodox view, and he is okay with his followers holding to unorthodox views. He doesn’t mind if they even believe that they are Christs. He seems to encourage people to believe whatever they want to, so long as they follow him and the other apostles.

    Maybe he thinks like the people at the seminary I attended thought…..that if a person with differing theology is surrounded by the teachings of his church that people’s theologies will be changed and “fixed” to reflect his.

    And whether or not he purposely is trying to teach occult and New Age doctrines, perhaps the spirits behind his teachings are the ones guiding him in that direction.

    Maybe Johnson is purposely trying to confuse people. Or maybe he just doesn’t think it important to add clarity to his teachings. Maybe he’s just not good at teaching theology. Whatever the deal is with him, he doesn’t care about making sure people are educated in sound doctrine.

    Johnson is either deceived himself or he is purposely trying to deceive others. He either knows what he is teaching is of the occult, or he is just being guided by angels of light, and he honestly thinks he is meeting with God’s angels.

    The question we must ask is what is the actual content of his teachings?

    When questioned about orthodox doctrine directly, almost everyone will affirm the orthodox theology. Even John Shelby Spong tries to do that when someone calls him out on not believing in the resurrection of Jesus. However, what they actually teach is in contrast with the orthodox doctrine they claim to uphold.

    So does Johnson actually believe that Jesus is and has always been God? He says he does. But by what definitions is he using? How is he construing this in his mind? Might he mean something else? The answer to any of these questions might be “Yes.” The fact is we honestly don’t know.

    However, we can look at his teaching. And it seems that the main thrust of his teaching centers on Jesus just being a man who was empowered by the Holy Spirit, at least while on earth. We are to imitate Jesus and do everything that Jesus did, including walking on water.

    Johnson hasn’t clearly defined his beliefs in his teaching. Readers and listeners are left confused. He says words to make everyone happy. People are allowed to interpret it how they will. Johnson invites the likes of Bob Jones to his church and events. Johnson has supported John Crowder and is friends with all others in the hyper-charismatic circles. He has never condemned any teaching by any of his friends.

    Johnson publicly supported Todd Bentley.

    From all of this evidence, what he has written in his books, and what he says in his sermons, we can assume that Bill Johnson agrees with those who teach at Bethel, those that he hangs out with, those that he speaks at the same conferences with, etc. And if he doesn’t agree with everything they say, then he doesn’t care enough about his flock to warn them against unsound doctrine.

    By whatever label someone wants to give him, Bill Johnson is a false teacher. He clearly supports occult practices and beliefs. His gospel is another gospel, and his Jesus is another Jesus.

  77. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Many times when Johnson states the “laid aside” or “emptied Himself” statements he sources Philippians 2:7. This is the central proof-text of kenoticists.

  78. Craig says:

    Johnson makes the claim (paraphrase) that theologians ‘gather around’ ideas (are divisive), are “puffed up”, are without power, and focus on teachings; while the “fathers”, have power, ‘gather around’ & imitate other ‘fathers’, are “humble”, and focus on the Kingdom. False dichotomy from a false teacher.

  79. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yes, I realize that Johnson states that he laid aside and emptied Himself, and that he uses Philippians 2:7 to back it up. It’s possible that he doesn’t know he’s teaching kenosis, but is teaching what was passed down to him, or what he heard others say, etc.

    Since he doesn’t care much for theology, he probably doesn’t care what name you use. He wants to teach people that they can be just like Jesus, that Jesus emptied themselves, etc.

    It is kenosis, yet he may not realize it. Or he may know exactly what it is, and he doesn’t care.

    He does teach a form of it, yes. Whether or not it is ontological or functional….that is what people are arguing about. I think he teaches both from time to time, and I’m not sure he even cares about trying to be coherent with it. He uses whatever fits into his theology at the time, and he doesn’t seem to care about reconciling the views. (We can infer that from your most recent paraphrase quote of him).

    But my point is that exactly what he teaches, the name we use for it, isn’t as important as the fact that he is a false teacher. He teaches another gospel and another Jesus. And, yes, what he teaches about Jesus is false. All there is to debate over is how false it is.

    Johnson’s theology is bad.

    Yeah, it is a false dichotomy from a false teacher.

  80. Craig says:

    The truly hypocritical part regarding Johnson is that, while he tries to deny scholarship and theology on the one hand, he himself is teaching theological doctrine as if he IS an authority on the other hand.

    Cake and it eat it too.

    But, on the subject of his theology, I’d say that by necessity one must view his Christological teachings through the lens of his teaching on the anointing. Would you agree?

  81. Pingback: Assessing Bill Johnson’s “Eternally God” Declarations Amidst His Other Christological Statements | Wolf Tracks

  82. Arwen4CJ says:

    Anyone who has any belief about God has a theology. Yes, he does have his own, even though he doesn’t like to use the label.

    And I think it is important to understand his teaching on the anointing in order to understand his false gospel. As to whether or not someone MUST view his Christological teachings through the lens of the anointing, a person should very much consider viewing it this way. Why? Because so much of his theology comes back to this, and draws from it.

    And yes, we should try to reconcile his Christology with his teachings on the anointing. Doing so provides the fullest picture of Johnson’s Christology. So we should at least consider this understanding.

    However, Johnson himself maybe be incoherent here, and may not realize the full implications of his teachings. After all, I don’t think he spends a lot of time trying to iron out his own theology, at least openly — what he presents to his followers.

    So he may not even realize the logical conclusions of what he has said about the anointing, or what the demonic spirits have been whispering to him. Only God knows where his heart is and what he knows here.

    So I think that if we’re going to analyze his Christology, we do need to look at his teachings on the anointing. However, this may not be the only lens through which a person has to look at his Christology. So there may be other explanations (such as that he doesn’t even know the full implications of his anointing theology), etc.

    I’m saying there that his teaching on the anointing is necessary and essential to analyze. At the same time, someone may use additional ways of trying to understand Johnson’s Christology…if they are truly trying to be fair and consider where he might be coming from.

  83. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Any ideas?

  84. Carolyn says:

    Craig, excerpt from your 8:11pm comment “But, on the subject of his theology, I’d say that by necessity one must view his Christological teachings through the lens of his teaching on the anointing. Would you agree?”

    I will disagree. We must view his Christological teachings through the lens of the Word. Otherwise, we have no absolutes, no authority when we debate…which may be the reason why this conversation continues to go in circles.

    I think it’s impossible to come to a definite conclusion when we are trying to look at someone’s doctrine through the lens of theological definitions (although I have tried that myself). The Word is the only definite light that can defeat the deceptions and oppositions of anti-christ spirits.

    Bill Johnson’s teachings have been relegated to heresy in past discussions, not because of conclusions reached from opposing views of theological superiority but on the basis of God’s own words. It is what the Son of Man said about himself in the Scriptures that witnesses truth with my spirit. It is what the Spirit has said through inspiration of Scripture that persuades me that I know the true Christ and not some anti-christ spirit.

    And when we KNOW the real Christ, we WILL without doubt be opposed by the anti-christ spirits.

    There are many issues in which the false teachings of Bill Johnson and charismania fail the test of Scriptural orthodoxy. I raised the issue of worldliness. So we examine Bill Johnson’s Christological teachings through the lens of what the Word says about worldliness. Is the flesh lusting after temporal signs and wonders? Yes. They crave the temporal thrills and chills of gold dust and angel feathers. Are they in opposition to perseverance through suffering, accepting the biblical, preaching the cross? Do they even understand the preaching of the cross? There’s your answer…through the lens of Scripture, not through the lens of what they are teaching. Perhaps it’s like looking through the reverse side of the lens. You get distortion.

    Another issue is honesty of heart. How does the Word measure honesty of heart? Christ said that anyone on the side of truth listens to me. And then in 1 John 4 we read that anyone that listens to God, listens to us. So that’s how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Do the Bill Johnson disciples listen to us? No they don’t. There you have it.

    We have it on the authority of Scripture, not our own opinions, that these teachings, ecstatic experiences, false signs and wonders are chaff. And all we have to do is preach the Word, mention suffering or self denial, speak about repentance, hardship or discipline and those anti-christ spirits will come after us with a vengeance.

    Arwen – from comment 5:38pm “The question we must ask is what is the actual content of his teachings?” yes. and we view the content of his teachings through the lens of Scripture, not the lens of the interpretations of heresy, as you’ve said. We end up second guessing his motives or our interpretations of what he is saying. The only absolute authority we can speak from is from the Word.

    This is all common sense and you guys know this but it’s easy to get the lens reversed. That’s all I’m saying. And then we end up chasing the anti-christ spirits. If we speak the truth we will never have to search out the anti-christ spirits. They will seek us and set up opposition.

    We can look at Occult Manifestos and compare them to Bill Johnson’s teachings and see the similarities. But when it comes to persuading others that what he is teaching is wrong, the only thing that will shed light on their pathway is a knowledge of the Truth.

  85. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    I didn’t intend to exclude Scripture in any analyses of Bill Johnson’s Christology. However, I’ve already interpreted Johnson’s Christology as antichrist – by first analyzing the anointing:

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

    So, while you are correct that we look at Johnson’s or anyone’s doctrine through the lens of Scripture, if that same doctrine has hallmarks of occult/New Age (which you’ve already acknowledged) then we consider that as a possible basis. In other words, e.g., Alice Bailey’s doctrine most certainly violates Scripture, but that’s precisely because it IS occult – it purposely perverts Scripture. That is the actual intention of Theosophy.

  86. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    I’ll try to address your most recent comment a different way. While we, of course, do compare any doctrine against Scripture, my point was the most logical starting place to begin assessing Bill Johnson’s doctrine in order to compare to Scripture. For example, if we start at the position that Johnson’s Christology is theologically orthodox, then we can begin at the quote at footnotes 41 and 42. But, then we find that Johnson’s overwhelming emphasis is on this “anointing”, which he terms also “Christ anointing”, and we find that Jesus did not have the ‘title’ of Christ until the anointing. On its face, the teaching on the anointing is antichrist because it denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, for, in the Johnson Christology here, “Christ” is a spirit separate from “Jesus, the man”.

    So, I think you’re trying to say the same thing, that you are basically in agreement here, but you may be just shy of my larger point, which is determining from which angle to start in our assessment of Johnson’s Christology.

  87. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    As I said in my last comment to you — if we are trying to analyze Johnson’s Christology fully, then we do need to consider his overall theology, which includes his teachings on the anointing.

    And, yes, we do need to use the lens of Scripture, as Carolyn has pointed out. I don’t think anyone here would suggest otherwise.

    Now, an individual may wish to use another lens — taking Johnson’s Jesus’ eternally God quotes only and ignoring his other teachings. This would just suggest that Johnson is incoherent, as some have said.

    Both of these ideas (and probably others) are valid. I think that anyone looking at his Christology needs to consider both views seriously, and evaluate both of them. A person might have a preference more for one than the other, but we should consider both.

    We should consider the anointing viewpoint because doing so seeks to synthesize all of Johnson’s theology in a coherent manner. And to not consider this would be to miss something important.

    We should consider the incoherent viewpoint because that is what many people are convinced he is teaching, and it would not be fair to ignore this.

    So then we state something like, “If we view Johnson’s theology in light of his other teachings, it is more convincing to suggest that he is actually teaching about the anointing here, and he is denying Jesus’ deity while on earth. But we cannot ignore the possibility that Johnson might just be confused and not know what he is actually teaching because he hasn’t thought it through, so he is teaching contradictory things.

    I think he is effectively teaching ontological kenosis because of all of his statements in which he says Jesus laid down His deity, and his teaching about the importance of the anointing. This makes Johnson’s Jesus another Jesus, and his gospel false.

    On the other hand, Johnson may not be aware of where his teaching actually leads. He might not realize that he is contradicting himself when he claims that Jesus laid aside his deity while at the same time insisting that Jesus is eternally God.

    Another possibility is Johnson may just be deceived by demons. The theology doesn’t necessarily have to make sense to Johnson or his followers because, hey, they are being taught these things by things in the spirit realm. They don’t want to use discernment or their brains for analyzing these things, so they just go with it.

    And finally, Johnson may be doing this on purpose, as I suggested earlier. He might be purposely sneaking in false doctrine, knowing exactly what he is doing. Perhaps he is trying to lead people away from Jesus, getting them to believe that they are gods, and pulling people into occult doctrine.”

    Does that answer your question?

  88. Craig says:

    Yes, it answers my question. I wasn’t trying to put you on the spot; but, I thought you might have been going down a different track – like you were onto something a bit different than what’s been discussed.

    I think he is effectively teaching ontological kenosis because of all of his statements in which he says Jesus laid down His deity, and his teaching about the importance of the anointing. This makes Johnson’s Jesus another Jesus, and his gospel false.

    Yup; I agree there.

  89. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    You wrote: …The theology doesn’t necessarily have to make sense to Johnson or his followers because, hey, they are being taught these things by things in the spirit realm. They don’t want to use discernment or their brains for analyzing these things, so they just go with it.

    This is the basis of the “present truths” or “new revelation”. These supplant teachings in Scripture.

  90. Carolyn says:

    Craig, Arwen…I realize that if we go back over all the doctrine and the analysis of what Johnson has said, that there is no confusion and the Scripture has clearly defined the error as indisputable fact. Forgive my frustration…it’s not with you guys. It’s with those who are unable to see even after the truth has clearly been presented.

    As a charismatic, who had the baptism of the spirit, the “anointing”, speaking in tongues since 7 years old, I was of the belief that Kathryn Khulman and Benny the Hinn were the most spiritual of saints because they demonstrated the “power”…and there is nothing you could have said to me in those days about the anointing that would have changed my mind because I WANTED to believe it.

    It was only by reading the words of God himself and being enlightened by the Holy Spirit that the cracks began to appear in the armour of my delusion. And because I began to DESIRE truth.

    Yes, Craig, all the questions I’m raising have already been answered most eloquently in your exposes and I don’t mean to be “difficult” but I find that splitting hairs about definite articles and trying to interpret Bill Johnson’s meaning of the anointing can only go so far.

    Two people can read Philippians 2 and get a very different meaning. Why? Because one reads it from an honest heart and the other reads it through a twisted interpretation of some very clever demonic spirits who have set out to deceive. They first introduced the baptism of the spirit which has been the lie of the century which allows them to swallow more easily all the other lies such as “Jesus was only linked to the divine”, “setting aside his divinity” which is not there but is read into the text by deceptive spirits. Also, the awakening of the divine, or some idea about “linking of Christ to the divine” rather than the plain teaching that (the) Christ is God, etc. etc.

    I was watching a video clip the other day of “classic anointing”. Howard Brown the laughing apostle, smugly placed his Bible aside as the anointing took the place of the Word and he was off for the next hour or so laughing and singing in the spirit and leading the people on a ecstatic, drunken prophetic trip. The deception has gone from bad to worse.

    2 Timothy 3:13
    But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

    Are these guys deceived? Yes. A thousand times, yes. They are under the cloud of the anointing, they have received the baptism of the occult, of theosophic spirits or whatever you want to call them. And I’m calling a spade what it is…a spade because I was once a spade. I walked where they walked. And the only way out is by picking up your Bible and getting honest with God.

    Yes, Craig, looking back, you have covered everything in no uncertain terms. If anyone comes to argue here, the ground will be cut from under them. It’s all been presented and “whoever has ears to hear, will hear”.

  91. Carolyn says:

    I’d also like to encourage those that might come here that want and desire a clean break from delusion to embrace a higher calling than just figuring out “who is right” theologically.

    The thing that separates the person with only intellectual, seminary or academic knowledge of truth from the believer to whom Christ will say, “well done, good and faithful servant” is the desire for God himself. That was what became my one goal above all else as I began to read the Word. I wanted to know who God was, what his plans were and what my relationship to him could be. You don’t get that kind of knowledge from setting aside the Bible, throwing your hands in the air and dancing about in the “spirit”.

    Respect for God and his Word is the beginning of wisdom…and from there…it’s not just truth, it’s knowledge and wisdom and understanding from the God who made us and loves us.

  92. Craig says:

    I won’t pretend that I’ve got the last word on the truth of Bill Johnson’s teachings. There are a number of ways of looking at them, but, ultimately, I cannot know what’s in Johnson’s head or heart. I think I can get a pretty good idea based on his words in books, sermons, etc. as well as his apparent nonchalant attitude about how others interpret his teachings. He appears not to mind if someone understands his teachings in a heretical manner, as evidenced by some of the comments on here and some of the comments on Facebook (that others have made note of since I am not on Facebook).

    But, again, I can only assess his teachings based on my own limited knowledge base. But, quite frankly, it wasn’t until I better understood certain occult teachings that Johnson’s work started to better fit into place. In any case, I don’t mind if someone comes here with a somewhat different interpretation, as I don’t want to dismiss anything out of hand.

    Perhaps the fact that I’ve been in world much longer than I’ve been a Christian has tainted my view of mankind in general. I’d like to think not; but, it’s possible. In my BC (before Christ) life I’d been bold-face lied to (and this continues given my line of work) and flat-out betrayed. My first encounter with a hyper-charismatic ended badly when I sincerely began to question the teachings. I know others who’ve had similar experiences. Hyper-charismatic folk get down right ‘ugly’ when you start legitimately questioning their beliefs.

    So, given that, others who are more apt to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt can counter the views here. I’ve no problem with that. They can assess his teachings and deem them as not fully congruent with Scripture. Or, they can deem them as incoherent (which amounts to not being congruent with Scripture). My goal here is to look deeper, as in “What’s the point of the teaching?” “What’s possibly the basis?” I remember when I first starting researching this stuff and seeing articles and comments claiming that the teaching/s are not Scriptural. “OK”, I thought, “Why?” I’m wired that way. In school, I had a hard time with geometry in simply memorizing theorems. “Why?” – I need to know “why?” Once (or IF) I understood the answer to the ‘why’ question, then I could work out the problems.

  93. Carolyn says:

    While I agree with you that discussion is good as long as it doesn’t spill over into antagonism, if there is some indecision on the truth after it has been clearly presented from the Scripture, then we could be held responsible for the results of our waffling, at least I see that in Scripture.

    2John: 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we[a] have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

    Galatians 2:5
    New International Version (NIV)
    5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

    I am thinking of a mother who lost her child to Mormonism because she invited the missionaries into her home and befriended them, when they were clearly opposed to her gospel.

    I am thinking of a mission in downtown Vancouver that I worked at one year where some Huldaman (strictly law keeping Mennonites) started attending and spying out our freedom in Christ. They took one of the converts to Chrisitianity and destroyed his freedom in Christ. They should have been stopped at the gates.

    So, discussion is fine but tolerating error is not fine. And I think we agree on that.

    For myself, Bill Johnson’s theology and doctrine has clearly been found to be false from a Biblical standpoint and that’s enough for me to no longer listen to their corrupting philosophies. And Scripture supports me in that.

  94. Craig says:

    For myself, Bill Johnson’s theology and doctrine has clearly been found to be false from a Biblical standpoint and that’s enough for me to no longer listen to their corrupting philosophies. And Scripture supports me in that.

    You are correct. Yet, from my perspective, to show that there may well be parallels to occult or New Age doctrine, could actually be the trigger for some of those caught up in these teachings, to stop and really investigate, whereas pointing out that it’s not Biblical may not be enough. For those who are groomed to believe that ‘new revelation’ can supplant Scripture, then showing that the doctrine of a particular individual is not Scriptural may not be a big deal. But, to be aware that there look to be occult parallels may give them pause.

    Additionally, there are those who have an uneasy feeling about Bill Johnson, and decide to look online for info (I can tell from the search criteria on CrossWise). OK, they see some of his teachings are not Biblical. If they have limited theological/Bible knowledge, then even showing something is not Biblical may not be enough to convince them. They may wonder if it could be just a denominational difference, for example. A case in point is John MacArthur who, though he certainly has Bible knowledge and has spoken out on some of this stuff, may turn someone off because of has staunch stance as a cessationist.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    So, discussion is fine but tolerating error is not fine. And I think we agree on that.

    Yes we do. And this is where I’m VERY disappointed with the folks at BC&C for not specifying the errors of functional(ist) kenosis. I posted a comment on the article linked from BC&C at BeyondGrace, which has not seen the light of day, though I note that others posted both before and after mine are showing. Here’s the comment:

    As regards whether functional(ist) kenosis is congruent with Scripture, here’s Wayne Grudem from his Systematic Theology [1994, Inter-Varsity, Grand Rapids, MI, p 559; emphasis added]:

    “…Particularly striking is the scene on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat, presumably because he was weary (Matt. 8:24). But he was able to arise from his sleep and calm the wind and sea with a word (Matt 8:26-27)! Tired yet omnipotent! Here Jesus’ weak human nature completely hid his omnipotence until that omnipotence broke forth in a sovereign word from the Lord of heaven and earth.”

    And, I would add that the Gospel writer’s words “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” [8:26-27, NASB], were not ‘corrected’ either by the writer or by Jesus, in order to indicate it was not by Jesus’ own inherent power that He performed this miracle, i.e., nowhere can we construe that this supernatural act was performed by the Holy Spirit rather than Jesus Himself.

    I chose Grudem because I know that he is a continuationist and his Systematic Theology is well regarded. And, this is only one of quite a few Scriptures which effectively refute functional(ist) kenosis.

    While I do understand refraining from using terms such as “heresy” and “antichrist” since these may well be seen as ‘loaded language’, it’s unnecessarily pragmatic to not point out how a given doctrine that is deemed to be espoused by Bill Johnson (though I, of course, disagree that it’s functional(ist) kenosis) is actually unscriptural. THAT is a compromise. I’m quite confident that the Holy Spirit can lead someone out of false doctrine without us having to resort to withholding the Truth, in order that we may reason out of our own powers of persuasiveness.

  95. Carolyn says:

    I may write some more on this tomorrow but momentarily, what comes to mind is that there is a time and a place for looking at occult literature and/or doctrines of secret societies and being able to compare them to present day apostasy.

    Still, the time and place to do so is after a person knows the Word and may be seeking for confirmation that it is not his imagination that these strange teachings they are hearing from their leaders are off base. The exposes will then strengthen their faith in the truth and connect some dots for them.

    It worked that way with teachers like Rick Joyner and Morningstar Ministries. It was near the end of my time in charismania. I was soaking in the Word and (still reading charismatic literature) and I was certain that something was off with this guy. In reading Rick’s books, I always came away with question marks. Nothing witnessed as truth. When I was able to connect on the internet to ministries with knowledge of occult teachings that were comparing his doctrines to what the occult taught, it was a welcome confirmation.

    Re my statement: For myself, Bill Johnson’s theology and doctrine has clearly been found to be false from a Biblical standpoint and that’s enough for me to no longer listen to his corrupting philosophies. I meant that, for me, it is the end of thinking that he is orthodox. He has no more credibility as a teacher of truth. When a teacher is proved to be false and deceptive, why give him any more credibility? Should be still be paying any attention to some sentences in which he uses split infinities or definite articles (now I’m being a bit facetious)….why waste any more time…if he ever gets the fundamental truths and his theology straight, then maybe we can worry about the details.

    A caution here is that if someone who doesn”t know the Scripture very well and becomes intrigued in investigating the occult, there is the possibility that he/she may be led astray by the insidious indoctrination of powerful lying, deceiving spirits before the Word of God has a chance to take root.

    Anyhow, Crosswise has not introduced the occult doctrines without heavily supporting arguments from Scripture to encourage and build up the individual Christian at the same time as exposing lies of the apostates. It has been an eye opener for me and I believe has been a definite time and place that was chosen by the Holy Spirit to teach me.

    Lately I have been led to take a look at the Illuminati but I am not obsessed with it. Since my lens is the Scripture, I can read by its Light without fear. Those around me are either apathetic, perplexed or scared by the rapid transitions taking place. To me it’s just interesting because I know the Lord is ultimately in control.

  96. Carolyn says:

    Those who seem to be threatened by what you and the Bible say about Christ being God come in the flesh without imposing a set of conditions on his divinity will continue to manipulate and control. You can be assured that truth will triumph in those of us who want it. The Biblical bottom line is that those who impose their own theology do so for self gratification (lusts) and will have a confused doctrine with nothing settled or sure ever.
    Here’s another place where Christ’s divinity is apparent. Christ revealed the Father to us.
    John 14:9
    New International Version (NIV)
    9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
    Hebrews 1:3
    New International Version (NIV)
    3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven
    Hebrews 1:3
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

    God chose to reveal himself and his divine nature to us through his Son (while he was on earth)…not partially or conditionally but exactly!!! He is not the unknowable, incoherent, unrevealed God. His divine qualities were clear, distinct, comprehensible, obvious, perceptible, plain, understandable and visible. I get it.

  97. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    You wrote: …Should be still be paying any attention to some sentences in which he uses split infinities or definite articles (now I’m being a bit facetious)….why waste any more time…if he ever gets the fundamental truths and his theology straight, then maybe we can worry about the details.

    I think you may be missing a key point here, or possibly inadvertently potentially minimizing this to readers; so, I’ll reiterate this point by stating it more strongly. In The Christ Anointing section the fact that Johnson does not use the definite article (the) in front of “Anointed One” or “Messiah” is quite significant. While it could have been a slip, it is proven not to be as he makes the specific claim that ALL can be an “Anointed One” by his usage and application/context of the term “Christ Anointing” later. Johnson implies this in other contexts as well.

    In the original Greek the definite article is also significant as in 1 John 2:22, in which one must confess Jesus is THE Christ. Similarly, in 1 John 4:3, the definite article is placed in front of “Jesus”, while omitting “Christ” since the term was already used in 4:2, to alleviate a certain redundancy (which I wish the Biblical author had not done). In English we don’t say “the Jesus”; so, it’s not translated that way:

    1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah]? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

    Denying that Jesus is THE Christ, in effect, denies the unity of the Father and the Son.

    1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess [the] Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

    In verse 4:2 above the definite article is not used before “Christ”, but by the context (and the fact that “the” was used earlier in the epistle) the point is clear: one must affirm that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, i.e. Jesus came AS the Christ/Messiah (i.e. the “Christ” didn’t come upon Him later). In verse 3 I’ve added “the” in where the English does not translate it, so that reinforces the singularity/uniqueness of this particular Jesus as the one and only Christ/Messiah specifically stated in verse 2.

    If you’re referring to my minor point re: the definite article in the foonoted text at 41 and 42, I’ve already conceded that point is not being strong.

  98. Craig says:

    In skimming through Kenneth E. Hagin’s book The Name of Jesus [1979, 3rd printing 1981; Rhema Bible Church aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries / Faith Library, Tulsa, OK] (which I’ve quoted from in the Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, part II) is the following:

    Jesus is the Head. We are the Body. The Head and the Body are one. A person’s head doesn’t go by one name, and his body another. People wouldn’t call a man’s head James, and his body, Henry. Christ is the Head – we are the Body – and the Body of Christ is Christ. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit. We are one with Him [p 66; all capitalization per original; bold added].

    He follows this up by proof-texting Galatians 3:27,28 and using this as the basis for the above – taken out of context, of course.

  99. Carolyn says:

    Titus 3:10
    Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time.After that, have nothing to do with them.

    Let’s talk about an elephant in our living room. Is there anything normal about the intrusion?However if we try to ignore the elephant, talk around him and worry that his toenails are not painted, that’s what I’m talking about with Bill Johnson. Why discuss the lesser problems of the elephant (false teacher) such as definite articles, when the real intrusion is the elephant himself.

    In the case of Bill Johnson, the elephant is the false teaching about laying down his divinity. He wants to model Jesus. His agenda? Linking us to the false idea that we can do the same things that Jesus did. We can perfect the Christ consciousness and bring heaven to earth through manifesting signs and wonders. That’s enough to call him an elephant and cease crediting him with a “right to be among the orthodox”. Yes, we can then discuss the finer points as correct or incorrect and the finer points of grammar but first let’s dismiss the elephant’s presence with any sort of “rights”. We should not try and co-exist with an elephant.

    Should I have kept the witch around because I wanted to win her over? No because she didn’t want to discuss things. She wanted to win. She was warped and sinful and following deceitful spirits. She would have influenced my children and myself. The drama she was creating would have been the elephant in the room. Sometimes we worry more about being nice to a false prophets than we care about obeying the Lord. I could have tried reasoning with her and compromising to make peace but that would have been ignoring the elephant and missing a chance to keep my own house clean.

    If someone has decided on a brand of kenosis, should we keep them around and argue with them? No, because even a child can read that God came in the flesh. And once that becomes clear, everything else falls into place. I can read many, many places in the New Testament where Christ demonstrated his own power. What becomes indistinct and unclear and problematic is when we start giving a voice to the false. We should take a stand on what we see and if others disagree, we walk away or we send them away. Other than that, their leaven could end up destroying us or compromising the truth. The Word of God is the perfect example for this. It doesn’t argue…it just states the facts as they are.

    There is a place and time for separation from evil. If I hadn’t kicked the witch out when I did, she would have sucked the life out of me, drained me of energy and taken over my life. Not a good prospect. In the case of my friend who lost her daughter to Mormonism, she has a lifetime to regret thinking she was being kind instead of stupid and disobedient.

    My point? Too early in the morning to assess that. I need more coffee.

    I will take a good look at your previous post on the Anointing and wrap my mind around it later. As for Kenneth Hagin….his teaching had to fit his agenda. His Christ had to be human because he had to attain to the Law of Attraction, “what you say is what you get”.

  100. Arwen4CJ says:

    With definite articles…..you know, another thing that has really puzzled me about hyper-charismatics is that many of them refer to the Holy Spirit as just “Holy Spirit.” I don’t know if this is something that also occurs in occult spirituality or not, but it does bother me a little when people refer to Him as just “Holy Spirit.”

    Anyone know anything about this, or why they leave off the definite article?

  101. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    The lack of the definite article in front of “Anointed One” / “Messiah” removes any (presumed) ambiguity in the “laid aside His divinity” and “emptied Himself of divinity” phrases. For me, it negates attempting the linguistic gymnastics of assuming that Johnson meant functional(ist) kenosis instead of ontological kenosis.

    Arwen4CJ,

    I’ve wondered myself why the preference for “Holy Spirit” rather than “the Holy Spirit”. The only conclusion I’ve tentatively reached is that it seems less formal / more personal without the definite article to hyper-charismatics. I recall one woman (associated with IHOP) referring to “Holy Spirit” in a way that implied a really close friendship. Yet, Scripture states, of course, that the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself, but rather to Jesus Christ, as I know you’re aware.

  102. Carolyn says:

    Craig, Ah, ok…point taken. Now you are speaking clearly. *stop banging your head on the desk*…exploring the importance of linguistics in theology is a stretch for me until I can align it with my “conceptual” way of thinking.

    I think for me, the elephant in the room is the overall big picture of the preaching of a false Jesus, a false spirit and and false gospel…”only good things brutha”.

    Further, reasoning and debating definite articles with people who run in these circles is a complete waste of time until they are ready to hear and send the elephant away. They can only hear the noisy voices of distracting spirits. They are completely outside of orthodoxy and couldn’t care less about anything but feeding their temporal appetites.

    Once you decide to get rid of the intrusion (spirit of error), who cares any longer about whether or not the elephant’s toenails have been painted red because he is gone. Kenneth Hagin was not a teacher with a few false ideas. His foundation was false. He was an elephant. Bill Johnson is not a teacher with a few false ideas. His foundation is false (as you have clearly shown through all means available). He has departed from the faith. He cannot be tolerated in a credible sense. Now we can discuss HOW he is wrong.

    Having come from this background of confusion, I understand that, as a true believer who has “entered the sanctuary” and is interested in “knowing” Christ and not just in staying on the peripheral fringes of the Christian theology, (even the demons believe and tremble), these definite articles become important to see WHY the elephant had to go. So while I’m not minimizing their importance, I am saying that we must first deal with the main issue which is the deity of Christ. Once we get that settled, the light comes on, the witch is forced to leave and the seducing spirits flee.

    Arwen, I think it might be a familiarity vs respect for the Holy Spirit. It’s like an acquaintance of mine who like to speak of Jesus as “my Jesus”…everything is “my Jesus”. Obviously, she had no idea who the real Jesus is.

  103. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    That’s what I’d been thinking too, but I wanted others opinions. Without the definite article, it does sound like a person is addressing the Holy Spirit in a more intimate way, like a name. But is there a possibility that some of these hyper-charismatics have actually met a spirit calling itself “Holy Spirit,” as a form of deception, or simply just responding to the name that people are using for it. I recall reading that this was the case in the testimony that the one newer poster left.

    Maybe this spirit insists people calling it “Holy Spirit,” as it gets to know someone more and more.

    Obviously this spirit going by the identity of “Holy Spirit” isn’t God the Holy Spirit. Perhaps not all of them are contacting the false spirit, but it is quite telling that they address the false one as “Holy Spirit.”

    Benny Hinn wrote a book called “Good Morning, Holy Spirit.” I read part of the book when I was in junior high. My atheist teacher decided that we would have a time of silent reading for our home room time period one day. He took a box of books that was in our school and just randomly handed a book to each of us. He ended up giving that book to me.

    I had no idea who Benny Hinn was, but I was a little suspicious of the book. I didn’t read much of it, but I do remember him writing about waking up and having a conversation with the Holy Spirit, saying good morning and things like that, hence the name of the book.

    Exactly — the Holy Spirit always points to Jesus, and not to Himself.

    I was just curious to find out if those in the occult had a personal spirit that talked to them that called itself “Holy Spirit” as well.

    And if there is a demonic spirit going by the name “Holy Spirit,” then what are people calling out to at some of these hyper-charismatic settings? This counterfeit spirit would love people to be drawn to it.

    Do you know if they use “Holy Spirit” or “the Holy Spirit” at Bethel? Like when they ask for the Holy Spirit to come down and manifest?

    This is all speculation…but I do know that there is a counterfeit spirit that does refer to itself as “Holy Spirit.” So how many who leave off the definite article might be contacting this spirit, or have heard from this spirit?

    Now, I know that not everyone who leaves off the definite article may be contacting false spirits, and that using the definite article doesn’t mean that someone is following the real Holy Spirit…but I do have to wonder.

    Baptists often emphasize the personal relationships with God, as do many other orthodox, evangelical Christians, which is good. But I have never heard anyone outside of the hyper-charismatic world leaving off the definite article to the Holy Spirit.

    Whose idea was it to leave off the definite article? And why? These are questions that I’d like answers to, but may never find them. I’m guessing that the reason is tied to the occult.

  104. Arwen4CJ says:

    Carolyn. you wrote:
    “Arwen, I think it might be a familiarity vs respect for the Holy Spirit. It’s like an acquaintance of mine who like to speak of Jesus as “my Jesus”…everything is “my Jesus”. Obviously, she had no idea who the real Jesus is.”

    My response:
    I think you have pinpointed why it bothers me so much to not have the definite article there. It seems too familiar and not respecting Him to refer to Him as “Holy Spirit,” rather than “the Holy Spirit.”

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  105. Craig says:

    …But is there a possibility that some of these hyper-charismatics have actually met a spirit calling itself “Holy Spirit,” as a form of deception, or simply just responding to the name that people are using for it…

    I had read a few years ago on some website of a teacher of Eastern religion (don’t recall which type), who referred to the Kundalini spirit as “the Holy Spirit” (with the definite article, as I recall). The point is in the equating of the kundalini spirit (an, uh, “familiar” spirit – pun) with the Holy Spirit, which, in the context (as I recall), was referred to as in a somewhat intimate friendship.

  106. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thanks, Craig.

    So then…if something is calling itself “Holy Spirit” or “the Holy Spirit,” people assume that it is God speaking, without testing it. People who are so desperate to hear from the Holy Spirit are vulnerable to this kind of deception.

    So if a hyper-charismatic teacher has an encounter from the spirit realm — something that identifies itself as “Holy Spirit,” they would get excited and welcome this spirit into the midst of their service, and there it would have the chance of deceiving an entire audience.

    And if it gives revelation to someone like, “Jesus really did empty Himself of His deity,” then the person assumes it is the Holy Spirit opening up the Scriptures for them. Surely demonic spirits must do this — twist Scripture so that people believe a lie….

  107. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    While the following is not the site I saw years ago, it states something similar:

    http://www.sol.com.au/kor/8_01.htm

    C.G. Jung recognised the link between the Divine Feminine and the Eastern principle of Kundalini. He understood that the Kundalini was the representation of the Goddess within each of us. Is the Holy Ghost the Kundalini? Was the Kundalini a central principle in early mystic Christianity? Such an assumption would help us reinterpret many parts of the mainstream bible, for example; In the Gospel of John, Christ explains to the Pharisee Nicodemus, ” Verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and the spirit; he cannot enter the kingdom of God”, this second birth far from being a licence for so many born again Christian fundamentalists is something much more mystical and subtle in nature. To be “born of the water and the spirit” describes the awakening of Kundalini. She is often described as a divine mother whose ascent within the spine of the seeker gives them rebirth into mystic/gnostic awareness, the ‘divine water’ is its nourishing energy. The Kundalini enters the Sahasrara and there unites the seeker’s awareness with the self or spirit. This is described as a blissful, infinite experience of the kingdom of God within. Thus, Christ’s ‘born again’ Christianity might actually refer to those Christians who have entered the realm of direct experience of divinity, in the state of self realization.

    While this doesn’t specifically equate the two, it certainly STRONGLY implies it. I’ve only skimmed it, therefore, it’s possible the author gets more explicit later.

  108. Craig says:

    I’ve been trying to find something more definitive on the Holy Spirit as Kundalini spirit and came across the following. Note the manifestation of doves to include dove feathers and droppings (ewwwww!) in her house:

    http://www.path-of-divine-love.com/2011/03/dove-symbol-of-holy-spirit-kundalini.html

  109. Carolyn says:

    June 14 2:02pm “So, given that, others who are more apt to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt can counter the views here. I’ve no problem with that. They can assess his teachings and deem them as not fully congruent with Scripture. Or, they can deem them as incoherent (which amounts to not being congruent with Scripture). My goal here is to look deeper, as in “What’s the point of the teaching?” “What’s possibly the basis?” I remember when I first starting researching this stuff and seeing articles and comments claiming that the teaching/s are not Scriptural. “OK”, I thought, “Why?” I’m wired that way. In school, I had a hard time with geometry in simply memorizing theorems. “Why?” – I need to know “why?” Once (or IF) I understood the answer to the ‘why’ question, then I could work out the problems.”

    My most recent comments about the dangers of compromising to be nice or leaving a debater without a concrete, decisive rebuttal was in part, to respond to your 2:02 comments. And it is some kind of irksome to pretend the elephant somehow belongs when it does not.

    So the difference in what you are saying about asking questions and getting to the “why” is different in that you already had a Scriptural base to work from and you were a true believer with honest questions.

    *******

    June 14 7:41pm
    :Additionally, there are those who have an uneasy feeling about Bill Johnson, and decide to look online for info (I can tell from the search criteria on CrossWise). OK, they see some of his teachings are not Biblical. If they have limited theological/Bible knowledge, then even showing something is not Biblical may not be enough to convince them. They may wonder if it could be just a denominational difference, for example. A case in point is John MacArthur who, though he certainly has Bible knowledge and has spoken out on some of this stuff, may turn someone off because of has staunch stance as a cessationist.”

    Other recent comments were in answer to this quote from 7:41pm. A vague uneasiness. That is the first clue that the elephant shouldn’t be there in the first place, a sign that the Holy Spirit has begun his work. First he identifies the error… from Scripture…that kenosis is not slightly wrong, not partially wrong but utterly wrong. Then running the parallels of the occult doctrines to show that there are other identical elephants in other living rooms who are more obviously New Age and anti-christ is the icing on the cake.

    Just FYI, I began with teachers like MacArthur when I first got out of charismania. They had the most money, the biggest programs on the radio and the web, sold the most books and had the biggest conferences. But in the end, the Holy Spirit is the best of all teachers and in the end, it’s just Him sorting the truth for you anyhow.

  110. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    Either we’re just not understanding each other – or something; I dunno.

    My point in the first quote is that others are free to express their views – even if they don’t agree with me. Perhaps they’ll get me to see something I did not see, or vice versa. It’s clear that some view Johnson’s doctrine in a less problematic light than I. I have no problem with those folks making comments on here – just as I think they should have no problem with me expressing my view on their site(s). As long as the conversation remains civil.

    It’s not compromising. I’ve not changed the articles here to reflect those other views. I’ll listen, as I don’t have the audacity to claim that I have the sole truth on Johnson’s teachings. It’s quite obvious there are many unconvinced. I can’t change their minds for them. Some are still staunch Johnson supporters. Some think I’ve gone too far in my analysis, thinking that he’s not into the occult, and therefore, are unwilling to call this ontological kenosis, e.g. That’s their prerogative. I think they’re wrong; but, I’ll listen. Listening to opposing views is not compromising, adopting those views in part or in whole in order to ‘get along’ IS.

    In fact, were it not for reading opposing views, e.g., the occult, I wouldn’t have been challenged to really understand the Truth of Scripture. Listening to a Darwinian is not going to change my mind, but it will likely help me to hone my argument for creationism against Darwinism.

    I’ve lost ‘friends’ over my stance here. It is what it is. But, I’ve no problem whatsoever in holding firm to my position. Someone else’s thoughts may help me hone my argument further.

    It’s like the discussion we had about the definite article. I did my best to get the point across in the article, yet it did not fully register with you. This sort of thing can and will happen. This is precisely WHY the comments section is important. Going back and forth has helped me to better articulate my writings. With the benefit of hindsight and these discussions, I definitely would have written some of the previous articles differently.

    As regards MacArthur, I’ve learned a LOT from him; but, I disagree with his cessationist stance, his position on the Rapture, and a few other things. But, I’m not going to dismiss what he says because of the differences in our theological views. Others are not the same way – to include hyper-charismatics. That is, until they come out from under these false teachings, some of whom adopt a cessationist stance to fully counter their time in hyper-charismatism. They may have swung too far the other way. This is not unusual in human behavior.

  111. Craig says:

    Carolyn, you wrote: So the difference in what you are saying about asking questions and getting to the “why” is different in that you already had a Scriptural base to work from and you were a true believer with honest questions.

    I think you may have misunderstood my “why” arguments/statements. In the instances I wrote about, I had already understood the teachings were not Scriptural; so, I wondered why this was so. Was there an occult basis for these teachings that would answer the question of why? In other words, were the teachings unbiblical precisely BECAUSE they were based on occult teachings?

    Is that what you understood, or no?

  112. Carolyn says:

    I agree, discussion is good and people are free to express their views.

    The danger is when a person attributes legitimacy to something obviously false. You can see that Kenneth Hagin is a false teacher. So would you spend time discussing what he’s teaching as though there were some legitimacy to his ministry or would you call him a false teacher and point out his error? Of course I know the answer to that.

    You have clarified your position on Bill Johnson. Thank you. I was getting a sense that his ministry still has some legitimacy in your eyes. Now I know I was wrong. I will revise my thinking. No ambiguity. I’m happy.

    Your question: In other words, were the teachings unbiblical precisely BECAUSE they were based on occult teachings?

    Not based on occult teachings but so similar to occult teachings that there had to be a connection. And the connection is the false light (Lucifer) masquerading as the True Light. If the occult teachings are the anti-thesis of Christianity and their Holy Spirit is the counterfeit spirit, then who is behind this deception? It has to be the same source. Since there are only two sources, God’s and Satan’s, then if it doesn’t line up with the words of God then it has to be coming from the other source, Satan, the devil, Lucifer (all the same entity).

    Did I answer your question?

  113. Carolyn says:

    I suppose we are talking about two different things, I don’t know either. You are making way for discussion of ideas. I am drawing an absolute line between truth and error.

    Perhaps another comment on where I’m coming from would help. I’m a very black and white thinker. It’s either right or wrong. It’s either black or white, nothing in between. There’s a definite line, unlike the whole Baphomet “drawing together of all things above and below to create a new unity”. So I can say to people, here is truth, take it or leave it. And if they leave it, I can accept their decision and walk away.

    So when I see blatant error such as I see in the NAR camp, I can only think black or white. There is no room for a blending of ideas or learning from them what I can or cannot support. Once I pinpoint error, I can’t then say, “but perhaps there is something I am missing” or “perhaps there could be some give or take, an exchange of ideas to reach a middle ground”.

    Just a thought: “why” am I taking a look at the Illuminati when the Word of God is sufficient? what can it possibly teach me that the Word has not? Simply that it glorifies evil. It increases the gap between the world and the kingdom of righteousness. It is the fulfilment of “woe to those who put evil for good and good for evil”. It is the fulfillment of what Christ said would come to pass in the last days. It is evil coming to life and engulfing all who hate the truth.

    Well, I’m exhausted from all this thinking. I needs a break.

  114. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    The point is that not everyone thinks the same. Some are wired differently. Maybe some folks may be won over by giving Johnson the benefit of the doubt on some things, with Johnson fans then being open to others’ persuasive discussions. It’s not an approach that I take. I find the Scriptural problems (in the most absolute terms I can), then, if there may be occult connections, I’ll compare and contrast. For those folks who are Biblically confused or near-illiterate, the occult connection may just bring forth the desire to step back and reassess.

    There’s nothing wrong with being black and white, however, with the promotion of postmodernism in schools, many are taught that there are no absolutes, just shades of grey. It’s these folks who are tough to reach, as they will always allow experience to trump truth, precisely because they view truth as relative.

    Once I pinpoint error, I can’t then say, “but perhaps there is something I am missing” or “perhaps there could be some give or take, an exchange of ideas to reach a middle ground”.

    I’ve already stated that I’M not looking for middle ground (in different words); and, I’ve already said that I am not changing anything. This isn’t the Hegelian Dialectic. I’m not talking about compromising at all. I really think you’re missing the point.

  115. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thanks Craig, that was actually the type of thing I was looking for. Wow….I didn’t realize that someone would actually equate kundalini and the false spirit in a positive way. I assumed only those who were opposed to the hyper-charismatics called the false spirit kundalini.

    The author of the webpage was obviously pro occult and pro gnosticism and pro kundalini, and of course he/she doesn’t believe the false spirit to be false. The author believes that every spirit is good, or that the Holy Spirit in Christianity can be equated with the spirits operating in Eastern religions.

    This is just like hyper-charismatics think that they are dealing with the Holy Spirit when in reality they are dealing with the same false spirit.

    I knew that Jung was into the occult. My secular textbooks pointed that out….but wow….

  116. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I want to be clear that I’m not sure if Jung actually equated the Kundalini spirit to the Holy Spirit, but he certainly DID affirm the Kundalini:

  117. Arwen4CJ says:

    As to the second link….thank you, Craig. Wow.

    Look at this quote:
    “I knew that Divine Spirit was talking to me.”

    A hyper-charismatic might say the exact same thing, only this way:
    “I knew that Holy Spirit was talking to me.”

    Someone needs to invite some hawks to that lady’s house :)

    Anyway….bird feathers…….would those be much different from Bill Johnson’s “angel feathers?”

    Nice to know that these demonic “doves” can leave droppings. I wonder if they leave bacteria and disease behind. No doubt that they leave spiritual bacteria and disease behind.

    My thought is that the demonic spirits will take on the form or will make manifestations that are consistent with what the person is looking for. Bill Johnson’s crowd wants to see angels and manifestations surrounding that, so they get gold dust, feathers, etc.

    This lady was so infatuated with the doves that she didn’t even want to clean their poo off of the painting.

    Then again, maybe the demonic spirit is causing real doves to appear out of thin air. That wouldn’t be impossible, as things like that have happened before with those in the occult.

    Thanks, Craig. If you or anyone else comes across stuff like this in the future, let me know.

    It would be quite telling if we could find similar manifestations in the occult to what we are seeing in Bethel Church, such as the gold dust, more feathers, orbs, and stuff like that.

  118. Craig says:

    It would be quite telling if we could find similar manifestations in the occult to what we are seeing in Bethel Church, such as the gold dust, more feathers, orbs, and stuff like that.

    If memory serves me correctly, I DID read about these sorts of things happening in the occult. You could probably find them by doing a ‘Google search’. Off the top of my head, I’m not sure which search criteria would get you there. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read about gold dust in the occult, and possibly other feathers (I don’t recall ‘dove feathers’ before I found the link above).

  119. Carolyn says:

    Craig…brief summary.
    You have clarified your point most articulately and the back and forth was helpful.
    I wasn’t accusing YOU of dialectic or of fudging the truth, but attitudes towards those who do.
    If I missed “the” point it is because we ARE wired differently, therefore, I don’t think I did miss the point.
    Good talk.

    Arwen, your comment of 2:02pm “And if it gives revelation to someone like, “Jesus really did empty Himself of His deity,” then the person assumes it is the Holy Spirit opening up the Scriptures for them. Surely demonic spirits must do this — twist Scripture so that people believe a lie….”

    Absolutely true. As I was reading through the article, I was thinking that it is another great example of mystical leading, similar to the one we just read on DTW except blatantly New Age. The counterfeit of the Holy Spirit dove is classic New Age symbology. Yes, it’s amazing to observe the similarities in the apostate churches.

  120. Carolyn says:

    Arwen, thought this site might interest you. from:

    http://newjerusalemchronicle.blogspot.ca/2009/11/latest-article.html

    Calvary Chapel’s logo (seen below) is almost certainly a modified adaptation of this same Crowley symbolism. I believe there may be added significance behind the alteration…which I will describe in a moment.

    In fairness to Chuck Smith (the leading founder of this quasi-denomination) I have seen zero evidence of his intentional involvement in this. I always keep in mind, many folks innocently copycat occult symbolism, or ‘approve’ of the symbolism, not knowing its true significance.”

    ….much food for thought on this site. I’m reading his online book today, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”.

  121. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    From the site:

    Given the context–the precedent of upside down bird symbolism in Charismatic church culture…which has rather obviously been ‘borrowed’ from leading satanist Aleister Crowley…in that context, I would dare say the C.C. symbol looks an awful lot like an owl in a sort of predatory posture. (You have to view the symbol as though it is ‘right side up’ to recognize it.)

    Let’s not get too far into this sort of conspiracy theory stuff. Calvary Chapel’s logo is most clearly a descending dove; to claim it resembles an owl is R-E-A-L-L-Y S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G things. A descending dove as Christian symbolism for the Holy Spirit predates Crowley by about 1900 years. It comes from the Gospels.

  122. Carolyn says:

    I wish I was stretching the things. But let’s just say that if you stop at incredulity, you will miss getting the question of “why answered. There’s a plan afoot and we’re told by Jesus to “watch”. What are we to watch? Watch what is happening in the world, watch Matthew 24 unfold, watch for the beginning of sorrows, watch for people telling the truth about people that aren’t telling the truth, watch for incredible signs of end times, watch for false prophets in sheep’s clothing, watch and stay awake and see Christ’s revealing words coming to pass and know that his coming is near, even at the door.

    It’s so incredible to think that some of our top leaders are lying to us that we are living in denial. But the “sign’s say differently. Just as the NAR false prophets are manifesting the occult doctrines, so many leaders in Evangelical and Conservative Christianity including the music industry and the youth ministries, missions, etc. have joined forces with the “Illuminated Ones” to bring in the NWO. And instead of believing those that have unmasked the lies, we believe the “denials”. It’s easier that way. I know it used to be easier for me when I was less discerning…but then I was also asleep. I prefer “AWAKE”.

    ok…now I’ll admit that the upside down dove resembling an owl is speculative, but the upside down dove is an occult symbol and so is the owl and they are both showing up in a big way hidden in plain site…here’s the dove for example showing up on Pope Francis Pectoral Cross http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=764672
    and here in Christian Ministry logos http://www.seekgod.ca/stardoves.htm

    The infiltrators and members of the Illuminati love their coded messages and hand signals to each other that identify them as Luciferians and caste members of the elite rich. Well published now, but still people would rather believe outright lies and denials, especially from their own trusted denominations and movements. Just like the lie of Robert Liardon’s Library. Who’dda believed it?

  123. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    There’s no doubt that the enemy has taken symbols that are Christian and has perverted them; however, of course, this does not mean that all symbolism that looks Christian is of the enemy. There must be other correlations.

    Let’s move on from this. By that I mean let’s stick to the subject at hand, which is, in this article Bill Johnson.

  124. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    While I appreciate your input, lately you’ve gone a bit off topic to even further off topic. I don’t mind the occasional ‘rabbit trail’, but I don’t wish to go off into things having nothing to do with the individual posts. Arwen4CJ has asked some tangential questions. These were answered, briefly discussed, then pretty much closed. That’s as it should be. Let’s not take the tangent so far down a rabbit trail that we’ve totally lost the original subject.

  125. Craig says:

    Arwe4CJ,

    I wanted to comment on this (from 6/15, 9:31AM):

    The author believes that every spirit is good, or that the Holy Spirit in Christianity can be equated with the spirits operating in Eastern religions.

    And, that is like classic Gnosticism: all spirit is good (and all matter is evil).

  126. Arwen4CJ says:

    Carolyn,
    While I appreciate you giving me articles that you think I might be interested in — if it is too off topic, perhaps you could ask Craig for my e-mail address, and he could e-mail you my e-mail address?

    I looked at the article you linked, and it was too speculative for me. The author was basically saying, this symbol looks like something that is used in the occult, but he had nothing to back it up with. That’s not the kind of reasoning that I find logical — there are too many gaps. If a person is that broad, then basically they could claim that anyone was into the occult, because they could find some sort of occult symbol somewhere.

    I’m all for exposing the enemy, exposing evil, showing where someone is a false teacher, etc. If I see that someone is clearly dealing with spirits that are not the Holy Spirit, I am curious to do a little more research — but in those cases there is already evidence that the person is off — by both words and actions, not symbols that show up around the person. If someone is false, then their own words and actions should be enough to show us what they are.

    We don’t have to speculate that Bill Johnson might be a wolf. We can know that he is because his teachings do not line up with the Bible. He teaches another gospel and another Jesus. Similarly, occult things are happening in his church. If these are supposed to be “signs and wonders” that follow his ministry, confirming Johnson’s teachings, then the source of it must not be God because Johnson’s teachings are unbilbical. Not to mention that the things happening are mentioned no where in the Bible, and there is no biblical support from them happening, and the people attending are being distracted from the gospel and from Jesus Christ.

    Craig,
    Yes — sometimes I do have tangential questions and points, but I try to bring it back to Bill Johnson or hyper-charismaticism so that we can move on. If I ever go too far off topic, then you can always let me know, and I will cease talking about whatever it is I was saying.

    Yes…..and that is what tends to happen with many hyper-charismatics, effectively. They assume that no demonic power would show up if they use the name “Jesus” or if they are in a church service, or because they are “good Christians.” So anything in the spiritual realm that does show up, they assume it to be God or of God. They never think that it could possibly be Satan or demons. They don’t test things because they don’t think they need to. It feels right.

    Just like Bill Johnson saying that Jesus is “eternally God.” That is just enough orthodoxy to satisfy anyone who has any doubt, but doesn’t want to try to reconcile his statements. So if stuff starts happening in the spirit realm, they make the assumption that that is just a confirmation that Johnson is really “anointed,” and that he must be preaching the truth, and a true man of God. All spiritual experiences that happen at Bethel must be valid, etc.

    It’s dangerous thinking when we assume that we are safe.

  127. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    If Carolyn is agreeable, I’ll send you her email.

    Arwen4CJ, I’ve not found your comments to get too far off topic just yet. But, if you do, I’ll let you know.

    Yes…..and that is what tends to happen with many hyper-charismatics, effectively. They assume that no demonic power would show up if they use the name “Jesus” or if they are in a church service, or because they are “good Christians.” So anything in the spiritual realm that does show up, they assume it to be God or of God. They never think that it could possibly be Satan or demons. They don’t test things because they don’t think they need to. It feels right.

    Just like Bill Johnson saying that Jesus is “eternally God.” That is just enough orthodoxy to satisfy anyone who has any doubt, but doesn’t want to try to reconcile his statements. So if stuff starts happening in the spirit realm, they make the assumption that that is just a confirmation that Johnson is really “anointed,” and that he must be preaching the truth, and a true man of God. All spiritual experiences that happen at Bethel must be valid, etc.

    And this is my biggest issue with BC&C. If Jesus is “eternally God”, then why could He not receive the ‘title’ of Christ until baptism, and, along with that, why can anyone get this same “Christ anointing”, which implies these too would be called “Christ”? How can Jesus be divine (“eternally God”) when it’s “the anointing” that links “Jesus, the man, to the divine”? And how can the “eternally God” statements be construed as affirming the hypostatic union when put in conjunction with the preceding AND “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man”? Put all together, this certainly does not add up to the hypostatic union!

    So, then by giving Johnson’s Christology legitimacy (and I know I’ve stated this before, and I’m reiterating your points), the Bethel fan is going to think (1) there’s no big deal if Johnson’s ‘Jesus’ is correct; (2) those manifestations MUST be ‘of God’.

  128. Carolyn says:

    While I appreciate the offer, Arwen, I have so much happening around me that needs my attention, I shouldn’t even be on the internet. And that’s the simple truth. Appreciate the exchanges we have had. If time and circumstance permit, I’ll check back in a couple of months and see what’s happenin. Bye y’all.

  129. Arwen4CJ says:

    Carolyn,

    I do appreciate you and what you bring here. I hope that all goes well for you. Until we talk again…c-ya :)

    Craig,

    That’s a great way of rephrasing what you have been saying all along. It’s those questions that need to be addressed. Hmmm…perhaps another way of trying to get that information would be to ask this:

    Given that:
    1.) Johnson says that Jesus only did His miracles via the Holy Spirit (whichever flavor of kenosis someone understands Johnson to possess),

    2.) And that it was at the baptism that Jesus received the Holy Spirit (the anointing)

    3.) And that each of us can receive that same anointing and do everything that Jesus did

    Then:
    What is the difference between us and Jesus (while He walked the earth), according to Johnson?

    And what would the orthodox understanding of Jesus’ deity mean for Johnson’s theology? What I’m asking here is what purpose would Johnson have for an orthodox understanding of Jesus’ deity.

    Isn’t Johnson’s whole point of saying that Jesus stripped himself of His deity to suggest that we are just like Jesus — that Jesus was no different from us?

    If Jesus was or is no different from us — then we are left with only two conclusions:
    1.) Jesus isn’t divine, and neither are we
    or
    2.) Jesus is divine, and so are we. Whatever Jesus is or was, so are we or we will be.

    It doesn’t seem plausible to me that Johnson would go for #1, as he is so into the supernatural and things happening…..so #2 is the natural outcome of saying that we are just like Jesus, or that Jesus is just like us.

  130. Craig says:

    Yes, and this reminds me of an excerpt from here (near then end):

    Essentially, Bill Johnson, like much, if not all, of the rest of hyper-charismaticism, humanizes Jesus at the expense of His deity. This makes Jesus just like we are, and makes us just like Jesus. Once the playing field is leveled in this way, the door is opened to deify ourselves, to make ourselves into gods.

  131. Craig says:

    Recently, I was exchanging emails with someone who thought Johnson’s Christology would work (or almost work) if we saw it as Nestorian – that the divine and human natures were so separate as to be akin to two persons in the one Person of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, in the functional(ist) kenosis article I’m working on, I had already concluded that this doctrine, by necessity, effectively denies the communication of attributes, which usually is understood as part of the hypostatic union. I had not gone so far as to call it Nestorian, but, certainly, one could argue it is. Of course, if one is convinced of this argument, then we have explicit heresy.

  132. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hmmm….so that would be like someone suggesting that Jesus split Himself during the incarnation — Jesus would have a divine Person and a human Person, both of them attached to Him. So…someone might say that the divine part of Jesus was still in heaven, while his human part was on earth OR that Jesus ignored his divine self, like putting it in prison while on Earth.

    This wouldn’t be too different from what Oneness Pentecostals think — the only difference would be that they call the divine part “the Father.”

    Yes, I see how someone holding to kenosis might fall for this heresy, although they wouldn’t have to.

    I’d still be careful of suggesting that this is Johnson’s viewpoint, as we don’t have any actual evidence that this is how he thinks. It might very well be, or it might not.

  133. Craig says:

    OK, think of it this way, as regards functional(ist) kenosis in general:

    1) There is no ‘communication of attributes'; i.e., the human nature functions while the divine nature does not. Does this by itself deny the unity of the Person (and, hence, the hypostatic UNION)?

    2) If one affirms the extra calvinisticum – that the Word still performed His cosmic functions, which we must in order to agree with Scripture (Col 1:17; Heb 1:3) – then we’d have a bifurcated Word. The Word sustaining the universe would retain function of His attributes, yet the Word in the Person of Christ was not functioning at all. Does this by itself entail a sort of Nestorianism? Can the Word be functioning, yet not be functioning at the same time? But, if we do not affirm the extra calvinisticum, which is clearly not Biblical, does this amount to heresy? Without the Word performing His cosmic functions the cosmos would collapse!

    3) Now going back to Johnson and considering 1 & 2: If “Jesus, the man” was “linked to the divine” via “the anointing”, wouldn’t this imply that the divine nature in Jesus was not ‘linked’ to the human in the Person of Christ? If so, wouldn’t this entail Nestorianism in and of itself?

  134. Craig says:

    To clarify: as regards Johnson, one must not necessarily think about Jesus Christ (or the Word) still in heaven for functional(ist) kenosis. This is taking the “eternally God” statement as affirming that Jesus Christ was yet God on earth, but that His divine attributes were not functioning in the Person of Jesus Christ. In this theory/doctrine, He remains God, though choosing not to function, relying on the Holy Spirit for all supernatural workings. With all that in mind, now look at my previous comment.

  135. Craig, may I repost your articles on my blog with relevant credit to you as the author, and the original link provided? They have been a great help to me (as well as the excellent discussions that ensue), and would love to share them further afield. I have linked your site to my blog, which was mainly started to share the great discernment resources I have come across in my research, and to try and get some more conversation happening here in Australia! False gospels and spirits are rapidly spreading here also, and the fruit is rotten to the core.

    Arwen4JC – (oh dear, I think I only just got what your username means after a year of seeing it on this blog!) I really appreciate the conversations you have with Craig. They are insightful and respectful and you guys flesh out the topics well through your discussions. May the Lord bless you both!

  136. Craig says:

    Sure thing! I’m thankful they are of help.

  137. Craig says:

    The Narrowing Path,

    I want to thank you for asking for permission to post the article/s, as I’ve found some CrossWise material on the internet with no attribution, with the ‘writers’ passing it off as if it were their own. That’s not ‘merely’ plagiarism, that’s dishonest – a characteristic unbecoming a Christian. On the Why CrossWise? tab I specifically grant permission to use the material in exactly the manner in which you requested:

    “It has been said that imitation is the sincerest from of flattery, however to copy and not credit the source is a form of thievery known as plagiarism. With that in mind, if you wish to reproduce any of the articles on this site, or copy portions, I request that you give proper attribution by hyperlinking back here. Thanks in advance for your consideration.”

    I also want to encourage you to join in on the discussions!

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

  139. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Thanks. That does help clarify it.

    Hmmm…..for #1 I’m not sure if it necessarily would have to deny the hypostatic union, although I think that it definitely could. I think it would depend on the person saying it, and how they explain it, and what they think it means.

    For example, some might think of it as being just partial and not complete, even though that would go against Johnson saying that Jesus gave all the divine attributes up and could not use them while on earth.

    Johnson saying that Jesus COULD not use them does definitely imply that he does not believe in the hypostatic union, which would be heresy.

    Perhaps Johnson has a different way of interpreting Colossians and Hebrews? Or maybe he’s never considered those passages. Or maybe he simply dismisses them.

    As to your point #3 — yes — it does sound like it.

    The Narrowing Path,

    I’m glad you enjoy reading the discussion. As Craig said, you’re more than welcome to join in, too. :)

  140. Thanks Craig, for the warm welcome and for graciously not pointing out that I too could have just read your blog more carefully and gotten an answer for myself! As for plagiarizing, I am more than happy for you to take the flak for your own writings! I often add a comment of my own when I repost, but am happy to play the amusing sidekick to those more experienced than me. I am learning a great deal from people such as yourself, both in biblical discernment and as further encouragement to continue studying the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit is certainly most generous in giving discernment to us when we submit to his guidance. It is truly a joy…spiritual growth and intellectual stimulation. A match made in heaven? :-) Sherryn

  141. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Just to be sure you are understanding what I’m getting at with regards to #1 above:

    The “communication of attributes” is a way of describing the various actions of Jesus and applying them to the whole Person of Jesus Christ. So, while we know that Jesus got hungry and ate, got tired and slept, these are, of course, only things that a human can do, not God. Therefore, these actions come from the human nature of Christ. Yet, when Jesus made the claim that the miracle at Cana ‘manifested His glory’, we know that human beings are incapable of performing the miraculous in and of ourselves; therefore, it was the divine nature of Jesus Christ that changed the water into wine.

    However, we mustn’t state it quite like “it was the divine nature of Jesus that changed water into wine” and/or “it was the human nature of Jesus that ate and slept” as this would sound Nestorian on its face – as if we’re speaking of two separate persons in the Person of Christ. Therefore, we simply say “Jesus changed the water into wine” and “Jesus both ate and slept”, attributing these to the PERSON of Jesus Christ. So, we “communicate” the attributes of the individual natures to the whole Person so as not to fall into Nestorianism.

    With the above in mind, to make the claim that Jesus’ divine nature was not functioning (though otherwise completely intact) entails a denial of the “communication of attributes” precisely because the attributes were not functioning and could not be “communicated” to the Person of Jesus Christ. Could this in and of itself connote Nestorianism? Maybe. But, when we then add “the anointing” which then, essentially, only touched/activated the human and NOT the divine nature inside the Person of Christ, does THIS entail Nestorianism? If one agrees, then functional(ist) kenosis in general is Nestorian.

  142. Craig says:

    …I am more than happy for you to take the flak for your own writings!

    LOL! And, I do catch enough of that!

  143. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Hmmm….I’m understanding that a little better. But I still think that in order for it to be Nestorian that the person would need to believe in a total functional kenosis, rather than a partial one.

    From Johnson’s quotes, if he believes in functional kenosis, it would seem that it would need to be total. However, Johnson’s not always clear with his teachings, so he might hold to a situational one if directly questioned about it, yet hold to a total one if talking in general (Such as his comments about Jesus not being able to use His divine attributes).

    If Johnson isn’t getting his doctrine directly from demons, then my guess is that he just borrows theology from others, or makes stuff up, just so that it fits with whatever he thinks. Thus, I’m not sure that Johnson even tries to reconcile his theology in his own head. If he gets the doctrine from demons, then he thinks that these demons are angels. They tell him something, and he assumes it’s right because it came from the spirit realm.

    So for Johnson, he might think that he can uphold the deity of Christ while on the other hand suggest that Jesus laid aside His deity while on earth. Maybe he doesn’t care that the two views are opposed to each other, and he is just going with the revelation.

    So maybe there is no logic whatsoever to Johnson’s theology. Johnson himself has never tried to reconcile these statements, at least that I’m aware of. If he had tried to reconcile these views by stating something, then we would know for sure what flavor of heresy Johnson was advocating. As it is, he lets those who listen to him hold to whatever theology that they want.

  144. Craig says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by a ‘partial’ vs. ‘total’ functional kenosis. The doctrine of functional(ist) kenosis (fk) explicitly denies that Jesus used any of His divine attributes (though He still possessed them) during the entirety of the Incarnation, instead relying on the Holy Spirit for all miracle workings. Some may or may not explicitly affirm the extra calvinisticum, that is, that the Word used his divine attributes outside the Person of Christ in sustaining/upholding the cosmos (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17), in addition to this total non-functioning divine attributes in His earthly body.

    I’m trying to illustrate that of those who are making the claim that Johnson’s Christology can be construed as fk (though I disagree), then what I’ve been stating are the implications of such a belief, both fk in general, and then as specifically applied to Johnson given his other statements, which must somehow be reconciled with this claim of functional(ist) kenosis.

    I’d say that the argument for Nestorianism, though not conclusive perhaps, has merit. Moreover, it would be difficult to reconcile a fully functioning Word (the extra calvinisticum, in order to agree with Scripture) with a concurrent non-functioning Word (in His earthly body) – a bifurcating of the Word, which is a sort of quasi-Nestorianism itself.

  145. Arwen4CJ says:

    I just found this article online, written by Bill Johnson:

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

    In it he again says that Jesus being eternally the Son of God is an essential belief. Ok — but he doesn’t explain what he means. And did he write that specifically in order to shut up his critics? He doesn’t mention any other essential beliefs.

    Maybe he knows that if he denies Jesus’ deity, everyone will label him as a heretic. That is another possibility.

  146. Craig says:

    I’ve seen that article (it was referenced in comments in other threads). But, check this out:

    The revelation carried by Apostles and the five-fold ministry will result in a church coming to a common knowledge of the Son of God.9 Much division presently exists in this area. He is our common focus. A study of the scriptures without the Holy Spirit giving understanding creates much religious conflict. Division exists because people are committed to different levels of truth that appear contradictory. Fathers are necessary to sort these things out. Variety, without uniformity, is important. These teams carry revelation to help the church to live out of a common revelation of Jesus – who He is, and who we are because of Him. God’s aim is to fulfill His word in John 14:17 – “As He is, so are we in this world.” We are to become like the Jesus revealed in Revelation chapter one – resurrected and glorified. We are not headed for the cross – we live ‘from’ the cross. Apostolic revelation has that in mind.

    MSoG – as I show in this particular CrossWise article. And, Johnson has the gall to speak on “different levels of truth that appear contradictory”!

    And, that Scripture is 1 John 4:17 – not John 14:17 – that Johnson is proof-texting.

  147. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Okay. So this is to say that those who understand Johnson to be stating functional kenosis so that they can see the implications of such theology, proving Johnson to be a heretic.

    My comment about the partial vs. full was in reference to a comment, I’m pretty sure made by you, a long time ago. It was when people were discussing the possibility that some Johnson followers, or even those opposing him, might understand Johnson to be teaching that Jesus chose not to use some divine attributes, while still using others, and still having the ability to use them.

  148. Craig says:

    Ahh, I see. I was speaking of ontological kenosis, not functional(ist) in that regard. There are varieties of ontological, some claim it’s only the ‘omni’ attributes that Jesus no longer possessed (not continued to possess, yet not utilize, as in fk), while He had the others. OTOH, some claim that the Word divested Himself of ALL divine attributes, which amounts to a metamorphosis of the Word – from divine Word to human/man. A theologian named La Touche called this “Incarnation by divine suicide”. ADDED: All of the ontological kenosis are deemed heretical, as expressly denying the Chalcedonian Definition (Creed). Of course, this is precisely BECAUSE they violate Scripture.

  149. Craig says:

    Okay. So this is to say that those who understand Johnson to be stating functional kenosis so that they can see the implications of such theology, proving Johnson to be a heretic.

    Yes, I’m trying to show that even construing Johnson’s Christology as fk can be considered heretical, if it is seen as Nestorian.

  150. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Yeah, I saw that the article was Manifest Sons of God doctrine, and I also noticed how he basically said in there that doctrine can change because of new revelation…what God wants to reveal to us now might be something different from previously revealed…..and I’m guessing that Johnson is saying it’s okay if it disagrees.

    Hence why I was saying that I think he might have thrown in the “Jesus is eternally God” comment in there to make the whole article look orthodox when the rest of it is so heretical.

    And I also saw the “As He is in the world, so are we” comment — again suggesting that Johnson thinks that we are the same as Jesus, and that Jesus is the same as us. This leaves room for gnostic doctrine.

  151. Craig says:

    Keep in mind that by Johnson’s context He is referring to the GLORIFIED Jesus as the one we are to model, i.e., we are to become like the glorified Jesus while we are “IN THE WORLD”. So, we’re not to be like Jesus was in His earthly ministry; we are to be like Jesus in His glorification, post-Ascension, while we are walking the earth. Living “from the cross”, as Johnson states, I construe as Alice Bailey’s fifth initiation – living as MSoGs, or, in the Bailey/occult language, being Masters (gods) with the ability to go between the earthly and eternal realms at any time.

  152. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Although I came into Charismaticism/Pentecostalism from a fundamentalist Baptist background, I think that Arwen and I have probably had similar experiences. I agree with her on regarding Bill Johnson.

    “If Johnson isn’t getting his doctrine directly from demons, then my guess is that he just borrows theology from others, or makes stuff up, just so that it fits with whatever he thinks. Thus, I’m not sure that Johnson even tries to reconcile his theology in his own head. If he gets the doctrine from demons, then he thinks that these demons are angels. They tell him something, and he assumes it’s right because it came from the spirit realm.

    So for Johnson, he might think that he can uphold the deity of Christ while on the other hand suggest that Jesus laid aside His deity while on earth. Maybe he doesn’t care that the two views are opposed to each other, and he is just going with the revelation.

    So maybe there is no logic whatsoever to Johnson’s theology. Johnson himself has never tried to reconcile these statements, at least that I’m aware of. “

    My experience also tells me that his followers are largely Biblically illiterate. They know only basic Biblical facts as they relate to the current trend of phenomenon and they know the Scriptures that are usually twisted to proof-text those phenomenon. When I talk to these folk it is SCARY what they don’t know.

    We are by nature social beings. We want to belong. I know from personal experience that folk will go along in order to be “in”. And there is a HUGE lust to be able to “prophetic” and speak words that people will go, “Ooohhh” and “Wow” over. Therefore, they will not oppose or question just follow. Sounds like sheep to me!–fat vulnerable sheep–the kind that wolves just love.

    Next add a little “anointed” worship (aka contemplative, repetitive drumming and melodies) and you have a “perfect storm” for demonic deception in the form of esoteric and vague “words from the Lord”.

    Finally wrap it all up in some “touch not the Lord’s anointed” admonitions and calls to unity with pie-in-the-sky promises to be part of some end-time move of God. It’s a great recipe for spiritual disaster and a fail-proof formula to be able to say what you want without fear of scrutiny or requirement to substantiate. Johnson eschews Biblical scholarship, therefore, any claims of submission to “accountability” to the Word are a facade.

    There is no doubt that Craig has planted a few seeds. I pray that they will take root in the “elect” and that they will quickly see the truth. But sadly, those who refuse will continue to be led in their delusion. God will give them over to it.

    There’s a great story about Judson Cornwall in one of his books. He tells about helping to build a new church building by pre-cutting rafters for the new roof. Instead of using ONE board as the pattern for all, he uses each board as a measure for the next. Judson Cornwall, Let Us Praise/Let Us Worship: Two Books within One Cover,Bridge-Logos, Gainesville, Florida, pg. 26 (Praise)

    The result is some very badly cut boards that are useless for the tresses. This is exactly what Arwen is describing. “my guess is that he just borrows theology from others, or makes stuff up, just so that it fits with whatever he thinks.” They’re making stuff up as they go along, then they have to contrive and convolute to make it fit.

    The foolish sheep just trust and follow. Sad.

  153. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    True — he is talking about the glorified Jesus. As I pointed out a long time ago — some hyper-charismatics deny that Jesus was God before or during the incarnation before the resurrection. They point blank deny it. They claim that Jesus didn’t become God until after the resurrection.

    If these individuals believe that Jesus isn’t God by nature, but rather He is God because He can walk through walls and has a glorified body….then if they believe we can get our glorified bodies in this life, then hey….we’re all “gods” or “God.”

    Yet these individuals would affirm that Jesus is God, and they might even claim that Jesus was eternally God.

    In fact, the same man that told me that Jesus wasn’t God until after the resurrection was the same man who used 2 Peter 1:1 to prove Jesus’ deity to Jehovah’s Witnesses. He also took a class in church history and cried out against those who followed Arius, being upset that anyone could deny Jesus’ full deity.

    So what was this man thinking? He was either incoherent in his understanding of Jesus, or when he talked about Jesus’ deity, he was only thinking of post-resurrection Jesus. Or he made that comment to test me.

    Assuming that he honestly held to the no deity until after the resurrection (not sure what he did with the pre-incarnate Word), then he honestly thought such belief was logical. He would argue for the deity of Jesus, but unless you asked him when Jesus became God, you wouldn’t know his heretical views.

    But this kind of thinking that pre-resurrection Jesus wasn’t God isn’t confined to the hyper-charismatic world. I think I might have mentioned before that my mom also had that view, which shocked me. That means that it is taught in some mainline churches, or at least allowed in them.

    I found out my mom held to this viewpoint when I was trying to talk to her about my arguments against Jehovah’s Witness doctrine. She made a comment about the post-resurrection Jesus being God, but not the pre-resurrected Jesus.

    That’s also not to mention that at my seminary, several other students made comments in which they showed that they did not think that Jesus and the Father were the same God.

    So I wonder just how prevalent it is for people to deny Jesus’ full deity before the resurrection.

    Anyway — the point is that you could have asked my mom or the guy that I was talking about whether or not they believed that Jesus was God. They would have both answered yes, because both of them would have been thinking of the post-resurrected Jesus. As far as being eternally God, they probably both would have agreed as well, using a different definition.

    So for many — they might not even see Jesus as needing to give up His deity for His incarnation, as some might not have believed that He had it until later.

    But again, maybe individuals holding this viewpoint haven’t tried to reconcile their vewpoints. They hold two opposing views, yet they aren’t able to make the connection between how holding to both of them is impossible.

    YesNaSpanishTown,
    Great analogy with the roof!! Not only are these individuals biblically illiterate, but they are also doctrinally illiterate. They don’t know what the historic Christian church has taught about the Trinity or Jesus’ deity, or even salvation.

  154. Craig says:

    The article regarding functional(ist) kenosis I’m currently working on is multi-pronged, but it centers on a book by a bona fide Greek scholar, who is a proponent of fk, and author of a few books to include one commentary in a well-regarded commentary series (since reworked). Here’s a snippet from the book in question:

    This truth of the gift of the Holy Spirit of God given freely for all the followers of Jesus to receive has some astounding implications:

    1. Jesus was a real human being, but he was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. Thus he became the Christ par excellence (cf. 1 Sam. 10:1, 6; 16:13 with Luke 3:21-22; 4:1), enabled by the Spirit to know the mind of God and authorized to carry out the work of God.

    In a similar way the followers of Jesus, who have received this gift of the Spirit, are thus anointed by God with that same Holy Spirit and so become God’s contemporary “christs,” so that they might know the mind of God and be authorized to carry out his will in this day and age (cf. 1 John 2:20, 27).

    Does this not sound like a better articulated, and logically concluded (‘contemporary “christs”‘), Bill Johnson? He makes the same ‘error’ as Johnson with the statement “to know the mind of God”. If Jesus didn’t obtain this ability until “the anointing”, then how did He know to be “about My Father’s business” as a 12-year old in Luke 2:49?

  155. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Yes, that does sound a lot like Johnson — a much better articulated and logically concluded Johnson type theology.

    The quote you used from above could be used by both someone who believed in either type of kenosis, right?

  156. Craig says:

    Yes, it could be used in either version of kenosis (and either ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ versions of ontological kenosis).

  157. Craig says:

    I should add: By ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ ontological kenosis I mean either a divestment of some divine attributes (weak) or all divine attributes (strong).

    But, that’s astute, Arwen4CJ, that you would recognize that this particular quote can work in any form of kenosis. Is it possible that those who are promoting a functional(ist) kenosis are actually promoting a disguised ontological kenosis? Is the promotion of fk a way to appear more ‘orthodox’? I note that the advent of the modern ontological kenosis theories (mid-1800s) was around the same time as the promotion of the “historical Jesus” studies – studies of Jesus in His historical setting devoid of Scriptural pronouncements of His Deity, by using the synoptic Gospels (and reinterpreting verses which point to His deity) but not the Gospel of John. Functional(ist) kenoticism came a bit later, around the turn of the 20th century; so, I deem it possible that this same push to humanize Jesus at the expense of His Deity stemmed from the same arena. It’s just a more subtle denial of Deity, as I see it.

    Of course, I could be wrong, but it seems that those of more scholarly persuasion revert back to Chalcedon, however they do so by reinterpreting portions of it. But, the tendency is to use Chalcedon as if it were Scripture, instead of its intention as a sort of commentary culled from Scripture. In other words, those promoting the various kenotic theories do not go back and test against specific Scriptures (for if they were to, they’d find their theories not in congruence), instead relying on their (re)interpretation of Chalcedon, as if it were on par with Scripture. It’s not; it’s very well written, but it lacks the authority of Scripture.

  158. Craig says:

    To provide a sort of preview of some of what’s going to be in the next series (if I can get it finished!), here’s an article by Ivan French advocating functional(ist) kenosis (though he, like most, do not actually use that term):

    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/gtj/01-2_185.pdf

    Importantly, French affirms a human will but makes no mention of a divine will. This is known as monothelitism (mono, one; thelese, will) and was condemned as heresy at the sixth Ecumenical Council, aka Constantinople III (680/681 AD). Not all Protestant denominations recognize this, though many do (the RCC, of course, does). But, if one only affirms a human will, we have Scripture that sounds like the divine Person of Jesus Christ had the potential to have a will contrary to the Father’s, thus proposing a potential division in the Trinity. This is why it’s important to understand two wills – one human and one divine – with the human will in accord with to the divine will in the Person of Christ, with the divine will the SAME will as the Father (and the Holy Spirit). See pages 189 and 190 in the above for the author’s use of Scripture to assert a human will and then think through the implications.

    Dyothelitism (two wills) was implied at Chalcedon, but not specified in the Chalcedonian Definition. This is part of the reason why the sixth Ecumenical Council affirmed dyothelitism, while condemning monothelitism. If Christ only had one divine will (not speaking of functional kenosis here), e.g. (as some have stated), then the human nature really has no choice but to go along with the divine will, thus becoming merely the organ through which the divine would work, which seems to entail adoptionism (like Arius’ teaching in the 4th century, known as Arianism).

  159. Arwen4CJ says:

    Some who write or speak about functional kenosis might actually believe in ontological kenosis, but downplay the extent of their beliefs, just to appear more orthodox, as you suggested Craig.

    Do people holding to functional kenosis ever condemn ontological kenosis? Have there ever been debates? Are there appologetics sites where this happens? Or do those who hold to functional kenosis tolerate or even support those who hold to ontological kenosis?

    Exploring these questions might help to determine whether or not someone might look like they are supporting functional, but really be supporting ontological, if they even care about the difference. I’m not sure that Johnson or hyper-charismatics in general care about the difference.

    If they do care about the difference, and they write/speak against ontological kenosis then they probably do not hold to it. However, if they don’t speak against it, then there is a possibility they might secretly affirm it, but not necessarily.

  160. Craig says:

    Something else I thought of, in view of your most recent comment. The author of the book in question affirms that it was the inner divine glory of the Word revealed at the Transfiguration. This runs fully in line with a functional(ist) account. However, in contrast, Johnson has claimed that it was the glory of God upon Jesus at the Transfiguration, implying an ontological kenosis.

  161. Arwen4CJ says:

    Wow. Yes, I think that is an important thing to pick up on — how someone views the transfiguration. If the glory is said to come externally then…..yeah, that definitely gives some evidence that someone might likely hold to ontological kenosis.

  162. Craig says:

    This was noted in part IV of the BJ:New Age Christ? series. Here’s the Johnson quote:

    Most all of the experiences of Jesus recorded in Scripture were prophetic examples of the realms in God that are made available to the believer. The Mount of Transfiguration raised the bar significantly on potential human experience…The overwhelming lesson in this story is that Jesus Christ, the Son of man, had the glory of God upon Him. Jesus’s face shone with God’s glory, similar to Moses’s after he came down from the mountain. But Jesus’s clothing also radiated the glory of God, as if to say this was a new era as compared to Moses’s day. In this era the boundaries had changed – a veil could not be used to cover Jesus’s face as it shone with glory, as the veil itself would also soon radiate the same glory. We influence and impart what God has given us to change the nature of whatever we touch…In the kingdom, things are different.

    …Through the Spirit of the resurrected Christ living in us we are designed to carry the same glory. But we still must go up the mountain – to the place where we meet with God face to face…

  163. Hi Craig, Forgive the slight sidebar to the ongoing discussion…but the above quote reminds me of the first BJ sermon podcast I ever listened to (last year), on this exact subject (Mount of Transfiguration). I remember being so stunned at how anyone could take this passage and make it about us and what cool experiences we could get for ourselves in this life. In fact most of the sermon was about us. Very little of it was about the Lord Jesus. In all my years listening to the word of God preached, never once had this passage been presented as ‘raising the bar on potential human experience’. (It may be me that is in error in my understanding of the point of the passage, so feel free to correct me). I believe this was one of my earliest initiations into what Chris Rosebrough (PIrate Christian radio) so aptly calls ‘narcegesis’.

  164. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    Your comment is still on point, as this points to the issue of kenosis. However, also, to ‘humanize’ Jesus in this way while simultaneously depicting Jesus’ life as being the model for ours, is not unlike (in fact VERY much like) the view of Theosophy. In Theosophy, Jesus was merely a man, who had the “Christ spirit” descend upon Him at baptism, thus beginning His own journey to godhood. And, since Jesus paved the way, we can follow in His footsteps and do the same. That’s the basis on the “Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?” series. Part IV illustrates the 5 ‘initiations’ of Jesus, as per Theosophy. My contention is that Johnson’s Christology is a ‘Christianized’ version of this same teaching – just like Theosophist Alice Bailey stated (well, actually, the demon channeling through Bailey stated this).

    ADDED: “Transfiguration” is the 3rd ‘initiation’, in Theosophy.

  165. cherylu says:

    I’m just popping back in to this discussion for a minute here regarding this issue of the transfiguration. If Johnson’s Christology is really Nestorian, I don’t think what he has said here would prove that he believes in ontological kenosis, would it?

  166. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    No, my point with regard to Nestorianism is that if one construes Johnson’s Christology as functional(ist) – which I do not – then it seems to amount to Nestorian by the teaching on the “Christ anointing” in which “Jesus, the man” is linked “to the divine”.

    I still think his Christology is of the ontological variety, in fact, the ‘strong’ version, which amounts to metamorphosis.

  167. Craig says:

    I’ll add: Johnson’s quote regarding the Transfiguration, is, in fact, one of the reasons I cannot construe his teaching as of the functional(ist) kenosis variety. To me, this indicates that Johnson’s ‘Jesus’ was not God at all, since, as per Johnson’s words, it was the glory of God UPON Him, not Jesus’ own divinity showing through.

  168. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    It seems to me that believing in a “strong” version of kenosis that amounts to metamorphisis while still insisting that Jesus is eternally God would be perhaps the most inconsistent and incoherent theology that anyone could possibly come up with! How He could be God when He had “morphed” into something else is beyond me.

  169. Craig says:

    I don’t disagree with you there, but, hey, that’s Bill Johnson’s teaching – certainly, not mine!

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

    Two realms at once – eternal and temporal, divine and non-divine. MSoG. And, as per Johnson (and Alice Bailey), “As He is [the glorified Jesus], so are we in the World”

  170. cherylu says:

    My underlying point in that last comment is that if we think Johnson can be incoherent enough to believe in metamorphisis without thinking through the implications and realizing it just doesn’t work or make sense, it is also highly possible that he just hasn’t bothered to think through the consequences of all of the statements that he has made and just plain doesn’t realize how incongruent it sounds.

  171. Craig says:

    That’s one possibility. Yet, he is pretty consistent with his beliefs in many ways: “the (Christ) anointing”, with its associated teaching that Jesus obtained the ‘title’ of Christ at the Baptism of the Holy Spirit / “the anointing”; the ‘laying aside’ or ‘emptying’ of divinity; and the “eternally God” statements. I sure think it possible, given the other correlations, that Johnson is teaching a “Christianized” Theosophical Jesus.

    While some may discount Johnson as not being very bright, I, on the other hand, find him to be very intelligent and clever. Otherwise, to borrow a phrase from secular music “to be a zombie all the time requires such dedication”.

  172. Craig says:

    I’ll add this as well: If Johnson really does intend to say all the things that he states, and means for us to take them totally at face value, thus catapulting his Christology into total incoherence, then, certainly, we cannot consider this to be orthodox in the slightest degree. If this is so, I’d go further and call it outright heresy, as it specifically violates a number of Ecumenical Councils recognized in Protestantism (Chalcedon, Nicea I, off the top of my head; also implies variance with Constantinople III of 680/681).

  173. just1ofhis says:

    On the topic of setting people up for their own personal “transfiguration”/God experience:

    “We want to set the stage for your God-encounter now. Join us for three days of life-transforming, spirit-awakening, history-shaping, worship, ministry, and impartation. Expect to see miracles. Prepare to be changed. Get ready for God to iGnite you and your family to carry the flame of revival wherever you go.”

    http://chavdaministries.org/Groups/1000092918/Chavda_Ministries_International/Events/iGnite_Family_Conference/iGnite_Family_Conference.aspx

    ….Featuring none other than B and B Johnson.

    If it had no appeal, they would have been run out of business long ago. This is deadly poison.

  174. Craig says:

    And, complete with “SATURDAY EVENING IMPARTATION & MIRACLE SERVICE”.

    I already have an “impartation”; it’s called the indwelling Holy Spirit, the true chrisma (anointing – see 1 John 2:20, 27). They can keep their initiation, er, uh “impartation”. It’s quite amazing they just KNOW there will be “miracles” on Saturday.

    The Chavda’s run in the same circles as all the other hyper-charismatics. They endorse each others books.

  175. Craig says:

    I have to admit that I weary of this whole thing on Bill Johnson, and that I’ve been moving on to studying more truth rather than focusing so much on Johnson. However, thanks to the guys over at Bethel Church and Christianity (Facebook), I saw this ‘sermon’ of Bill Johnson:

    http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/thinking-from-the-throne

    First of all, note the date of this ‘sermon’ – June 9, 2013 – and compare to the date of the publication of this particular CrossWise article: The same date! The article was essentially finished the day before, as I was putting it together throughout the week, but finishing touches and final editing was done on Sunday, the 9th. If I had heard this particular message of Johnson, no doubt I would have asserted that Johnson DOES, in fact, share the same MSoG view as Bill Britton.

    Frankly, for those who’ve read the material here on CrossWise, this ‘sermon’ is just further indication that Bill Johnson is not only teaching MSoG, but a “Christianized” New Age Christology and overall theology (MSoG doctrine is a parallel of New Age teaching by itself).

    Here’s a partial transcript. Bold and italics are added for my emphasis, while ALL CAPS indicates Johnson’s emphasis:

    …I want to pick up where we kinda left off here a few weeks ago so, uh, the series that I started about the Throne life, the Ascended lifestyle. And I want to… start by, by inviting you to consider things that are not easy to consider – not easy because they’re so big. Oftentimes the Bible will come upon a truth and the Lord will unveil something in Scripture and honestly, quite frankly because it is so large it is easier…they’re just so extremely large that they’re easier to treat in a light-hearted way and move on to something else. That’s what this subject is about.

    Jesus stood before His disciples, before Nicodemus in John chapter 3, and He made this statement, He said, “No one has ascended into heaven except He that descended.” Now this is before His death, before His Resurrection; so He was describing here a lifestyle of intimacy with the Father where even though He was standing on earth He had ascended into realms in His relationship with God. The point being, that is an invitation for every believer. The Apostle Paul coined a phrase, found language for this later when he talked about every believer is seated in heavenly places, in Christ. So, picture this: Jesus was raised from the dead by the Spirit of Resurrection; where He was Resurrected, He Ascended to heaven, and He was seated at the right hand of the Father, and then was glorified. Alright? So, we have Resurrected, Ascended, and Glorified.

    Jesus accomplished that on your behalf and mine, so much so that the Bible says we were raised with Him. So, His Resurrection is actually our resurrection. To put it in a little more potential [sic] offensive way: We – because of your faith in Christ – we are as raised from the dead as is Jesus, because it is actually HIS resurrection. It’s not like He was raised and then He shared some of that with us – that’s not it. The Bible says we were raised together with Christ. His Resurrection IS my resurrection.

  176. Craig says:

    A little bit later, Johnson goes over to Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. He stresses the word “bodily”. Not being in attendance, I’m left to wonder if he made a gesture towards the audience as indicating THEY were the body of Christ – as others have done. Johnson makes the point “not just His head, but BODILY”, which appears to allude to Col 1:18, “He is the head of the body, the church…” And, later he DEFINITELY makes the connection. Just as he’s said before in reference to MSoG: “As He is (the glorified Jesus), so are we in the world”.

  177. Craig says:

    According Johnson, just as Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, so are we. Folks, that’s BLASPHEMY.

    “..the renewed mind considers reality from what the Lamb has accomplished”

    He has used the term reality throughout the ‘sermon’, and “renewed mind” comes with “repentance”, i.e. “soaking” aka contemplative prayer, aka TM. You can read about this further in this previous Crosswise article:

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

    At the very end he fully explains what he means in this post here (and it’s MSoG):

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/another-challenge-to-bill-johnsonbethel-supporters/

  178. Arwen4CJ says:

    I can take a good guess — but I wonder what all it means to Johnson to live an “ascended lifestyle.” From the opening comments in the transcript, it seems like this sermon was part of a series of sermons he’s in the process of giving. I’d be curious to see what the names of each sermon was.

    From the transcript above:
    “He said, “No one has ascended into heaven except He that descended.” Now this is before His death, before His Resurrection; so He was describing here a lifestyle of intimacy with the Father where even though He was standing on earth He had ascended into realms in His relationship with God. The point being, that is an invitation for every believer. The Apostle Paul coined a phrase, found language for this later when he talked about every believer is seated in heavenly places, in Christ. So, picture this: Jesus was raised from the dead by the Spirit of Resurrection; where He was Resurrected, He Ascended to heaven, and He was seated at the right hand of the Father, and then was glorified. Alright? So, we have Resurrected, Ascended, and Glorified.”

    Things I notice:
    1.) It seems that Johnson is trying to make a distinction between pre-resurrected Jesus and post-resurrected Jesus. I say this because he says “now this is before His death, before His resurrection; SO He was describing here a lifestyle of intimacy with the Father…..

    2.) Since Johnson has explained this passage this way, when in context we know that Jesus is talking about His pre-existance before the incarnation (being eternally God), then we must take this seriously. It seems that Johnson does NOT believe that Jesus is eternally God after all, despite his quick statements to the contrary.

    This is exactly what I mean — we have to look at the actual content of his teachings to find out what he’s actually teaching rather than quick little posts on Facebook or Twitter that he made just so he could appear orthodox.

    If Johnson really believed that Jesus was eternally God, then he would have affirmed that here. But he doesn’t. Instead he teaches the opposite. Johnson rules out all possibility that Jesus was eternally God from the beginning.

    Not only that, but then he turns that passage into being all about us and what we can accomplish spiritually, going up to third heaven or whatever.

    Next paragraph:
    “Jesus accomplished that on your behalf and mine, so much so that the Bible says we were raised with Him. So, His Resurrection is actually our resurrection. To put it in a little more potential [sic] offensive way: We – because of your faith in Christ – we are as raised from the dead as is Jesus, because it is actually HIS resurrection. It’s not like He was raised and then He shared some of that with us – that’s not it. The Bible says we were raised together with Christ. His Resurrection IS my resurrection.”

    My response:
    So the whole purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection was so that we could have visits in the spiritual realms, according to Johnson, and also so that we could get our glorified bodies now, and be just like resurrected Jesus…..

    Nice job, Bill Johnson. You’ve just affirmed your heresy and your allegiance to Manifest Sons of God doctrine, and you have also completely proven to us that you do not believe that Jesus is eternally God. You’ve taken verses from the Bible that speak specifically about Jesus, and then gone and applied them to all believers. In fact that’s what you seem to do with all of Christianity. You make everything in the Bible about us and what we get to accomplish spiritually. You preach about us, and how great we can be or are, and not God or how great God is.

    Craig,
    I’d be interested in seeing the transcript where he talks about Colossians 2:9.

    I’d also like to see this part of the transcript that you alluded to here:
    “And, later he DEFINITELY makes the connection. Just as he’s said before in reference to MSoG: “As He is (the glorified Jesus), so are we in the world”.”

    After reading what he actually preaches, I have to assume that Johnson actually does deny that Jesus is eternally God, and that he just makes statements like that because he is either twisting the definition of eternally God in his mind so he can answer “truthfully,” or he is just out right lying so that he appears orthodox. He wants people to look at that statement and say, “Johnson is orthodox. We should leave him alone and not look at his teachings on this subject further. He has satisfied us.”

  179. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig wrote:
    “According Johnson, just as Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, so are we. Folks, that’s BLASPHEMY.

    “..the renewed mind considers reality from what the Lamb has accomplished”

    He has used the term reality throughout the ‘sermon’, and “renewed mind” comes with “repentance”, i.e. “soaking” aka contemplative prayer, aka TM. You can read about this further in this previous Crosswise article:

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

    At the very end he fully explains what he means in this post here (and it’s MSoG):”

    My response:
    Craig, might you include the transcript of those portions?

    I’ll listen to his sermon sometime, but I don’t know how long that sermon will be available to listen to. That way if people stumble on this months from now they will be able to read exactly what Johnson is saying.

  180. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Presently, don’t have time to transcribe those other portions. Also, the podcast is downloadable to mp3.

    Keep in mind that, as per Johnson, it was only by virtue of the “Christ anointing” that Jesus was divine on earth, and we become ‘divine’ by this same “Christ anointing” in the same way. Also, note that Johnson IS talking about two realms – the earthly and the “ascended” heavenly at the same time.

  181. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Is it possible Johnson IS still affirming eternal deity, as in the fact that eternity has no beginning or end? One could construe that when ANYONE enters the eternal realm they’ve always been eternal, or that once entering the eternal realm one is simply “eternal”. That’s not exactly correct, at least from a temporal perspective, but, it’s a possible way to reconcile all of Johnson’s statements. Obviously, if we are already ascended, as per Johnson, we are already in the eternal realm. See what I mean?

  182. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    No problem. I’m listening to it now. Thanks for letting us all know about this.

  183. Arwen4CJ says:

    This is awful “preaching.” Yes, that might be possible to construe always being eternal like that, with a twisted definition of it.

    He’s all over the place with this sermon — and it isn’t really coherent. There is a weak thread that goes through this entire sermon, but it isn’t strong, and he is not a good speaker.

    “Jesus died as you, Jesus resurrected as you?”

    “The Lord is longing to live on earth again through people….” yeah, Manifested Sons of God.

  184. Craig says:

    I don’t know; I find it coherent – as long as one sees through the lens of Theosophy, with the intent to bend Scripture into occult doctrine. Jesus is our model, essentially, that is, Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension are all OURS to experience, and by these experiences (initiations) one can ‘think’ and ‘see’ the Father as Jesus did:

    The challenge in these things that we’re looking at…it’s not possible to wrap my head around it in the sense of comprehending…But, what is possible is that through Biblical meditations, which is filling your mind with truth, through consideration of a truth that seems to be too big, too good to be true – by consideration of that truth – The Lord actually invites us into encounter where we start thinking and seeing according to the Biblical reality [of Jesus' example].

  185. Arwen4CJ says:

    Maybe incoherent was the wrong word to use. I guess what I meant is that it felt to me like Johnson was all over the Bible, and that he wasn’t focused enough. He was preaching on a theme, sure, rather than on one particular Bible passage. But I felt like the points he was trying to make…well, that his transitions between these things were not that well done. He tried to connect his points, but he just didn’t do a very good job of that.

    Yes, there was an overall theme he was preaching on, but he just didn’t present it well.

    I guess I just don’t like his “preaching” style. It was hard for me to follow. He also through in heretical statements, and it felt like Johnson was trying to move as quickly through the material as possible.

  186. just1ofhis says:

    “Jesus accomplished that on your behalf and mine, so much so that the Bible says we were raised with Him. So, His Resurrection is actually our resurrection.To put it in a little more potential [sic] offensive way: We – because of your faith in Christ – we are as raised from the dead as is Jesus, because it is actually HIS resurrection. It’s not like He was raised and then He shared some of that with us – that’s not it. The Bible says we were raised together with Christ. His Resurrection IS my resurrection. ”

    imo, This statement puts BJ into very interesting company:

    “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene (my note: or, in BJ’s case, like peanut butter). Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.” (2 Tim 2:16-18)

    This is the same heresy these two men, called out by Paul by name, were leading Christians astray with. It is a lie. And it is DESTROYING the faith of those who choose to follow it. I don’t know, Craig, are you “as resurrected as Jesus” (a statement which would need to include a physical resurrection, btw)? When I got out of bed this morning, it was still the tent of this body that I was walking around it. Anyone have anything different to report? Any glorified bodies out there?

    It isn’t easy to wash peanut butter out of the jar.

  187. Thanks Craig, I had forgotten about that part of Alice Bailey’s writings (i.e. the transfiguration initiation stage). BJ definitely teaches thinly disguised Theosophy among other blasphemous lies that of course originate from the one ancient source. What will he come up with next?

    Curiously, I have a kind friend who has extensive knowledge and experience of the teachings and manifestations of the new age, occult, theosophy and Rudolph Steiner, and Catholic mysticism (including her own visions of what she believed were angels AND Jesus, as a Catholic teenager). One day recently we sat and went through the teachings (and manifestations) of BJ and others in the WOF/MSoG/signs and wonders movement. I raised the teachings that concerned me and she clearly articulated the many places where those teachings matched the various beliefs she dabbles in (including the law of attraction, reiki etc.).

    Ironically, SHE understood my concerns and desire to protect purity of the Christian doctrine. She finds it very disturbing that these things are being taught in churches calling themselves Christian, and vehemently denies they are Christian at all. As she will attest, doctrine most definitely does matter, whatever you believe!

  188. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    I didn’t even think about 2 Tim 2:16-18, but you are absolutely right. I think the specific context, though, is that somehow there were those who had been resurrected and the rest of the believers did not go. However, I’d say the ‘spirit’ of the passage applies.

    I’m most definitely not as resurrected/glorified as Jesus, as I’m fighting an episode of gout in my right ankle joints. Believe me, it HURTS!

  189. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    I came across something similar a few years ago, and posted it in one of the comments here. A woman’s daughter had been into the occult, and her mother had helped her get out. They began attending a particular Church (if memory serves it was an offshoot of Bethel, but I’m not 100% sure), and the daughter told her mom that they were teaching the same things as her former occultism!

  190. @ Just1ofhis…I can testify – no resurrection body yet. No ascended lifestyle in this house (unless by that BJ means when I go upstairs to the kids’ rooms?) Nope, still stuck with chronic pain, quirky kids who love God, a messy house and a deep and abiding love for the Lord Jesus Christ and his powerful and perfect Word, the Bible. I guess that’s why I attend what some would term a “stuffy old Bible-preaching, God-fearing, Rick Warren-less, Alpha-less, worship band-less Anglican church”, full of those really nerdy Christians who love reading God’s word, singing hymns to the sounds of a pipe organ, and who often go to church twice on Sunday! Praise God from who ALL blessings flow… :-)

  191. Aboslutely Craig, it is an increasingly common story. In fact, people like Warren B Smith (Lighthouse Trails Research) and Mike Oppenheimer (Let Us Reason Ministries) have had similar experiences only many years ago. The work they have done in writing many articles on the subject was a huge eye opener for me last year when I first started researching this stuff. I t reminded me of all of the warnings we got at our Southern/Conservative Baptist missionary school I went to. We were warned about the new age back then, and that it was creeping into the church. After a while I just stopped listening. I am all ears now.

    It seems very relevant to discuss the new age roots of teachings in the Christian church when viewing it in the broader picture of a move to a global religion. It took me 7 months to put the pieces together, so it is great to be able to share information so that other believers can discern for themselves. Caution and much prayer are needed when exposing ourselves to false teachings for the purposes of research…and massive doses of God’s word.

  192. Arwen4CJ says:

    The Narrowing Path,

    I’m wondering if you could ask your friend whether she sees Theosophy as dealing with occult powers. From your above post it seems that that is the case. Next, I’d like you to ask her a little about occult manifestations — like gold dust, angel feathers, glory clouds, and the like. Are manifestations similar to the ones occurring in hyper-charismaticism? (I’m guessing that the answer will be yes.)

    Furthermore, I’d like to know about the spiritual experiences — like seeing angels. Do people in the occult encounter spirits named “Jesus” or “Holy Spirit?” I’m sure this will be a mixed bag, as some of the people in the occult hate Christianity, so it’s unlikely that a demon would name itself a Christian sound name when appearing to those people. To others who are not opposed to a gnostic or occult “Christianity,” or someone who thinks that all religions are the same, this might be attractive. And if there is one that calls itself “Holy Spirit,” do these individuals address it with “Holy Spirit” with no definite article in front?

    Yes, I think it is necessary to explore the occult background of hyper-charismatic belief and practice. Some might claim “Satan copied God” with these things, as they claim with pagan dancing drum music (I’m talking about the pagan drum music that has been featured at some hyper-charismatic conferences in which the only instrument used is the drum, and people dance around exactly like pagans do).

    I think that is also the argument that hyper-charismatics use for things like levitation, etc. Sigh.

  193. Arwen4CJ says:

    You know, I was thinking…..perhaps Bill Johnson cannot understand the clear meaning of John chapter 3 because God has blinded him to understanding it. And maybe the interpretation that he gave was just what he’d always heard among his peers and in his church education. If this is the case, then Johnson wouldn’t know it was a passage affirming Jesus’ eternal deity, so he wouldn’t mention it….

    So maybe it doesn’t necessarily mean Johnson does not believe it…..in and of itself.

  194. cherylu says:

    Am trying to listen to that sermon. Not sure I will make it through it though. It is too nuts.

    Arwen said, If Johnson really believed that Jesus was eternally God, then he would have affirmed that here. But he doesn’t. Instead he teaches the opposite. Johnson rules out all possibility that Jesus was eternally God from the beginning.

    I don’t think I follow you here Arwen. And I don’t think it at all follows that if BJ believes Jesus was God that he would of affirmed it here.

  195. cherylu says:

    What is really driving me nuts right from the start here though is that he says this is how Jesus lived pre resurrection and so should/can we. But he then goes on to say that it was Jesus resurrection that made this possible for us. Now in my opinion that is incoherent!

  196. Craig says:

    cherlyu,

    That’s classic MSoG (which is analogous to occult teaching). One ‘ascends’ by increasing “Christ consciousness”, i.e, Transcendental Meditation (“a lifestyle of intimacy with the Father”), though full, actual “ascension” occurs as one progresses figuratively through “the Transfiguration”, “the Great Renunciation” (the cross), and “Ascension”. Upon ascension, the individual soul/spirit has emancipated him/herself from the body, but now has the possibility of taking a “resurrection” body and returning to the earthly realm. If one does this, they live in two realms at once – the eternal and temporal. If this is how Johnson means this, then Jesus had already previously ‘ascended’ via expanding His “Christ consciousness” (in a previous incarnation?) before he actually, physically, died, rose and ascended as Jesus of Nazareth (with the “Christ anointing”). And, because “Jesus is our model”, we can also ‘ascend’, though we don’t actually have to physically, die, be raised, or ascend; we just spiritually, figuratively ‘ascend’ by following our model, Jesus.

    If Jesus had ascended in a previous incarnation, then we don’t have an exact replica of the Alice Bailey teachings (though close), but that is not even the goal of New Age. The goal is to pervert Christianity, as per Bailey:

    …The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance [ED: occult/esoteric meaning]. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated…

  197. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    Where have you read MSoG that takes things that far? I will agree that it is many ways analogous to occult teaching. However, I have never read anything that makes me think MSoG folks go nearly as far as the classic occutic teaching you are speaking of in the rest of your first paragraph.

    And I think it is seriously pushing it to suggest that Bill Johnson may indeed be taking things that far. Possble? I suppose so. But goodness me, I think you need a whole lot more proof then you have ever shown me to think that may be the case and to even suggest such a thing as a serious possiblity.

  198. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    One of the hallmarks of occult teaching is re-appropriating words/concepts and changing the meanings. The NA goal is to infiltrate Christianity ‘under the radar’ by using this exact tactic. I’ve already shown this in numerous articles on this site. “Resurrection life” is a euphemism for the occult ‘ascension’ concept, and many in the NAR have used this, including Johnson. “Soaking”, aka “soaking in His presence”, aka contemplative prayer IS the same basic methodology as TM, which is analogous to “expanding” one’s “Christ consciousness”. This, of course, doesn’t mean all who practice this have the same meaning attached, but it sure seems as though this is what the leaders are espousing. If not, why the focus on “experiencing His presence” and the like, which leads to increased ‘spirituality’, “intimacy with the Father”?

    But, one must ask why the term “manifest sons of God” is used by those in hyper-charismatism when it’s the exact name used in the occult. I’m sure you’ll agree that one of the tenets in the hyper-charismatic MSoG concept is achieving ‘resurrection’ bodies in the here and now.

    I’ve quoted Todd Bentley from 08/08/08 at Joyner’s Morningstar in this article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-ii/

    …I got up to the fourth floor, the door opened, it was Romans 8, the manifestation of the sons of God, power, dominion, and it was called ‘Resurrection Life. And that’s when I said, ‘God, I’m not focused on raising the dead anymore, I want resurrection life.’

    Do you know raising the dead isn’t something that happens? Raising the dead is a person. Resurrection isn’t something that happens – resurrection is a person. Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection, I am the life.’ Raising the dead is Jesus. When the dead are raised, it’s Jesus…Resurrection is Jesus, not something that happens…

    God’s going to move the church into such a realm… But, we’re moving into a realm of Romans 8: resurrection life; power; dominion over every sin, sickness, disease, death…Because everything is the person of Jesus. [ed: this is something that Johnson alludes to in this 'sermon' as well] And, we are pressing in for that ‘Romans 1:4 anointing. Do you know how Jesus was raised from the dead? By the spirit of holiness and declared by the resurrection of the dead. And, I just believe there’s an impartation to call forth ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory‘ [ed: the same verse the occult perverts to this same end] – the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.

    And, I want to take one moment church, and I want to press in, I want you to press in with me, to go from one floor, to two floors, to three levels, to four. And, let’s progress and let’s say, ‘God, beyond raising the dead, beyond notable miracles, beyond healing, let there be a release in the Church of the realm of glory and power and dominion and authority that affects everything that’s death and decay around us.’ And, it’s true victory, it’s true resurrection life, true resurrection power, and true resurrection glory

    People will be made alive – born again.

    If you’re looking for irrefutable proof, then you may not find it. But, I must ask, what OTHER realistic possibility is there, when there are so many occult parallels?

    I guess what gets me is that many are so quick to just excuse this sort of thing as merely aberrant, yet will state that it’s spiritually dangerous. What makes it spiritually dangerous? If it’s just ‘of the flesh’, how is that “spiritually dangerous”?

  199. Craig says:

    In part IV of the BJ: New Age Christ? series I show how Johnson’s teaching resembles the occult MSoG concept of ‘initiations of Jesus’ to include Johnson’s take on the “Baptism in the Holy Ghost/Spirit”, Transfiguration, the Cross, Ascension / “resurrection life”. The connections may seem tenuous to you, but, again, I’d ask for you to give a better potential reason for Johnson’s teachings, specifically in regard the foregoing (in this comment).

  200. cherylu says:

    Having our bodies changed to resurrection bodies in the here and now is one thing. Ascending to heaven and getting a new body with the option of coming back to earth and reincarnation? Literally living in one body in heaven and another body on earth at the same time? To me that is another matter completely. To use their own words, “taking things to another whole level.”

    Just becasue the hypercharismatic crew has gone off the deep end and fallen for what certainly appears to be doctrines of demons does not mean that they have bought into the whole occultic program hook, line, and sinker. And it also does not mean that folks are deliberately teaching what they know is occultic and are deliberately trying to fulfill a demonic prophecy given many years ago.

    But you and I have covered this same groung several times in the past. No point in going over it
    again and again now.

  201. Craig says:

    Literally living in one body in heaven and another body on earth at the same time? To me that is another matter completely.

    OK, let’s start with this one. In this particular CrossWise article I used Ephesians 2:6 to show how Scripture states that believers are NOW in the heavenly realm. I described it as the theological concept of the already but not yet, stressing the fact that we are not bi-located. From there I posited that this ‘bi-located’ concept (by perverting this verse) may be what Johnson means by an “eternally God” Jesus yet one who “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”, i.e., a temporal non-divine Jesus. This is precisely what Johnson has alluded to in the ‘sermon’ in question. Johnson used this EXACT Scripture towards this same end! And, to boot, he used the same Scripture that Britton used – John 3:13 (from the article) – to describe the concept.

    …Jesus stood before His disciples, before Nicodemus in John chapter 3, and He made this statement, He said, “No one has ascended into heaven except He that descended.” Now this is before His death, before His Resurrection; so He was describing here a lifestyle of intimacy with the Father where even though He was standing on earth He had ascended into realms in His relationship with God. The point being, that is an invitation for every believer. The Apostle Paul coined a phrase, found language for this later when he talked about every believer is seated in heavenly places, in Christ [ED: Eph 2:6]…

    I don’t know how much more ‘proof’ one can get! It’s almost as though (and may well be) the Lord gave this to me KNOWING Johnson would be teaching on this very thing on June 9!

    Here’s the Bill Britton quote (as from the article):

    Jesus told Nicodemus a very strange thing in John 3:13. He said that He was living in heaven at the same time he was living on earth. It was too much for Nicodemus to comprehend, as well as for many of God’s people today. But it was true. Hebrews 10:20 tells us that the Veil that separated heaven and earth was His flesh.

    One side of the Veil faced the sanctuary with its candlestick and the priests who ministered daily. This was his earthly existence, living under a skin covering. But the other side of the same veil faced the Holy of Holies and the Skekinah Presence of His Father. So he could say “I do only those things I see my Father do – I say only those things that please Him”. He lived on the earth where men could see him, in an earth body. But in that body He also walked continually in a heavenly place on the other side of the veil. And I see a people who live in “tent” bodies which have been redeemed from the sense realm, a people who walk victoriously because they walk in the spirit. Jesus showed us the way.

    Is that not the same basic thing Johnson just stated?

  202. cherylu says:

    It might very well be the same thing Johnson was saying. However, note that Bill Britton did not say that He had one body in heaven and another one on earth.

    And that and the idea of reincarnation were the two places that I specifically asked if you had ever read anywhere where MSoG folks go that far.

  203. Craig says:

    Yes, but Britton said He was in heaven (eternal realm) and yet on earth (temporal realm), with the title of the subsection “A MAN IN TWO WORLDS”. I don’t think it much of a stretch to be not incongruent to Johnson’s “eternally God” yet temporally non-divine Jesus.

    I don’t know that Johnson is alluding to reincarnation or not; but, in any case, the account of Johnson is so close to Britton, that that is a minor, if not moot point, i.e., Johnson doesn’t have to be referring to reincarnation at all. I posited that as an if. But, no, I’ve not seen anything definitively teaching reincarnation, though I think that Bob Jones did at a conference at Bethel, as I mentioned in part II of the BJ: New Age Christ? series.

  204. Craig says:

    I think the main issue is that you are looking for absolute correlation. I don’t think we’re going to find ‘em. This is precisely because the goal is to keep it hidden/secret (that’s the actual meaning of occult or esoteric).

    One thing I know we can agree on is that these doctrines by Johnson that we’re talking about are NOT Biblical. That is an absolute!

  205. Arwen4CJ says:

    cherylu,

    What I was thinking was the total context of John chapter 3. When I read Jesus saying this:
    “13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.”
    And I read the rest of that account, I’ve always understood Jesus to be talking about His pre-existence with the Father. Jesus goes on to say that the Father sent the Son into the world, etc. That’s the way I have always understood that particular verse — in light of the other verses surrounding it.

    I never even considered any other meaning for it.

    Now, we have Johnson come along and say that it means that Jesus had spiritual experiences (like trips to Third Heaven, soaking, etc — I’m sure that is what Johnson has in mind when he talked about Jesus having intimacy with the Father, and that we should have that same intimacy, in regard to this verse).

    I just took another look at the verse and the surrounding verses, and I now understand why Johnson thinks that. But his interpretation does not fit with the verses immediately after, in the same account when Jesus goes into talking about how the Father sent Him.

    I admit in a later comment that maybe Johnson has never interpreted the passage the way that I always have, and has never thought of it showing Jesus’ pre-existence.

    When I made the original comment, I was thinking that my understanding of that verse was clear to anyone reading that passage. So my thinking went like this:
    If Johnson left it out, that meant that Johnson did not believe in Jesus’ pre-existence. And if he preached on that passage and tried to exegete it at all, he would have mentioned that. I felt that it was that essential to the passage.

    But now that I’ve considered that maybe Johnson never understood the verse to mean what I’ve always thought of it as, then it doesn’t mean Johnson does not believe Jesus is eternally God, necessarily.

  206. Craig says:

    I personally have about a dozen (probably more) commentaries on the Gospel of John (it’s my favorite Biblical book), and there are a number of different interpretations for John 3:13. One is that the verse indicates theophanies/christophanies of Jesus in the OT, with Jesus ‘ascending’ following his appearance on earth (I disagree). One commentary posits that Jesus’ words stopped at John 3:12, with the following words starting in 3:13 by the narrator instead. This is a possible explanation (the original Greek does not contain any punctuation); however, I disagree with this as well. I plan on writing an article on this particular verse in the future.

  207. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    When I’ve seen those in the NAR/hyper-charismatic world use ascension, I’ve always thought that they were talking about elite spiritual experiences, such as taking trips up to Third Heaven (probably very similar to out of body experiences, though I was never in a church that actually talked about taking spiritual trips like that. I’ve just seen online articles and videos in which Patricia King and Bob Jones and Todd Bentley mentioned it.)

    The same is true when they talk about the living the resurrection, or however they want to phrase it. This to me seems to be an elite spiritual term to describe a lifestyle of signs and wonders and miracles…as if they are little gods.

    (Please note that my understanding of what I think they are trying to convey with these concepts is still false and would still be engaging in occult)

    Might my understanding of these concepts be the public image that these teachers want to give? And they really do go as far as you have suggested with outright occult teachings? Perhaps.

  208. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Keep in mind that in Johnson’s ‘sermon’ here he explicitly equates (fuses together?) Jesus’ physical ascension with a ‘spiritualized’ version of it.

    Jesus stood before His disciples, before Nicodemus in John chapter 3, and He made this statement, He said, “No one has ascended into heaven except He that descended.” Now this is before His death, before His Resurrection; so He was describing here a lifestyle of intimacy with the Father where even though He was standing on earth He had ascended into realms in His relationship with God. The point being, that is an invitation for every believer. The Apostle Paul coined a phrase, found language for this later when he talked about every believer is seated in heavenly places, in Christ. So, picture this: Jesus was raised from the dead by the Spirit of Resurrection; where He was Resurrected, He Ascended to heaven, and He was seated at the right hand of the Father, and then was glorified. Alright? So, we have Resurrected, Ascended, and Glorified.

    Jesus accomplished that on your behalf and mine, so much so that the Bible says we were raised with Him. So, His Resurrection is actually our resurrection. To put it in a little more potential [sic] offensive way: We – because of your faith in Christ – we are as raised from the dead as is Jesus, because it is actually HIS resurrection. It’s not like He was raised and then He shared some of that with us – that’s not it. The Bible says we were raised together with Christ. His Resurrection IS my resurrection.

  209. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Okay, when you compare the occult practices in the hyper-charismatic church — like soaking with expanding Christ consciousness, then I think it is much easier for people to see the connection with what you have been talking about.

  210. cherylu says:

    No argument that these doctrines aren’t Biblical. Beyond that, I still think that you often seem to be straining very hard to make everything about these guys, and BJ in particular, fit in with the fulfillment of an old demonic prophecy. And in a way that makes them knowing and willing participants in bringing the prophecy to pass.

    It just seems like you are so focused on that prophecy that you can not see anything else.

  211. Craig says:

    I just read Bill Fawcett’s comments/analysis of this ‘sermon': “…the main doctrinal thrust of the message is that we live in a spiritual universe, and the present world is just an illusion…” Well, that’s Gnosticism (and Neoplatonism), the theological backdrop for New Age occultism! And, that’s been EXACTLY my point for a LONG TIME. I expressly made that point here:

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

    …most especially with the way Johnson uses the term reality, which mirrors the Neoplatonic and Theosophical / New Age concept, which, importantly was also taught by Kenyon (contrary to Robert Bowman’s book that Fawcett has been espousing). Kenyon’s first newsletter was actually titled Reality. Look at these Johnson quotes with the understanding that “reality” is the spiritual, while the material is the “sense realm”, while also understanding that repentance is a euphemism for “soaking”, aka contemplative prayer, etc., while considering the doctrine of ‘ascension’ Johnson just explicated in his June 9 ‘sermon':

    Renewing the mind begins with repentance. That is the gateway to return to our original assignment on earth. Jesus said, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ To many Christians, repent refers to having an altar call where people come forward and weep at the altar to get right with God. This is a legitimate expression of repentance, but it’s not what the word repentance means. ‘Re’ means to go back. ‘Pent’ is like the penthouse, the top floor of the building. Repent, then, means to go back to God’s perspective on reality. And in that perspective there is a renewal, a reformation that affects our emotions, and every part of our lives.

    …Having a renewed mind is often not an issue of whether or not someone is going to heaven, but of how much of heaven he or she wants in his or her life right now…

    The only way to consistently do Kingdom works is to view reality from God’s [eternal] perspective…

    …He wants you to see reality from God’s perspective, to learn to live from His world toward the visible world…

    That one is also clearly MSoG.

    The focus of repentance is to change our way of thinking until the presence of His Kingdom fills our consciousness. The enemy’s attempt to anchor our affections to the things that are visible is easily resisted when our hearts are aware of the presence of His world…

    If the Kingdom is here and now, then we must acknowledge it’s in the invisible realm. Yet being at hand reminds us that it’s also within reach

    There’s an allusion to the New Age “Christ consciousness” teaching.

    And, this one may be the most concise one for the Gnostic Dualism of the material (evil, sense) realm to the spirit (good) realm:

    …That which is unseen can be realized only through repentance. It was as though He said, ‘If you don’t change the way you perceive things, you’ll live your whole life thinking what you see in the natural is the superior reality

  212. cherylu says:

    Arwen, I saw your explanatory comment right after I posted that question to you. Thanks!

  213. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    OK, please see my comment above at 3:19, and then read through the associated article. I’m glad Fawcett saw the ‘spiritual’ is true, while the material is illusory concept.

  214. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Okay, when you compare the occult practices in the hyper-charismatic church — like soaking with expanding Christ consciousness, then I think it is much easier for people to see the connection with what you have been talking about.

    It really is difficult to put this stuff into words such that the reader will understand. It requires defining (and showing the redefined) terms, which takes repetition. I know one must read my articles slowly to digest what I’m saying; this is, in part, because most who are not blinded by this stuff are used to seeing Scripture in its proper usage rather than a redefined/esoteric usage (an example is your pre-understanding of John 3:13, as you’ve illustrated). So, it creates a sort of cognitive dissonance. The articles take a LONG TIME to put together, and perhaps I assume too much on the reader.

  215. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    I’ve had three different online conversations on various subjects going on today in different places. To keep my personal sanity, and to get something else done besides read and type, I have to get off of the computer! My brains are feeling fried. :(

  216. Craig says:

    It doesn’t take much for my brain to become fried any longer…

  217. Craig says:

    I’m going to post some Alice Bailey quotes so that readers can compare. First here’s one on MSoG; compare this to Johnson’s ‘sermon’ and this particular CrossWise article:

    Let me state here briefly and succinctly, what it would appear really transpired when Christ died on the Cross. He rendered up the form aspect and identified Himself as Man with the life aspect of Deity. He thereby liberated us from the form side of life, of religion and of matter, and demonstrated to us the possibility of being in the world and yet not of the world,*living as souls, released from the trammels and limitations of the flesh, while yet walking on earth

    Now “Christ consciousness”:

    …the motive must be the one that incited Christ to all His divine activity – the founding of the new kingdom and the attainment of that state of consciousness on a universal and human scale which will make out of the human being a citizen of the kingdom, consciously functioning therein, voluntarily subject to its laws and striving steadfastly for its extension on earth….

    This is one section from the “Christ” in the New Age article on “Christ consciousness”:
    _________________________

    “Christ consciousness” is the current state of an individual’s progress towards attaining Manifested Sons of God / Ascended Master status[46] and even higher states via initiations or, to phrase another way, the extent of one’s overshadowing or soul-control. The goal in increasing “Christ consciousness” is to evolve from individual to group consciousness and thus be united with other “gods.” Each successive initiation brings the individual in increasing alignment with New Age goals; i.e., group-think and unity. Bailey defines the term:

    “The evolutionary force to which we give the name ‘the Christ consciousness’…focused itself in the person of the Christ* in a manner hitherto unknown. This is the potency, latent in every human heart which is described by St. Paul as “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col I.27), and is that which, under evolutionary law, brings man eventually into the Kingdom of God and “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. IV.13.) Of this potency and glory, Christ has ever been the symbol…” [47] [*see below for explanation of “the Christ” as the “Christ within”]

    Transcendental Meditation (TM) in the East is a way to expand one’s “Christ consciousness.” In Hinduism, for example, the aspirant chants “OM” repeatedly in attempts to unite with Brahma and thus achieve “at-one-ment” with the divine. In the West, some churches are using Contemplative Prayer or “soaking prayer” with a goal to “experience God’s presence” and this practice bears a remarkable resemblance to TM, or, the expansion of the “Christ consciousness.” This pursuit of “at-one-ment,” or unity with the divine, as exemplified in Christian Science, Unity and Divine Science and other metaphysical schools of thought is a New Age goal for the Christian Church[48].

    Another way to effect change, to further goals of New Age “Christ Consciousness,” is to alter ‘outmoded’ procedures:

    It is not easy for the average person to be fluid and to change details and methods in relation to that which has been taught in the past about which he has evolved definite and distinct ideas. Are you, therefore, prepared to throw these overboard and work in the way which will meet the new world need under the new incoming influences?

    “ The disciple upon whom the Master can most confidently depend is the one who can – in periods of change – preserve that which is good and fundamental while breaking from the past and add to it that which is of immediate service in the present. An attitude of spiritual compromise is right, needed and very rare to find. Most of the things about which there may be argument and contention among disciples concern methods and relative non-essentials: they deal with points of organization. They are not so important as the inner unity of vision and the ability to concede where no wrong is involved and where a fellow worker fails to see the point. Disciples need to see to it that they do not hinder by any form of self-assertion, or by imposition of their own ideas or by any authoritarianism, based on past procedure. Ponder on this…The task of the disciple is to sense need and then to meet it and this, again, is part of the new emerging technique of invocation and evocation.” [49] [emphasis added]

    As noted above in the Spiritual Hierarchy section, new revelation; i.e., communication from the Hierarchy, comes in the form of “inspiration” and “impressions.”

    Note the stress on ‘unity’ in the above, much like the hyper-charismatic stress for unity at the expense of (sound) doctrine.

  218. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    But the examples you gave of the commentaries all seem to suggest that the passage means that Jesus pre-existed, and that it was a reference to it, although the exact interpretation may differ.

    None of them interpreted it to mean what Johnson does, right?

    cherylu,
    No problem :)

  219. Craig says:

    Oh yes, you are correct re: John 3:13. My point was that it was hard to exegete, and is thus a perfect verse for esoterics to pervert. (say that last part 3 times!)

  220. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    I’m not suggesting that you are doing anything wrong with the articles. I know you put a lot of time into them. What I’m saying is that your comments are helpful when you explain things further, like showing that soaking is similar to expanding Christ consciousness. That is really helpful, and I’m glad that you allow comments here.

  221. Craig says:

    And that’s precisely why I have the comments section – to help answer questions and further explain things. I did not take your comment in a negative way at all, rather I understood your comment as positive. But, I do understand the concepts are not easy to understand, as they’ve taken me a LONG time to comprehend – not that I fully comprehend all this stuff!

  222. Arwen4CJ says:

    And we know they pervert John 3:16 as well……the whole “born again” concept. Some argue it means reincarnation, others argue it means being anointed with the Christ, some claim it means that we are empowered to do supernatural things, etc.

  223. IWTT says:

    Question to anyone and all… Do you consider that what Bill Johnson preaches and teaches from the pulpit(s) is leading people via a different gospel?

    If you believe that this is a different gospel what is the outcome for those who follow this “different gospel”?

  224. Craig says:

    Yup; a different gospel. The outcome for those who are pursuing this different gospel at the expense of the true Gospel? No eternal life.

  225. Craig says:

    And, moreover – and this is a point I made on the very first article on this site – Johnson’s Jesus is not the one of Scripture, hence a ‘different Jesus’, and one that cannot save.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that all Bill Johnson / Bethel fans are unsaved, of course.

  226. Craig says:

    I wish to add, in regards to Bill Fawcett’s astute observation at BC&C, “…the main doctrinal thrust of the message is that we live in a spiritual universe, and the present world is just an illusion…” – this is also a Hindu concept known as maya, and specifically espoused by Madame Blavatsky in her Theosphical treatise Isis Unveiled. The New Age has taken much of its theology from Hinduism.

  227. Craig, you are correct yet again. It is a different Gospel and a different Jesus, and almost certainly a different spirit at Bethel Church and countless others. Therefore, I can only conclude logically from my understanding of the Scriptures that there must be many there who are NOT saved at this present moment. After all, it seems no different to a Seventh Day Adventist or Mormon church, where people believe they are Christians and are going to heaven. No doubt all of these churches contain people that God will call out for salvation, but I think we need to be careful not to give the broader impression that NAR churches are filled with saved (just misguided) souls when they may very well not be.

    I would love some feedback on when you think it becomes necessary for Christians to draw the line and assign a church or movement another title, other than Christian. It is very useful to assess aberrant teachings against the Scriptures, and biblically refute them when necessary, as you are doing here. However, at what point in that process must we confidently move from assessing error within an otherwise genuinely Christian church, to openly warning people that a church is theologically off the rails and not safe?

    Personally, I can no longer refer to Bethel Church as a Christian church, or the NAR as a denomination. I have read books by BJ, Kris Vallotten and Banning Leibscher (Jesus Culture). I have listened to a number of sermons by three different pastors, and read their articles on their web pages. I have the seen advertisements and programs for the countless books, DVD’s and conferences on prophecy, kingdom building/business/culture, practicing ‘God’s presence’, dreams and visions, and ‘worship’. I have seen footage of their ‘worship’ and the spiritual manifestations in their conferences and church services. I have seen who BJ associates with and promotes, including countless false prophets and teachers such as Rick Joyner, Todd Bentley, Patricia King and Bob Jones to name but a small number. In fact he doesn’t associate with even one orthodox Bible scholar or pastor I can think of (correct me if I am wrong)…that should be a clue.

    Many of Bethel’s teachings are not at all biblical, or are twisted almost beyond recognition. Orthodox looking statements of faith on their websites, or the denial that they teach false doctrine does not make them Christian…it simply makes them liars. Last year I watched the Darren Wilson trilogy of films (Father of Lights etc) which was where I first encountered Bill Johnson. In these films BJ talks fervently about signs and wonders and how we must all pursue the supernatural lifestyle at any cost. He certainly has, and in doing so has surrendered his soul and led countless numbers of people astray. A strange fire burns in that man’s eyes, and in his heart.

    There are increasing numbers of genuine reports of outright cult-like behaviour: aberrant doctrine, controlling, authoritarian leadership, spiritual elitism, isolation of people from their family and friends, encouraging people to liquidate assets to attend the many courses offered, the shunning of all who disagree with any of their teachings. I have seen it play out in churches here in Australia too…they also become very cult-like. The fruit is rotten, and is the same wherever this strange wind blows.

    I would like to clarify that I started this investigation last year with no agenda or negative biased towards BJ or any denomination or church. I was genuinely interested and thought for a brief period of time that it was all legitimate. So no witch hunt here, I just hate to see people being smilingly led down the broad way that leads to destruction.

  228. Craig says:

    Bill Johnson himself has stated that only a ‘gospel’ followed by visible signs and wonders is the true ‘gospel'; by implication all others are false. He drew a line in the sand. This means, as W B McCarty has pointed out, that, logically, all other ‘gospels’ that are not attended by signs and wonders are false; this, of course, would include what the Christian Church has deemed the Gospel for nearly 2000 years. Both cannot be correct.

    Johnson has made the specific claim that Jesus could not rightly be called Christ unless and until He received “the anointing”, aka “Christ anointing” (and all the other names he uses for this “anointing”). This matches the Apostle John’s antichrist definition to a “T”:

    22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

    2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

    As regards 1 John 2:22, Johnson’s Christology fails once explicitly (one could argue) and once implicitly. (1) Explicitly: Jesus is not THE Christ, He is one among many; (2) Implicitly: Since Jesus merely becomes Christ at a specific point after His conception/birth, this necessarily implies that Jesus was NOT the Christ for a portion of time. However, I concede on (1) that not all would be convinced, because Johnson doesn’t specifically state that others who receive “the anointing” become Christ, though by Johnson’s claim that this “Christ anointing” is available to all, coupled with Johnson’s assertion that Jesus could not be called “Christ” until this “Christ anointing” and was deemed ‘Christ’ upon the “Christ anointing” means, logically, that others would be called “Christ” at this same “Christ anointing”.

    As regards 1 John 4:2-3, this is much more straightforward. Johnson’s spirit specifies that the “Christ anointing” or ‘Christ spirit’ descended upon Jesus at a point just after John’s baptism, symbolized by the dove resting on Him, thereby denying that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Jesus of Nazareth came in the flesh, yes; but, “Christ” came at “the anointing”. Therefore, as per Johnson, Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.

    It matters not that Bill Johnson may make the odd statement such as the one in this article by footnotes 41 and 42 that appear to affirm, on the surface, that Jesus was Christ/Messiah at birth when the overwhelming time it’s all about “the anointing” which implicitly denies this. In fact, Johnson has turned the tables and claimed that those ‘against the anointing’ are antichrist. This is the logical counterpart to his redefinition of Christ = “the anointing”.

    So, with the foregoing, we have a denial of the Gospel message as per 2000 years of Church history, and we have a Christology that matches the definition of antichrist per the Apostle John. If this does not mean that Johnson’s teachings are ‘other than Christian’ I’ll eat my theological hat. And, I’ll go further. One of the goals on this site is to illustrate how some of this stuff parallels occult teaching; and, I point out repeatedly how the New Age goal is to infiltrate the Church and teach New Age doctrine that is ‘Christianized’ enough to pass by using words of equivocation. This adds, at least it’s my intention is for this to be so, even more cause for pause.

    However, Jesus Himself said there would be tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30), but that we are not to ‘pull’ the tares, but that we are to let the two grow together and the tares will be separated from the wheat at the harvest. Yet, it’s also stated that we are to “snatch others from the fire” (Jude 22-23) and that bringing one back to the Truth will save him/her from “death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). That is the positive aim of CrossWise. (see here: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/are-you-a-heretic/ )

    One last thought. You wrote:

    There are increasing numbers of genuine reports of outright cult-like behaviour: aberrant doctrine, controlling, authoritarian leadership, spiritual elitism, isolation of people from their family and friends, encouraging people to liquidate assets to attend the many courses offered, the shunning of all who disagree with any of their teachings. I have seen it play out in churches here in Australia too…they also become very cult-like. The fruit is rotten, and is the same wherever this strange wind blows.

    Some of these charges can be leveled at legitimate Christian denominations and churches, in varying degrees. However, in hyper-charismaticism these things are more pronounced overall (although, again in varying degrees). Yet, when one’s Christology is so obviously false, then we have a false ‘Jesus’ and one who cannot save. But, to reiterate from earlier, I do believe there are some saved individuals in this movement, and, I’ll add, even some who may actually get saved by the grace of God while still within the movement. However, those folks who are saved will eventually leave the movement and some of these are now speaking out against it. These folks can have a potent testimony as one whose ‘been there’ and with whom those who are caught up in it may be able to relate.

  229. IWTT says:

    Craig says:
    June 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm
    Yup; a different gospel. The outcome for those who are pursuing this different gospel at the expense of the true Gospel? No eternal life.

    Craig says:
    June 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm
    And, moreover – and this is a point I made on the very first article on this site – Johnson’s Jesus is not the one of Scripture, hence a ‘different Jesus’, and one that cannot save.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that all Bill Johnson / Bethel fans are unsaved, of course.

    Thank you all that responded to this question. Here is another. In light of what is being taught would you consider his teaching then “damnable heresy”? Do you think the early church councils would state this as well?

  230. IWTT says:

    Added question verse 10-22 of 2 Peter 2 describes false teacher. Do you think these false teacher must meet ALL these attributes before they can be called a false teacher?

  231. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Yes, I would say 2 Peter 2:1-3 applies. Given that some think that the Apostle John was refuting both Docetism (that Jesus only ‘seemed’ to have a body, was like a phantom) and more importantly for us here, the view of Cerinthus – that the Christ ‘spirit’ descended upon the human Jesus at baptism – then this is expressly heretical from a Biblical standpoint. This is also known is separationist Christology (separating Christ from Jesus) and adoptionism (Christ ‘adopted’ Jesus at some point after His birth), with adoptionism specifically condemned as heresy at the first Ecumenical Council, known as Nicea (325). A man named Arius put forth Arianism, which is adoptionistic, and Athanasius battled this heresy for much of the 4th century.

    Most of Protestantism affirms the first four Ecumenical Councils (this will be discussed in a future article – if I can get it finished!).

  232. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Short answer to your follow up question at 9:21am: No.

    In Richard Bauckham’s Word Biblical Commentary (WBC) on Jude and 2 Peter [1985, Thomas Nelson, Nashville] – this work receiving the 1985 Gold Medallion Book Award – the author asserts a division between verses 2:1-3a and the remainder of the chapter, with verse 2:3b the transition (“The condemnation pronounced on them long ago is not idle; their destruction is not asleep” – Bauckham’s exegesis). In the first part, the author of Peter (not all assume it was actually the Apostle Peter) is speaking of both false prophets of his own day, as well as false prophets of the future; whereas, from 2:3b and following the Biblical author is specifically describing the false prophets of his own day – not characteristics necessarily inclusive of all future false teachers. The author switches from future tense to present tense at 2:3b [see especially Bauckham p 245, but also pp 236-245 and 246-281].

    I also note that the Biblical author uses hyperbole: “eyes full of adultery they never stop sinning”, etc.

    A false teacher is one who distorts Scripture consistently and continues to do so in the face of challenges about his false teaching. A “damnable heresy” is a teaching that leads one away from Truth and towards damnation. Arius’ teaching was viewed in this way, so why wouldn’t Johnson’s Christology, since it very closely approximates Arianism – specifically, that it’s adoptionistic? And, more to the point, it’s Biblically identified as antichrist – “against” or “instead of” Christ.

    ADDED: The Biblical author notes that the specific false teaching in the future will be that the false prophets will be making up their own prophecies/teachings (see 1:20-21 as contrast). The Biblical author notes they will ‘deny the sovereign Lord who bought them’, which can imply a false Christology, not necessarily an overt, explicit denial. “Many will follow their shameful ways” and these teachings will bring disrepute onto Truth. Also, they will exploit people financially with “stories they made up”.

    I think that characterizes much of hyper-charismaticism.

  233. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    “…even denying the Lord who bought them…” 2 Peter 2:1

    I believe this specifically applies to denial of the blood atonement and penal substitution. The blood that Jesus applied to the mercy seat was accepted by God as that of a perfect “Lamb” (the reason why only He is able to open the books of Revelation 5). This also fulfilled Jesus’ words to His disciples just prior to Gethsemane in reference to the role of the Holy Spirit, “…of righteousness because I go to my Father…”, ie. He proved His righteousness by the acceptance of His blood paid in remission of my sin. There are other occasions of the picture of Jesus purchasing us, as in Ephesians 1:14, and Acts 20:28.

    I think that from my experience, most of the BJ crowd would support the blood atonement in a statement of faith, however, that doctrine is slowly being eroded away via The Shack’s Wm. Paul Young and others who are perverting the doctrine of grace. Contemplative spirituality eventually leads to universalism. If the older generation doesn’t throw away the atonement, the next generation will. They will talk about the atonement, but they don’t like penal substitution. Can’t have one without the other, or else there is no need for atonement.

    I agree with the next part of the description of false teachers, …they make merchandise of you…

  234. Craig says:

    …Contemplative spirituality eventually leads to universalism…

    If one believes, as I, that contemplative prayer, “soaking”, etc. is the same as TM, aka “Christ consciousness”, then this is absolutely true. This is noted above:

    …The goal in increasing “Christ consciousness” is to evolve from individual to group consciousness and thus be united with other “gods.” Each successive initiation [ED: "impartation"] brings the individual in increasing alignment with New Age goals; i.e., group-think and unity…

  235. Craig says:

    The Atonement is deemphasized to the point that it’s probably not known by much of the folks in hyper-charismaticism. Just talking about “the blood of Jesus” is not enough; those saying this may actually mean the Theosophical / New Age idea that because Jesus shed His blood on the Cross actually, though for us, symbolically, He paved the way towards our own journey to self-salvation, by following the same path.

    I’d say the Atonement has effectively been replaced with the occult doctrine of at-one-ment, i.e., uniting oneself to “god” through “soaking”, CP, aka increasing “Christ consciousness” in hyper-charismatic and some Emergent circles.

  236. just1ofhis says:

    In the Word of Faith circuit “pleading the blood of Jesus” is the popular phrase used for protecting anything and everything a person has/owns/or hopes to acquire. It has NOTHING to do with the price paid for our sins and EVERYTHING to do with the “resurrected” life that Bill Johnson and company talk about. They “plead the blood” over their health, their day, their children, their cars, their homes, and even their dogs. They sell books about all the ways to “plead the blood”. The precious blood of the Lamb shed for the sins of the world is reduced to nothing but an old wive’s tale….say this phrase, dude, and nothing bad will come your way.

    It is sickening….

    Tell me how far the church has fallen when people unblushingly lay hands on dogs and pray for healing (or better yet, have people stand in for the dogs that are not present and pray for healing…I was witness to that one). Or what of those who get on their hands and knees and act like dogs claiming it to be a work of the “holy spirit”. You know them by their fruit….

  237. Arwen4CJ says:

    Let me chime in here — I honestly believe that those caught up in the hyper-charismatic movement believe in the blood atonement to various degrees (some might believe in it strongly while others have not really been exposed to the concept, and there are various degrees between.)

    I think a lot of whether or not someone (and this doesn’t just go for hyper-charismatics) believes in the blood atonement is whether or not they have actually been exposed to it. Some have grown up in churches where it is never mentioned at all. For these individuals, how are they to believe in it when they have never heard it? When it’s never been preached on in any Christian setting they have been a part of?

    This was the case with several of my friends in seminary. They grew up in extremely theologically liberal churches, and they were never exposed to the gospel. They admitted to me that they never even heard of the concept of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. And these people went to churches in mainline denominations. They happened to attend churches pastored by people who didn’t believe in the blood atonement so they didn’t teach it to their congregations.

    In the case of hyper-charismatics, I’ve observed something similar but different. If a person did not grow up in hyper-chrarismaticism, and they were exposed to the real gospel before getting involved with hyper-charismatic churches, then some of these people still really do believe in the blood atonement. They believe in it, but yet they have also accepted false manifestations and false teaching.

    For those in that situation, it is still import for them to uphold the blood atonement, even if they have added extra things to it (like healing and miracles, etc). Now, as these people get deeper and deeper into the hyper-charismatic world, they might start to lose sight of the blood atonement, and their view might gradually change over time so that it becomes less and less important to them. However, many will still affirm it when asked.

    Things are different for those growing up in hyper-charismatic churches. If hyper-charismatic “Christianity” is the only exposure to Christianity that someone has, and the blood atonement is not really talked about much, then these individuals probably won’t think it’s that important. They are far less likely to hold to, believing instead a gospel made of entirely of signs and wonders.

    I believe that hyper-charismatic Christianity is becoming a new religion very slowly. After several generations of people being raised in it, the descendents believe fewer and fewer orthodox Christian beliefs.

    If this belief system is allowed to continue for long, then we’re going to see more and more individuals who do not know the gospel, but think they do because they’ve heard another version.They might think they are Christian, but they won’t believe in any Christian orthodoxy. They won’t think much of the blood atonement –they won’t see it as anything other than giving them the ability to perform signs and wonders.

  238. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    I partly agree with Arwen. I am one who was raised in a strong fundamental faith. I was taught and believe in penal substitutionary blood atonement. I followed hyperC for some time, although I never fully accepted everything that came down the pike. I “allowed” for most of it because I was being gracious and “free”. I did not recognize that by doing so, ultimately, PSBA was being undermined.

    Here is an example in the natural that illustrates what I mean when it comes to PSBA. If you walk into a kitchen that is dirty and trashed, you will immediately recognize a problem. But a neat and tidy kitchen looks just right. You may be served delicious food from that kitchen. Then one day you notice that there is a microwave and a stovetop, but no oven. Since you’ve gotten lots of tasty food, and it always looked right, you never noticed what was missing.

    What is missing is the key problem, and that is not always obvious.

    Where I disagree is that for the most part in my experience the children of the hyperC crowd do not follow their parents. Most often they are disillusioned because someone they love didn’t get healed, or they cannot measure up to the hyper-spirituality required to speak prophetically and hear new revelation from God. Or the hyper-spirituality they witness in the church doesn’t measure up to a real Christian walk at home. I am in my mid 50’s and have a very wide contact base from which I speak. I would guess that a good 85% of our 300+ hyperC contacts lament that their children are either not walking with the Lord or reject the movement.

    So that is one of the dangers of the movement—it alienates the next generation. The Bill Johnson, Mike Bickel, Rick Joyner, etc. crowd each have their own “large” following, but on a mass scale, they are really not that big. The second great danger is that because of the influence of the NAR especially as it has come into the political arena, is that little bits and pieces trickle into more orthodox churches that are influenced by their less aberrant teachings. That is where the real damage is done.

    These are just observations from my own little corner, of course, not a true scientific study or survey.

  239. Craig says:

    I agree with the last two posts (and my previous post on this at 5:00pm yesterday was admittedly a bit too general). But, I will only partially agree with YesNa’s assertion that Johnson, Bickle, etc. are not that large. I agree that their respective congregations are not large, when looked at from a macro scale, as there are many larger Christian congregations; however, the NAR has worldwide influence due in no small part to the jet-setting of the leaders, who have myriad conferences at many points on the globe. Johnson has many Bethel-like, imitation churches, and Bickle does as well (just look up “house of prayer” on the net and note the similarities between the ‘others’ and IHOP-KC). I’ve heard of Bethel’s overt influence in Australia, Africa, Europe (don’t recall specifically on Asia), as well as in other US states far removed from California.

  240. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Yes, Craig, that is true. Their influence is huge.

  241. Bethel Church and NAR teachings are definitely poisoning our churches here in Australia. Sadly, many unsuspecting people have no idea how deeply deceived they, or their pastors are. What bothers me greatly is the level of deception (however unintentional) that is involved as false teachings creep into churches. I have seen outright denial that this is what is happening, yet the pastor is clearly increasingly involved with false teachings through attendance at NAR conferences, NAR/PDL books promoted in small groups and NAR worship songs (e.g. Jesus Culture) creeping into the Sunday morning line up. I have been struck by how similar it is to when someone is having an affair and is trying to cover it up (and sometimes in a degree of denial themselves). This shouldn’t surprise us as it is in fact spiritual adultery. Awful to have to name it, but there you have it.

    Tragically, the merging of the multiple influences of NAR/charismatic, Emergent, Catholic and New Age teachings and practices is a powerful and destructive force in all denominations here in Australia. I know concerned Christians around the world are seeing the same thing. The Bethel/NAR deception is awful, but so is the emergent, missional, relational, Bible-deconstructing, contemplative, social non-Gospel of Brian McLaren, Rob Bell etc. I have professing Christian friends who are deaf to the true Gospel (for now at least) as they have been led to believe that they have to save the world’s poor and the environment, that community/relationship is everything, that people can find Jesus and stay in their own religion, and that sexual preference (however deviant it is) is a birthright. I should know…I believed it for a while myself!

  242. Craig says:

    Shortly after I wrote The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit I communicated with Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason. When I mentioned that Johnson was teaching that “Christ” = “the anointing” and “antichrist” = ‘against the anointing’, he told me that Kenneth Copeland was doing the same thing. Oppenheimer wrote about it here:

    http://www.letusreason.org/Wf4.htm

    But, hey, Copeland has it for all to see right on his website! (Not the antichrist part):

    http://www.kcm.org/real-help/article/understanding-anointing

    The anointing is God’s presence by the Holy Spirit. The anointing on Jesus was by the Holy Spirit (see Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). The anointing we have received from Jesus is by the Holy Spirit. (Compare I John 2:20, 26-27; John 14:26.) The anointing is God’s Spirit and power for service in this earth. Jesus has provided the same presence of the Holy Spirit for us in our earthly ministries that He had in His earthly ministry!

    The word “Christ” is not just another name for Jesus, but a reference to the Anointed and the Anointing that was on Him and in Him. In the same way, the word “Christians” means more than just followers of Jesus. It means “the anointeds.” The same yoke-destroying Anointing that was on Jesus is available to you.

    … If you’re in the Anointed One, then you’re in the anointing.

    I encourage you, find every reference that uses the word Christ in the New Testament. Each time Christ is used translate it into “the Anointed and His Anointing.” Then meditate on the new revelation of this meaning in each scripture. Start with the verses that say “in Christ” or “through Christ” and translate them “in (through) the Anointed and (through) His Anointing.” It will change your life.

    At least Copeland is more blatant about it; Johnson is much more deceptive.

  243. Mike Oppenheimer is such a blessing! I highly recommend his site…his archives are amazing to read through and all of it relevant! He has also written a couple of inexpensive books that summarize his articles and research.

  244. Arghh, Kenneth Copeland. Far out…his wife claims “he controls the weather in our family” (no joke – she said it on television). Just rebukes storms, that kind of thing. Um, ok. As for BJ…as the saying goes, he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Truth and lies, often in the same breath. We are all guilty of this at times (yes, that would be me…again!!), but if we are in Christ then the Holy Spirit convicts us of our double-speak and leads us to understanding and love of God’s truth. I pray this happens one day for BJ. Sadly for now, he seems enamored with the deception.

    It would certainly be encouraging for true believers to see one of these leaders saved out of their own lies and deception, willing to honestly share their story. We see this when Catholic priests such as Richard Bennett (Berean Beacon) are saved. Testimonies such as his are an extraordinary witness both to the grace of God and to the truth that the Catholic Church is indeed apostate. Let’s pray this happens in the NAR movement.

  245. Arwen4CJ says:

    A lot of hyper-charismatics claim they can control the weather and stop storms, just like Jesus did. Heidi Baker claimed she redirected a hurricane from its path. Several people I’ve spoken with online have claimed this as well. They’ll write things like, “I have pushed away storms,” or “I’ve stopped storms,” or “I’ve redirected storms,” or “I’ve rebuked storms.”

    And this is what we would expect from the followers of Bill Johnson. He tells them that they can do every single miracle that Jesus did, and Jesus is our model, and that they can do even greater things than Jesus did, etc. So, since Jesus had control over the weather, they think that they can too. They think they can get the wind and the waves to obey them.

  246. just1ofhis says:

    I…I….I…me….me….me…..

    Doesn’t that really say it all?

    In the book of Acts, men wanted to “worship” the apostles for the great miracles that God did among them. The true apostles always deferred to the fact that it was God who did the miracles and they were merely men.

    Speaking of “I’, it was interesting to see the tie in to Kenneth “I Am too” Copeland in this discussion. He’s a great example of the extremes of the Word of Faith ideas.

    I knew a man in the Word of Faith church who was warning against this type of expectation of the miraculous. Unfortunately, he became deeply entangled in Bill Johnson/Jesus Culture experience. I’m still hoping/praying that God will lead him out of it all. But he is an example to me of the dangers of lingering in a “different gospel” church for too long.

    Infection spreads first to the flesh that is closest to it.

  247. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    LOL! ROFL!! HA! HA! God laughs them to derision. Isn’t it just a matter of probability? 50-50? Either the storm “stopped” for them or it didn’t–50-50. We’ll hear about it when they were “right”, but what about all the times when they were wrong? The silence is deafening.

    I was at a conference at which we “prayed away” Hurricane Ivan because one of the conference participants lived there. The hurricane was hitting their home and ministry while they were there at the US conference. Sadly, Ivan did his damage. But I can assure you that had they been spared, the prayer would have been trumpeted all over the place! Matt. 6:27 “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”

    Just1ofthis: Infection spreads first to the flesh that is closest to it. That’s quotable! May, I?

  248. Craig says:

    Infection spreads first to the flesh that is closest to it.

    I’d stay F-A-R away from those ‘impartations’ that are promoted in hyper-charismaticism. Anyone see the Denzel Washington movie Fallen, in which the demon (Azazel – Biblical name, but not Biblically accurate application) is passed from one to another by touch? I think this is a possible explanation for those who’ve received an ‘impartation’. Certainly, we know that the guru, through shaktipat, administers the activation of the kundalini by touch, or even a look, or even by thought.

  249. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Craig, I was not thinking of that quote from an “impartation” standpoint. I was considering “flesh” defined as soulish desire. When we are following our fleshly desires, that is the time when we are vulnerable to false teaching.

    So a sheep who just wants to be important and have everyone listen to him/her, will be very vulnerable to the “prophet” who speaks a “word”, such that, “I have heard your cries my daughter and you are coming into a place of greater anointing. Open your mouth and I will fill it. Speak forth my word and others will be turned to me because of your faithfulness.”

    A sheep who receives that “word” may be touched deeply because of her “need” to have influence and/or power. Therefore, the next “prophetic” conference that comes to town, she will go to in order to hone her newly found “gift”. Enter the false teaching. If she is particularly vulnerable and very strongly motivated, every little thing that pops into her foolish head will become a “word from God”. Infection.

  250. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    I actually understood it as flesh and blood, but, of course, it could be understood they way you’ve interpreted it.

    I was drawing out more from the quote to yet another point.

  251. just1ofhis says:

    YesNa,

    Quote away.

    btw, a few years ago the “Healing Room” leader that I knew was trying to talk me into doing “ministry” over the phone or internet. This person gave “testimony” of people who had “received healing” all over the world by simply contacting the “healing room” and carrying out an “act of faith” as instructed. In the case that I was being told about, this “act” involved “touching the computer screen”. “As soon as the person touched the computer screen, they received their healing” or so the claim went.

    It is sobering, and it is prepping them all for one thing.

    I love the stories of people who have found themselves among the hyper-charismatic simply praying for protection for anything that is not “of God”. They never fall down. God is Faithful and True!

  252. Paul says:

    Hyper charismatic? Oh man. We should start labeling movements and people. This is a great idea that will end really well. Lots of super healthy Godly conversation comes from labeling people. Weird to find it on a Christian blog…

    So strange how people ever came to know Jesus in the first century without all these commentaries at their finger tips. I bet it was the power of God flowing through Paul (not his intellect) that drew unbelievers to believe in Jesus Christ. I’ll take the power of God over chitty chatter, any day, any how, any where…

  253. Craig says:

    Paul,

    You miss the point. The term “hyper-charismatic” is to differentiate from those who are charismatic yet have not fallen into the excesses of the hyper-charismatics in the “church”.

    You seem to imply that I’m a cessationist. I’m not. Perhaps you should read my statement of faith at the top of the site.

    Given your tone, I’m going under the assumption you are a hit ‘n’ run commentator. You may surprise me and prove me wrong; but, this has been my experience with comments such as yours to an overwhelming degree. With that in mind, I suggest that the regular commenters here hold off on responding to Paul unless he actually wishes to engage in a discussion.

    Also, tone down the sarcasm.

  254. just1ofhis says:

    “Bill teaches that we owe the world an encounter with God, and that a Gospel without power is not the Gospel that Jesus preached.”

    That quote taken from the advertising for the Supernatural Life Conference, under Bill Johnson’s bio:

    http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=12267

    What they all seem to want to disregard is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ IS the power unto salvation for those who believe.

    The idea that we OWE the world an encounter with God is a new one to me. If we OWE the world anything, than we could no longer be set free via the cross by the Blood of the Lamb. To Him only do we owe anything; and this “anything” is our very selves. What a strange statement.

  255. Craig says:

    Johnson has been saying things like this for a while, and he even goes further in a ‘sermon’ from a year (or two?) ago, in which he makes the explicit claim that the preaching of the ‘Gospel’ MUST include visible signs and wonders, and any other ‘gospel’ is “a different gospel”. This is a clear line in the sand between Johnson’s version of the gospel and the Gospel of the past 2000 years. Both sides cannot be correct.

    I mention this briefly under New Birth here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iv-conclusion/

  256. just1ofhis says:

    ” ‘This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’
    — Romans 8:15 (The Message)

    Are you ready for adventure?

    Get ready to awaken the gifts and dreams that God has placed inside of you and learn how to walk them out in the power of the Spirit.”

    This is a quote from the same conference advertising. It also speaks to the idea of an already occurring “resurrection” which is not supported by true scripture (of which “The Message” is NOT).

    Romans 8:15 taken, in context, implies a future promise of glory. Today we share in His suffering.

    “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our PRESENT SUFFERINGS are not worth comparing with the glory that WILL BE REVEALED in us. The creation WAITS in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”

    (Romans 8:15-18, NIV, emphasis mine)

    imo, this lends more to the idea that Bill Johnson and company are preaching a resurrection that has already taken place or is in the process of taking place (Jesus returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head)…either idea is flat-out heresy.

  257. Craig says:

    That’s MSoG teaching. To compare to New Age: the ‘resurrection life’ is what one achieves as one reaches “ascension” through the expansion of “Christ consciousness”, i.e. ‘soaking’, contemplative prayer, TM, or whatever you’d like to call it. The ‘resurrection life’ is one that can be lived both/either in the “kingdom of god” / ‘eternal’ realm and on earth in ‘resurrection’ bodies, which look just like anyone else’s.

    That’s in part IV, also, though I did not compare (in that part) to “Christ consciousness”, as I made that comparison in part I. I should have put it in there, I suppose:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iv-conclusion/

  258. IWTT says:

    I appreciated Michael Youssef sermon today, scripture from Jude… basically he called out churches (not by name) that are either “feely” churches or “non preaching Jesus” churches and called those behind the pulpit “Apostates” or preaching apostasy from the pulpit…. any other gospel including one that MUST include visable signs and wonders I don’t consider abherant teachings any longer but rather “damnable heresy” and those who push such false gospel/apostasy are apostate! God have mercy on those who call themselves teachers for they will stand before the Lord one day and be judged more harshly. But pastor Youssef did say yesterday that they may well be saved, but only God will make that determination.

  259. Craig says:

    I haven’t heard Youssef for a while now (I think his show was replaced by someone else here locally), but I like his style and I most usually agree with what he says. And he has no problem with being direct.

    Also, being originally from Egypt, he’s aware of the dangers of Islam.

  260. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yes, it is quite telling when people start making claim to their own ability to do miracles and whatnot, but we can all fall into that trap of taking credit for something that God does. In the case of those who are claiming to push away storms/control the weather, then I do not think that they are using God’s power to begin with, but they believe that they are, and instead of giving God the credit for it, they take it themselves.

    And, yes — the true apostles (the ones in the Bible) always gave credit to God. Their focus was never on the signs and wonders. They didn’t teach people classes on how to move in the miraculous, etc. Their signs and wonders were for a reason; not simply to show off. And the gospel was always preached to the people. They did not preach signs and wonders and spiritual experiences.

    I too thought that the Kenneth Copeland tie in was interesting.

    Good analogy about infection.

    Yeah, weather is pretty unpredictable. Storms naturally change their paths or die down or whatever. So I think that it is right to say that there is a probability of 50-50. Either the storm will hit a particular area and be strong or it won’t. When storms change their course or die down, and a person “rebuked” the weather, then they are going to think that they are the ones that directed it differently. And yeah, they will only talk about the times they seemed to get it right, and not the wrong ones.

    However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of real power being involved and actually directing things differently. I don’t know, though…I’m not sure how much control Satan has over the weather. Perhaps he has very little to none…maybe that is something that he can’t copy. I have no idea.

    And if Christians really could control the weather, then why don’t these Christians stop all natural disasters from striking human populated areas? People into The Law Of Attraction have an answer for this. They claim that thoughts control everything, and for a natural disaster to strike, a person needed to think about it happening. I wonder if hyper-charismatics tend to have a similar viewpoint. Someone’s thought life was wrong, someone didn’t pray hard enough or have enough faith and allowed these things to happen, etc.

    I haven’t seen the movie Fallen, but I know that spirits that are transferred via impartation are evil.

    I think YesNaSpanishTown has it right. People are vulnerable to hearing good things — that they are special and will be used by God mightly. While it is true that God does have a unique plan for each person, and that He does want and will use each believer, we already know these truths from reading the Bible. It is comforting to hear them, and maybe God does specifically have a word along these lines for individuals. However, Satan knows our weaknesses, and he will exploit this, too. These words can become snares if they are given to us by a false prophet. It serves to feed our sinful nature.

    Oh, and that touching the computer screen thing isn’t all that uncommon anymore :( Todd Bentley instructed people to touch their computer screens to receive his anointing during the whole Lakeland “revival.” I’m guessing that it’s popular with hyper-charismatic leaders these days. And the truth is that some people do receive the “anointing” (evil spirit) by doing this. I’ve read of several testimonies where people were oppressed by demons through it.

    And, yes, it is great to know that those who pray for God’s protection at these meetings are truly protected. God is faithful. :)

    Back to talking about the original apostles…you know that Paul never bragged about the spiritual experiences that he had. Paul never went on and on about how great his spiritual experiences were. (In Colossians he actually wrote not to listen to people who went on about the spiritual experiences they’ve had). Paul always preached the truth. People heard about Jesus and what Jesus had done. For Paul it all led back to the cross.

    Yes, there was power in Paul’s ministry — but that was because the Holy Spirit was using him to bring people to Himself. And it is God who works in the hearts of people so that they will come to repentance. People didn’t believe just because they saw lots of signs and wonders taking place. They also didn’t believe just because they heard the gospel. The Holy Spirit equipped Paul in his preaching, but He also worked in the hearts of those listening, convicting them of their sin, etc. It was all about God, not about Paul or any other apostle.

    The Bible states that people won’t believe unless they hear the gospel. There is true power in the real gospel itself because it is God’s truth, and God can reveal the truth of it to a person while they are listening to the message.

    Well, when people start adding to the true gospel by claiming that we need to preach about signs and wonders, or that we need to engage in miracles in order to be saved says a couple of things:
    1.) That we are the ones who save others. If there are no signs and wonders, then no one can be saved. Thus it implies that God is incapable of working in people’s hearts and convincing them of the truthfulness of the real gospel

    2.) It makes the saving requirement be the presence of these signs and wonders

    3.) If people aren’t being saved by the gospel that is being preached at Bethel, and it requires signs and wonders to bring people in, then maybe the gospel message that is being preached there is wrong. There must be something lacking in the content of what passes for the gospel there.

    We know that the addition of something to the gospel means that Johnson is preaching a different gospel altogether, and indeed he is. He preaches about the anointing, that we are to do all the things Jesus did — including all miracles, and that we are to have spiritual encounters regularly. He claims Christians do not sin (and cannot sin), so he never talks about sin. Instead of calling people to examine their own lives, he urges people to go deeper in the spiritual world. Jesus’ death and resurrection seem to be, at least for him, all about being manifested sons of God. Jesus’ death and resurrection allow us to be little Jesuses running around. We have no limits. We can command things to happen and they will happen. On top of this, Johnson preaches that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity, and all of what we have been discussing here on this blog. For Johnson, the point of the Christian life seems to be about getting power (the ability to perform limitless signs and wonders).

    “Get ready to awaken the gifts and dreams that God has placed inside of you and learn how to walk them out in the power of the Spirit.””

    We don’t awaken any gift or dream that God has placed inside of us. To try to do this would be to engage in the occult. If the Holy Spirit gives us a gift, then He equips us for His purposes — and it is all to glorify Jesus, not us. He will let us know what our gifts are, and He will help us use them. They do not need awakening.

  261. Craig says:

    Job 1:18-19 indicates that Satan was given power over the wind. However, I realize there are some with the eschatological belief that Satan is currently bound, and, therefore, not having this sort of access to God’s Throne (Job 1:6-12) in order to get permission to even do these sorts of things. I disagree with this position.

  262. Arwen4CJ says:

    I know that Satan can copy God and the things that God can do. I also know that there is a limit to what Satan can copy. So whether or not his followers can rebuke storms and direct them other places by using his power, I don’t know. That’s what I meant. I don’t know where the line is, and I don’t really think that we need to.

    We know that those who make the claim that they can control the weather are playing with fire. They probably do experience some kind of real power in the things that they do — not sure if this extends to weather or not, but they have seen real power in different situations. Whether or not they are actually controlling the weather a little bit or not, we can know that they are deluded. Either they are interpreting something that is natural as being supernatural (the weather changes on its own and because they prayed about it, they think that they are responsible for the weather change), or they are using real demonic power some of the time.

  263. Craig says:

    I agree. Satan only has the power to do that which God allows.

    I would say that some hyper-charismatic practices are akin to witchcraft. The whole idea of positing that since God ‘spoke’ things into existence that HE used the ‘force of faith’, and, consequently, we can just use this same force, is of the enemy. First off, it demeans God, portraying Him as less than omnipotent, as He cannot do anything apart from this ‘force of faith’. Secondly, it raises ‘believers’ up to God’s (lowered) level, with the claim that we can use the same creative powers as God. This all sounds like witchcraft: through commanding ‘forces’ we can have these ‘forces’ do our bidding.

    This is where, even though I’ve not read Robert Bowman’s expose on Word of Faith (mentioned on BC&C), I think the author’s view is far off the mark, by claiming these guys did not borrow from metaphysical cults (Kenyon, Hagin, Copeland, and on down the line). The whole basis of the Word of Faith is just what I’ve stated in the 2nd paragraph above – the premise that we USE the ‘force of faith’, as if we can wield it at will. The main problems are (1) IT’s portrayed as a ‘force’ (as opposed to a belief in the PERSON of Christ/God); and (2) God needed this same ‘force’ in order to create.

  264. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Arwen:
    And if Christians really could control the weather, then why don’t these Christians stop all natural disasters from striking human populated areas? People into The Law Of Attraction have an answer for this. They claim that thoughts control everything, and for a natural disaster to strike, a person needed to think about it happening. I wonder if hyper-charismatics tend to have a similar viewpoint. Someone’s thought life was wrong, someone didn’t pray hard enough or have enough faith and allowed these things to happen, etc.

    Yes, they do. I was in a home that boldly displayed someone’s “Christianized” version of the law of attraction on a DVD. (Can’t remember its source.)

    Also, several years ago at a ladies’ meeting, a woman (brought by a friend) requested prayer for her recent cancer diagnosis. Honestly, I’m telling you the truth… The hostess (who follows Bentley, King, et. al.) said that cancer was a magnet hanging over her. She held her hand above her head as if holding a magnet on a string. She proceeded to explain how she had attracted cancer to herself in the spirit. All of the women were “amen-ing” in agreement including one of the pastors. (I was an assoc. pastor’s wife at the time, whose hands were tied–or should I say, lips were sealed.) Fortunately*, I needed to leave for another commitment and slipped out. I protested vehemently to my husband and asked him to share with the pastor. I doubt anything was ever said, as that was the MO of that pastor. I was VERY ANGRY about the numerous situations I found myself in at that church in which I could not SQUAWK when I really wanted to. (Although occasionally I did anyway.) I felt so badly for that dear sheep who so needed real Biblical encouragement and prayer.

    I’m not so silent now that our circumstances have changed with the church, but I still have to be careful how I proceed. I cannot describe the depth of my revulsion of this stuff and the anger I have of being put in situations where my presence and silence gave tacit approval. As often as I am able, I speak and/or write specific denunciations. God knows my heart and the circumstance. I had to balance loyalty to God’s word with honor and submission to my husband. I did not always do it well (from either side), but I agonized over it every time and left it in His hands.

    *Fortunately–as explained above regarding tacit approval. I was released from remaining there while being restricted from opposing it.

  265. thanks for pages and pages of enlightening exchange. I wonder if John is still around? I’d like to ask him of his further experiences at Bethel. I recently met Kris Valotton ( I led worship at a conference he was doing) Some of the things he said concerned me, but I found him to be generally humble when we had a brief exchange privately, but very hard to get a read on. I met with a small group of intercessors for a talk he gave on Nehemiah. I must say it was one of the most insightful and anointed talks from the word I have ever heard.
    But the conversational exchange we had still baffles me. I puzzled over his words for weeks. I never could decide where he was coming from with them, but God definitely used them to show me my own heart.He seemed anxious to leave, almost like a wounded animal. And from a ministerial perspective, as a person who knows the toll of preparation, travel and spiritual warfare, I can understand that. In the end, I decided I could not look into his words too much, but look more at the fruit. I think he is a man of God, but flawed like the rest of us. I don’t look to Bethel, or any one particular ministry, I try to avoid such things, but look to Christ. But I do find it is helpful to glean from many sources.

  266. I accidently posted that on the wrong thread, sorry. But I guess most of it applies anyways. I was trying to post on a thread about Bill’s born again JEsus.

  267. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    You may copy and post it over there, if you like:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-i/

    I’m not sure what has happened to John. I’ve thought about him a number of times since our lengthy exchange on here (the BJ ‘born again Jesus’ I thread). I hope he’s still reading.

    I would caution you as regards looking at fruit, I believe the ‘fruit’ is referring to doctrine/practices as they align, or do not align, with Scripture. Vallotton falls far off the mark on both instances.

  268. Craig says:

    For those who may be wondering about the validity of my comments at 10:14am, here’s a page of Copeland:

    http://www.cephasministry.com/kenneth_copeland.html

    Unfortunately, the accompanying page with the audio of the quotes is gone. However, I’ve a hunch you could find some or all on YouTube somewhere.

    The 3rd one in the list is exactly what I’m talking about:

    God did not create the world out of nothing, He used the Force of His Faith. (Kenneth Copeland, Spirit, Soul and Body, #01-0601, Tape #1)

    Folks, that’s rank heresy.

    The rest of them can mostly be seen as overtly Gnostic, with a dualistic (spirit is good, matter is evil) mindset.

    ADDED:

    The earth we live on is a “copy of the mother planet” (Kenneth Copeland, “Following the Faith of Abraham” tape # 01-3001)

    This is one is blatantly Gnostic: some 2nd century Gnostics believed the world was created by an inferior ‘demiurge’, or inferior ‘god’. Some Gnostics also posited a false dichotomy between the OT Jehovah and the NT Father, as if they were different Gods. In this view, the OT ‘god’ was inferior and it was he who created the earth.

  269. I have to say, the whole quibbling over the use of the article “the” when referring to the Holy Spirit is ridiculous. Some languages (like the Greek) don’t even use definite articles. So, are we to assume only speakers of English can access the “real” Holy Spirit because they preface it with “the?” Such semantic acrobatics aren’t going to ensure you are truly in touch with God.
    And while the Holy Spirit never pointed to Himself, neither did Jesus! But He did at times point to the father AND the Holy Spirit. one of the attributes of God is meekness, but that doesn’t say that others should not point to the Holy Spirit.
    I think people are making a big deal out of things they should not. “the” Holy Spirit doesn’t care if you use the article or not.

  270. Shawn says:

    @jeffreydaniel. It’s hardly surprising that Kris Valotton would be, “…anxious to leave, almost like a wounded animal.” When I’ve said things that have no scriptural backing or, in my desire to fit in, quote/endorse/support someone else who does (Valotton supports Bill Johnson), I’ve also wanted to leave when others have asked me from where in Scripture I got my “unique” ideas.

    Question for you: if I were to preach falsely and lead myself astray, how would you judge me by my fruit? And if I were to preach falsely and lead others astray, how would you judge me by my fruit?

    So if Valotton spreads confusion and division through the things he says and the people he endorses, how do you, Jeffrey, judge his fruit?

    Thanks for letting me comment.

  271. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    Sorry, but you’re mistaken. The definite article is sometimes used in the Greek NT, though not always. Sometimes other syntactical clues govern. The definite article is also used before “Christ” many times, as it is many times literally “Jesus the Christ” in Greek NT, though it’s rendered simply “Jesus Christ”. I’m not sure on the Holy Spirit (I don’t have a Greek source here at work – I’ll have to check when I get home).

    The point about the Holy Spirit is that His function IS to point to Jesus and not to Himself; therefore, for hyper-charismatics to focus on the Holy Spirit is wrong. It’s all about Christ and Him crucified and raised again. That’s the basis for the Gospel. And, while Jesus Christ was no megalomaniac for sure, He certainly DID point to Himself. The miracles themselves were a testament to Him – they testified that He was God in the flesh.

    “the” Holy Spirit doesn’t care if you use the article or not.

    I don’t think you can be quite that dogmatic. I certainly don’t pretend to know the mind of God (God, the Holy Spirit). I think it important to differentiate THE Holy Spirit from “an” Holy Spirit because there are other false religions claiming the Holy Spirit.

  272. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    As regards the article “the” before Holy Spirit… My husband prefers to leave off the article. The reason for this has nothing to do with the topic of discussion previously. He sees the 3rd person of the godhead as a personality, not an object. Not a “person” as such but as a distinct personality who can be grieved, lied to, has a will (in correlation with the other two), acts, etc.

  273. /craig,
    I think the fruit issue is about what Galatians talks about. We should be able to see the fruit of their works, does it look like flesh or like the fruit of the Spirit? I have known people with very sound, biblical doctrine, who exhibited nothing but flesh. And I think this is what Jesus was referring to. You know them by fruit-is it flesh or of the Spirit?
    From my personal contact with him, I saw the fruit of the Spirit. I think there was a bit of a mixture in the students I met.
    Please feel free to expound upon how you think he exhibits bad fruit. I am eager to hear your accusation.

  274. Shawn, I never said I asked Valotton where he got his ideas from. I think you are unfairly projecting your experience upon his motives.
    As for spreading confusion, it happened everywhere Jesus went, and Paul, and the rest of the disciples. Even at pentacost-look how the public was in confusion in Acts 2:6. Throughout the Gospels and Acts there were many debates among the pubic about what Jesus and the Apostles did and shared.Yes, God is not the author of confusion, but it doesn’t ensure others wont be confused by Him!

  275. Craig says:

    I am eager to hear your accusation.

    Let’s change the tone. How about “evidence” instead of “accusation”.

    It’s the fruit of false doctrine. While I’ve not focused much on Vallotton (focusing on his mentor Johnson instead), here’s an article (with both Vallotton and Johnson):

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

    As for practice, quickly (as I don’t have the time here at work to engage in a lengthy discussion), “soaking in His presence”, which is analogous to contemplative prayer, which is analogous to TM, aka, the New Age “expanding one’s Christ consciousness”. Prayer is GREAT; but, “soaking” is not Biblical. “Soaking” can lead to strange experiences, such as Jesus Culture’s Kim Walker’s testimony in which she claims she saw God the Father and Jesus:

    Start @ 7:30 (+ or -) here:

    and then this one (this has the Father at about 2:40):

    Can anyone see the Father and live?

  276. Craig, ok, sorry for being dogmatic, but my point was that others should not be dogmatic about the inclusion of the article. I really don’t think it’s that big a deal, and people are reading too much into it. If people are purposely omitting it (or using it that matter) for elitist motives,or some glory over special knowledge then yes, that is wrong. Some languages don’t have articles. My point still stands about that. I happen to live in one of the countries where the article is rarely used for anything.

  277. Craig says:

    OK, I see more of where you’re coming from re: the definite article. However, English does use “the” as opposed to “a” or “an” to differentiate. For example, we would not say “Cat ran out in front my car.” We’d say either “A” or “The” cat ran out in front of my car. The former would be used in a general sense, the latter in a particular sense. Similarly, I think it proper to use the definite article in front of “Holy Spirit” as there is no ‘general’ Holy Spirit, only a particular Holy Spirit.

  278. Craig says:

    I’ll add re: definite article. Most times the NT Greek uses the definite article in front of theos, or God. We translate it to English simply as “God”; however, this is because we do not recognize any other being potentially as God. In other words, there’s no potential usage of God in a ‘general’ sense, as if we’d ever write “a God”; we’d write “a god” (lower case) instead.

  279. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Personally, I continue to use the term “the Holy Spirit”. But that is His name. I wouldn’t say “the Craig”. I agree regarding your point re. the article “a” or “an”. I greatly respect your research and am not arguing the points you make above. You may be absolutely correct. However, I think we should be careful not to assume someone is speaking of the Holy Spirit in a NA or kundalini sense because they leave out “the”.

    As regards the “fruit” argument…the fruit must be consistent with the root. If the root is rotten, so is the fruit, no matter how juicy, brightly colored, and sweet it may taste. Contemporary example: take a look at Barbara Marx Hubbard, Ophrah or any other NA celebrity. They are happy, positive, successful (blessed in the world) and full of “life” people from the outside. But their root is rotten to the core. Another fruit to look for is leading people to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and godly living. He only is the way, truth and life. He is not an after thought or add on. True Christian discipleship requires dying to self, confession of sin, repentance, and a desire for godliness. The way to that is through faith in the Word, not the works of the flesh in deliverance/soaking/anointing/hearing from God, etc. At the core, these are all requirements laid on the sheep to DO and to FEEL. They are a tremendous burden. Been there–done that.

    We are complete in Him! Colossians 2:10. Oh, foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? How can what was begun in the spirit, be completed or made perfect in the flesh? Gal. 3:1

  280. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I was the one who brought up the article stuff with the Holy Spirit. The reason I brought it up is because everywhere else I’ve ever been with Christians, every other speaker I have ever heard who is Christian, have used the definite article “the” with the Holy Spirit. The only exception to this has been when I have talked to hyper-charismatics, or when I heard them speak. I found it curious, so I posed a question on here to find out if anyone had any thoughts as to why this could be.

    While in one sense it is not a big deal, in another sense it could be.

    I am firmly convinced that there is a spirit going around posing as the real Holy Spirit. If this is the case, then it matters a great deal whether or not the spirit is the real Holy Spirit or a fake one. I’m not saying that everyone who addresses the Holy Spirit and leaves off the definite article is deceived. I’m just saying that I found it interesting that the only people I’ve encountered who left off the definite article were hyper-charismatics.

    This was a question that I’d had for a long time, and I finally felt like asking it.

    And yes, this is a cultural question, as I realize that articles may not be as important in other cultures or other languages. Both God and Satan address people in the cultures that they are a part of.

  281. Craig says:

    …However, I think we should be careful not to assume someone is speaking of the Holy Spirit in a NA or kundalini sense because they leave out “the”…

    I agree. I think we should always be careful not to use ‘never’ or ‘always’ in any assertion – especially when it comes to another person. With some things there are absolutes; however, when it comes to how another may think or feel about something – whether it be a particular phrase or practice – we cannot be dogmatic. I believe there are many caught up in hyper-charismaticism very much unaware of what they’re involved in.

  282. IWTT says:

    I believe there are many caught up in hyper-charismaticism very much unaware of what they’re involved in.

    I so agree with you here. I have to look at my own past to realize, that is a true statement. I was totally ignorant of the deception I was in. In fact, this deception isn’t what I was actually focusing on when I began to question what I was involved in. Hyper-charismatic theology just happen to pop into subject and once I discovered the truth, the cards began to tumble, thank the Lord.

    As a worship leader in this theological camp I had to either make a choice of being obedient to the Word of God or comprimise and stay where I was just so that I could “experience” the “feel good manifestations” and I choose obedience. Frankly, getting away from what the leaders wanted and the expectations of worship in this setting was more of a bondage than a joy. I am free and joyful these days and much more at peace with my Lord.

  283. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I wanted to get back re: definite article and “Holy Spirit”. A perfect example is found in John 14:26. I will post only the English equivalent, rather than the Greek text or transliterated Greek (with one exception). You’ll see that modifiers usually follow nouns, and sometimes verbs even precede the subject in Koine Greek (the Greek of the NT). Also, words translated as “but” and “for”, e.g., are (almost?) never first in a given sentence.

    The but paracletos, the Spirit the Holy, which you will teach all things and will remind you [of] all things which told you I.

    Now, rearranging it better for English:

    But the paracletos, the Holy Spirit, which will teach you all things and will remind you [of] all things which I told you.

    Notice that the definite article precedes both “Spirit” and “Holy”. This is the same way (with the exception of the reversal of the modifier and noun) that “Son of Man” is in the Greek (literally “The Son the Man”). This is done to make particularity explicit.

    The following link is somewhat of a help; however, importantly, there are some errors (such as it has paracleton {“v” is “n” in English transliteration}, rather than paracletos {“h” signifies long e in some transliterations}):

    http://classic.studylight.org/isb/bible.cgi?query=john+14%3A26&section=0&it=nas&ot=bhs&nt=na&Enter=Perform+Search

    Also, to help you follow along, the definite article is alternatively here “o”, “to”, and “tw” (“w” for omega to differentiate from “o” omicron).

    In addition, and I deem this important, the word “Holy” in “Holy Spirit” is (transliterated) hagion, its singular form (of course); whereas, when most Bibles translate “saints” it’s actually hagios, the plural form of “holy”. It should best be rendered “holy ones”, IMO. The point is that this means we are all part of one collective, just like the terms “bride” and “body” of Christ are meant to be used only in a collective sense. The Church is made up of people, not an organization or building; and the Church is only holy by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    ADDED: I meant to make the point that “saints” (hagios) is NEVER singular when referring to Christians; i.e., you will never see in NT Greek something like “Paul, a hagion… (saint, as in singular)”.

  284. Craig,
    While I do find Kim Walker-S to be a bit flaky and cooky, I don’t think the theology behind what she is saying all that troubling. I am not going to talk about whether she is a Christian or not because I don’t know. I do find her phrase of living “from one encounter to another” a bit problematic depending on what exactly she means. I consider reading God’s word and praying an encounter, for instance that gives me life. In that sense, I guess many of us live from encounter to encounter, no?
    Concering bizarre Christian experiences, Paul describes an experience where he could not even tell if he was in his body or not, or in the 3rd heavens. John, also, while he was alive, describes seeing the throne room of God, with God on the throne (among other extremely bizarre things.) I think it is clear, when you look past her personality and language obfuscations, that Kim is describing a vision through the Holy Spirit, and not that literally she saw God the father face to face. I think her sin may be in being overly-dramatic and possibly fleshy, but I also believe the Holy Spirit speaks to people in language and metaphors they can understand, which helps to explain johns visions in Revelation. Many of us are still trying to figure out what the modern equivalent of many of those signs are…
    Now, unless you are a cessationist, what is to say visions, even the bizarre, have passed away? I have had encounters with demonic spirits, where I could almost not tell if I was in my own body or not. It wasn’t because I was seeking them, that’s for sure. But it happened when I was praying. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood! I also have had visions through the Holy Spirit. And experienced other gifts of the Spirit. Do these things make me a heretic by your accounting? I believe all the classic orthodox core beliefs, and I have laid down my life to follow Jesus. So, what is your assessment of me?

  285. Concerning how Jesus operated as a man on the earth, it was through the Holy Spirit. In that sense, we all DO have access to the same anointing. I don’t see how that leads to anyone thinking they are “john Doe Christ.” UNLESS they believe Jesus was not fully God. This is a problem.
    But Jesus did the miracles, not because He was God (He wasn’t accessing His divine qualities to do them), but because He was following the Father’s commands, and did them THROUGH the guidance and power of Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:6-9; Luke 4:14; John 3:34; John 5:19, 30; Matthew 12:28; Heb. 2:3-4

    OF course, I don’t believe Jesus laid aside his divinity, but that it was veiled. I believe His divine nature “broke through” at the transfiguration, as proof of this. I am not sure what BJ believes, but he should consider changing his language, at the least, and not saying “he laid aside his divinity.” He could be indicating that he “laid aside his access to it.” I agree, he should speak this more clearly if so. But not having perfect theology does not disqualify someone from being a Christian. Take SPurgeon and Finney, for instance. Both had some aberrant views. And they are not alone. BUT, those guys also talked a lot about Jesus as savior, the cross, and repentance. From what I can tell, this is hardly, if ever talked about at Bethel. That doesn’t mean they don’t believe it, nor does that even make them stand out in the western church. But I see it as a weak spot. OF course, Hebrews talks about not laying again the elementary principles, one of which is : repentance from dead works. My concern is less about BJ, as for what lies on the peripheral- young believers who may not be very rooted and grounded in the basic gospel message and truth about Jesus, and who subsequently develop an idolatry of miracles and the supernatural.
    But I honestly don’t have a full understanding of what goes on there. I only spent a few hours with Valotton’s team when they were here and I was working with them. They seemed to be different in method, but that is all I could glean. But I saw genuine fruit coming from their ministry.
    Let me state that I am very zealous for the truth, that it be pure. But I also have to admit I have bias towards my “flavor” of it, which sometimes I think is based on the bible, only later to find that is was more about my interpretation of it. I have come to respect all camps of the faith. I listen to a wide variety of teachers from John McCarther, to Sproul, Piper, D. Wilkerson, K.P Yohannon and everything in between. I used to think it was near impossible to be Catholic and be a Christian, and I still don’t have respect for that organization and believe there are false teachings like the stuff about Mary, but God has shown me there are Christians there. I would not say the same about Mormons of JWs of course, because they have an absolutely false Christ. But at least the Catholics have Christ correct, most of them, anyways.

    All I am trying to say is that we have to come to understand that many things of what we think are absolute truths are blemished by our background and experience, and we come to exalt our interpretation, not necessarily the truth of God’s word. And we have to try and recognize that because people use different jargon or slightly different vocabulary than us, it does not necessarily make them false Christians. Jesus did not com to create clones-that isn’t real unity. Where His Spirit it, there is freedom. Freedom of expression, among other things.
    It’s called His church for a reason. Even Paul recognized he was only a steward-someone entrusted something that does not belong to him (1 Corinthians 4:1) This is Jesus’ church. We would do well to remember that in how we deal with those we think are false. If something is heresy, yes expose it, but do it with humility, taking heed lest you also fall, and not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, nor more lowly of others! We don’t war against flesh and blood (people) and so we love those who are in deception, and pray for them.

    I am not accusing anyone here specifically, but I know the blogosphere is full of people who are correcting “errors” in the body of Christ merely because it satisfies their flesh. We have to let God examine our hearts about this, and make sure we are always humble and operating in love, not pride or any other selfish motive. It’s easy to slip into that. But always remember, This is Jesus’ bride of which we are talking, and even those who are false are victims of the kingdom of darkness and need to be rescued. What do any of us have that we did not receive? Who among us would not be plunging headlong into hell but for the grace of God?

  286. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    My assessment? You are caught up in a very dangerous movement. You can read accounts on the internet of folks formerly in this movement whose demonic encounters have ceased upon getting out such as this one:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-a-personal-testimony-regarding-bethels-influence/

    I’m not a cessationist; but, I don’t think the experiences of Paul and the Apostle John of which you are describing are normative, rather they were formative for the NT Church. I believe the canon is closed. Paul’s experience (which he was instructed NOT to speak on specifics) may well have been used by God to provide him some info regarding end times. No doubt John’s experience was eschatological.

    As regards Kim Walker, she didn’t portray her account as a vision. She spoke of it as if is were actual. She really thinks she saw God the Father take out of a piece of his heart. She really thinks she saw Jesus as a ‘Stretch Armstrong’ Jesus. In Scripture, any sort of encounter with an angel was one of fear and reverence, with the angels telling those encountered to not worship THEM. In Scripture we see Isaiah proclaiming himself dead for having seen God. Yet Walker-Smith speaks of it in a nonchalant manner, recounting the most bizarre of “God the Father” and “Jesus”. I’m convinced it was “another jesus”, “another spirit”.

  287. Craig says:

    Yet again, you are mistaken. While the Holy Spirit most definitely played an important role in the temptation in the wilderness, e.g., Jesus did not function solely as a Spirit-filled man. I’ve already written on this subject in the following, but I have a much more involved post I’m working on to refute that notion:

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

    I’ve written extensively on what Bill Johnson teaches on this issue, and even in this very article on this thread on which you are commenting (“Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man…”). I suggest you read it.

    Historically, the Church held to the (Scriptural) position that Jesus performed His own miracles. It’s only been recently that this doctrine has been challenged by liberal theologians. On the surface, it does sound rather convincing; but, it does not stand up to Biblical scrutiny. Jesus revealed HIS own glory at the wedding at Cana (John 2:11); He is the One who stilled the storm, as opposed to the Holy Spirit, as the disciples recognized it was Him and He did not move to correct their rhetorical question/exclamation, “Who is this then that even the winds and the lake obey Him?!” (Mark 4:41) [importantly, the term "man", anthropon is not used in Greek here].

    But, more convincingly, perhaps, I believe is that we find Jesus granting eternal life (and judgment) while He walked the earth (John 5:21, 24-25, 27; Luke 23:43; John 9:39-41, etc.). To be sure, Jesus will also judge at the final judgment (John 5:28-30); but, note that this section in John speaks of judgment/salvation in the then-present (5:21-27), as well as the future (5:28-30).

    In addition, Jesus raised Himself from the dead (John 2:19; 10:17/18); however, it was the entire Trinity who raised Jesus’ dead body: He was raised by God [Acts 2:24; Rom 4:24; Col 2:12]; He was raised by the Father [Gal 1:1; Acts 5:29-31]; and, He was raised by the Holy Spirit [Rom 8:11].

    You wrote, …Take SPurgeon and Finney, for instance. Both had some aberrant views. And they are not alone. BUT, those guys also talked a lot about Jesus as savior, the cross, and repentance. From what I can tell, this is hardly, if ever talked about at Bethel. That doesn’t mean they don’t believe it, nor does that even make them stand out in the western church. But I see it as a weak spot…

    And THAT’s a VERY bad place to have a weak spot! This is what our faith is ALL ABOUT! I think you should start reading the material on CrossWise with an open mind in search for the truth of this matter. Having studied New Age and occult, Johnson’s views/teachings are not incongruent with those. Here’s a very long series which goes into some of this:

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

    Be sure not to skip over this one, as it’s central to Johnson’s Christology (and the Word of Faith, and hyper-charismaticism in general):

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

    You are quite correct about Catholicism. I think the ‘system’ is fatally flawed; but, they DO have Christology correct.

    Since I’ve come to Christ late in my life, at 39 (I’m now 52), and I wasn’t raised or bound to any sort of tradition before that, I don’t have much theological baggage that I brought into my conversion. My personality bent is such that I will not take much of anything at face value; I need to search it out myself. The theology I have learned, I’ve learned by seeking out the material and through self-study. I won’t ever go to seminary, in part because I don’t have the means; but, now that I’ve researched even those, I’m very wary. Most, if not all, are sectarian to varying degrees. I’m not Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. – I’m CHRISTIAN. And, I’ve aligned myself more with the Protestant position (though I’m not ‘protesting’). I suppose that makes me non-denominational (the primary type of church I’ve attended is non-denominational).

    I have been amazed at things I’ve been shown at seemingly odd times when I’d been searching out a particular answer to a question to no avail. Then, seemingly out of the blue, the answer, or the means to find the answer, ‘presents itself’ – sometimes in the strangest ways. I don’t take credit for what I write here (at least the better stuff), as it’s clear to me the Holy Spirit guides me along. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes comment ‘in the flesh’, as undoubtedly I do, though I endeavor not to.

    You wrote: I am not accusing anyone here specifically, but I know the blogosphere is full of people who are correcting “errors” in the body of Christ merely because it satisfies their flesh. We have to let God examine our hearts about this, and make sure we are always humble and operating in love, not pride or any other selfish motive. It’s easy to slip into that. But always remember, This is Jesus’ bride of which we are talking, and even those who are false are victims of the kingdom of darkness and need to be rescued. What do any of us have that we did not receive? Who among us would not be plunging headlong into hell but for the grace of God?

    I’m truly saddened by the polemics and ‘ugly’ writing by some who are otherwise doing a good job at exposing the problems within the church. To me, it defeats the purpose. I endeavor to be straight up in how I present things here, but I don’t want to figuratively beat folks over the head or resort to any sort of name calling. I try to remain neutral in tone, but that is hard to express sometimes (and I don’t want to have to resort to prefacing all comments with some sort of disclaimer). You may see my point of view with this very short post:

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

  288. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    Let me ask you a question that has bugged me about Bill Johnson and others who claim that Jesus only did His miracles by the Holy Spirit.

    What is the point in having Jesus only do the miracles by the Holy Spirit? Why does it matter that Jesus did them only by the Holy Spirit, and not through His own power as God?

    The only answer I can think of is that by saying that Jesus did these things by the Holy Spirit, then it means that we can do all those things, too. It makes us equal Jesus — pulling Jesus down to our level/pulling us up to Jesus’ level.

    Otherwise, why MUST Jesus have emptied Himself of His ability to perform miracles or other divine attributes?

    To phrase this another way:
    Why couldn’t Jesus keep His ability to perform miracles and to act as God during His time here on earth? Why couldn’t these miracles be proof of who He is and was — that He is God in the flesh?

    Even my theologically liberal New Testament professor admitted that for Jesus to have control over the water meant that Jesus was God. People in the ancient world thought that control over water was something that only a god could do. So to claim that Jesus didn’t have control over the water, in and of Himself, could actually be seen as a stab to His deity.

    If Jesus did not access His divine qualities to do anything while on Earth, then how could Jesus fault people for not believing Him to be God? He would have given them no reason, no evidence that Jesus was who He claimed to be.

    You wrote:
    “But not having perfect theology does not disqualify someone from being a Christian. Take SPurgeon and Finney, for instance. Both had some aberrant views. And they are not alone. BUT, those guys also talked a lot about Jesus as savior, the cross, and repentance. From what I can tell, this is hardly, if ever talked about at Bethel. That doesn’t mean they don’t believe it, nor does that even make them stand out in the western church. But I see it as a weak spot. OF course, Hebrews talks about not laying again the elementary principles, one of which is : repentance from dead works. My concern is less about BJ, as for what lies on the peripheral- young believers who may not be very rooted and grounded in the basic gospel message and truth about Jesus, and who subsequently develop an idolatry of miracles and the supernatural.”

    My response:
    While no one has perfect theology, there are some views that are just plain false. Paul made the cross essential to his preaching. And indeed it is essential to our faith. It is the one thing that separates Christianity from every other religion. To not preach on it or make it the main emphasis of teaching — the single subject that everything else should stem from is a serious matter.

    If the true gospel isn’t being preached, then something else will take its place. Something else will become central — the teaching from which all other doctrine being taught at a particular church flows. And this teaching becomes a false gospel. People think they are learning about Christianity and that they are Christian, but those going to churches like this never hear the gospel.

    And if the real gospel isn’t being preached, then how is anyone going to hear it? How are they being saved if they can’t hear it? And if there is no real gospel, then there is no real Jesus and there is no real Holy Spirit present at those churches either.

    One of the Holy Spirit’s main functions is to lead people into truth and to point people to the real gospel and to the real Jesus. He convicts people of sin. He helps people to understand God’s truth.

    So if the Holy Spirit is in charge of what is going on at Bethel Church, and is leading Bill Johnson and the other staff members there, then why isn’t He convicting the people there that they need to preach on the cross and the real gospel? Why isn’t this the main emphasis at Bethel? You would think that it would be, given their so-called favored position — all those miracles happening there.

    I share your concern about what the young believers who may not be very rooted and grounded in the basic gospel message and truth about Jesus subsequently developing an idolatry of miracles and the supernatural. This is the very reason why not preaching the real gospel is very dangerous.

    Not only that, but if it isn’t the real Holy Spirit in operation, then what is? We know that there is real power in that church. But what is the source? I submit to you once again that it is not the real Holy Spirit, or the real gospel would be emphasized and preached there, and false doctrine wouldn’t be spewing out of the leadership. The only other source of power is demonic….

    And if people are dealing with the demonic, and they are deceived into thinking that it is God, then they are in spiritual danger…serious spiritual danger.

    You wrote:
    “Let me state that I am very zealous for the truth, that it be pure. But I also have to admit I have bias towards my “flavor” of it, which sometimes I think is based on the bible, only later to find that is was more about my interpretation of it. I have come to respect all camps of the faith. I listen to a wide variety of teachers from John McCarther, to Sproul, Piper, D. Wilkerson, K.P Yohannon and everything in between. I used to think it was near impossible to be Catholic and be a Christian, and I still don’t have respect for that organization and believe there are false teachings like the stuff about Mary, but God has shown me there are Christians there. I would not say the same about Mormons of JWs of course, because they have an absolutely false Christ. But at least the Catholics have Christ correct, most of them, anyways.”
    My response:
    Listening to various Christian teachers across denominational lines is very good. If they are orthodox, then you will see a consistency across the board. They would all be preaching the real gospel and pointing people to the real Jesus.

  289. Arwen4CJ says:

    (My response to jeffreydaniel continued)

    But our number one source should be the Bible….but if we are reading it through the lens of a false teacher, then it might be hard for us to properly exegete it, which is why it is helpful to see how others have interpreted it.

    You wrote:
    “All I am trying to say is that we have to come to understand that many things of what we think are absolute truths are blemished by our background and experience, and we come to exalt our interpretation, not necessarily the truth of God’s word. And we have to try and recognize that because people use different jargon or slightly different vocabulary than us, it does not necessarily make them false Christians. Jesus did not com to create clones-that isn’t real unity. Where His Spirit it, there is freedom. Freedom of expression, among other things.
    It’s called His church for a reason. Even Paul recognized he was only a steward-someone entrusted something that does not belong to him (1 Corinthians 4:1) This is Jesus’ church. We would do well to remember that in how we deal with those we think are false. If something is heresy, yes expose it, but do it with humility, taking heed lest you also fall, and not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, nor more lowly of others! We don’t war against flesh and blood (people) and so we love those who are in deception, and pray for them.”

    “I am not accusing anyone here specifically, but I know the blogosphere is full of people who are correcting “errors” in the body of Christ merely because it satisfies their flesh. We have to let God examine our hearts about this, and make sure we are always humble and operating in love, not pride or any other selfish motive. It’s easy to slip into that. But always remember, This is Jesus’ bride of which we are talking, and even those who are false are victims of the kingdom of darkness and need to be rescued. What do any of us have that we did not receive? Who among us would not be plunging headlong into hell but for the grace of God?”
    My response:
    What you have said above is true. That is one reason why it is important to define terms these days — to see what people really mean by the terms that they use.

    While it can be really hard sometimes to know where a person’s heart is, or the tone they are using, or any non-verbals at all, on the Internet — I do believe that most people on this site are commenting here and saying what they are because they have a genuine love for the real Jesus and for the real gospel, and they don’t want to see other people deceived.

    I know that it puts me in tears sometimes to know that there are people out there who are being lead astray and deceived by evil spirits, and that this is being passed off as Christianity. I really want people to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in a saving way. I do not want people to be deceived. I do care — I deeply care.

    And, yes, we do need to pray for those who are caught up in deception.

  290. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I don’t mean to overload you with comments, but I did wish to touch on your assertion that John 5:19, 30 indicates Jesus did not perform His own miracles, as this is a common misunderstanding, perpetuated by many. I do believe you are sincere in your statements that you are on a quest for Truth; therefore, I wish to address this at some length.

    As with anything, context is of utmost importance. First, going back to John 5:17 you’ll see Jesus’ response to the Jews:

    My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.

    Working on the Sabbath was seen as breaking the Mosaic Law; however, Jewish tradition recognized that God continued to work on the Sabbath, in the form of ‘giving life’ (birth) and ‘judgment’ (death). This is one of the reasons why the Jews “tried all the harder to kill him”, but Scripture adds this one more overtly:

    …not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God [the Father].

    Now, take a very close look at how Jesus answers them:

    19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

    The false teachers, such as Bill Johnson, proof-text this verse, stopping at “…can do nothing of Himself…”; but, does this really mean Jesus is powerless? Not at all! Jesus actually increases His claim of divinity by asserting that He actually “sees the Father” [remember, no one sees the Father and lives, yet Jesus claims He's the only one who had - John 1:18], which implies the use of omniscience and/or omnipresence, plus He even “does in like manner”. This is precisely because Jesus is the eternal Word, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity – the eternal Word who added human flesh to His Person. The verb “does” explicitly means to function – that Jesus Himself is functioning – not that He ‘subcontracts out’ His divine functions, so to speak.

    The next verse brings up the “greater things” (which was first used in John 1:50 and 3:11), with the following verse describing these “greater things”, which are in the form of ‘giving life to whomever Jesus chooses’. Certainly, Jesus had to do this by His own intrinsic divine powers (omniscience to know the heart of the person/s, divine authority, etc.), as, if one would argue that He used the Holy Spirit’s power instead (and thereby do violence to the context), one would have to conclude that ANY Christian could do the same. That is, the logical conclusion in this faulty thought is that Holy Spirit indwelt Christians would be able to grant eternal life (and damnation) to whom WE choose by the power of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, that cannot be correct!

    And verse 22 makes the explicit claim that it’s only Jesus Christ Himself who administers judgment, and not the Father; but, then verse 30 balances this out with:

    I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

    This is where it gets a little bit tricky theologically. First, we must understand that the Trinity has but ONE will, rather than three. Otherwise, the Trinity would be devolve into tritheism (three gods), with three individual wills potentially pulling at each other. (This is why we should be careful in pushing the distinction of the “Persons” of the Trinity too far.) Therefore, Jesus had a will perfectly in line with the Father’s. Yet, Jesus Christ makes the explicit statement that He’s not seeking His own will, but that of the Father’s in verse 30. A contradiction? No. This is because Jesus had not one, but two wills – one divine (co-equal with the rest of the Trinity) and one human. Sometimes Jesus spoke with His divine; others He spoke with His human. This is how Jesus can state “The Father is greater than I” and yet say, “The Father and I are one.”

    For more on the “Greater Works” (John 14:12), see this article:

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

  291. Craig says:

    As I’ve been working on this very detailed article on functional(ist) kenosis, it became obvious that I had to address a bit about the Trinity. This lead me back to Cynthia Bourgeault’s book The Wisdom Jesus, a New Age book by this Episcopalian priestess, to read about her view of the so-called “social” Trinity. As I made my way towards a later section in the book, I found a few previous bookmarks used when I earlier wrote this article. First, I’ll quote Bill Johnson (then I’ll quote Bourgeault):

    The focus of repentance is to change our way of thinking until the presence of His Kingdom fills our consciousness. The enemy’s attempt to anchor our affections to the things that are visible is easily resisted when our hearts are aware of the presence of His world…

    If the Kingdom is here and now, then we must acknowledge it’s in the invisible realm. Yet being at hand reminds us that it’s also within reach

    Recall from the earlier article that I presented the case that Johnson is using repentance as a euphemism for contemplative prayer, or expanding one’s consciousness (Christ consciousness). Now here’s Bourgeault [2008, Shambhala, Boston, MA; p 30]:

    …A lot of Christians, particularly of a more evangelical persuasion, assume that the Kingdom of Heaven means the place where you go when you die – if you’ve been good. But the problem with this interpretation is that Jesus Himself specifically contradicts it when he says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (that is, here) and “at hand” (that is, now). It’s not later, but lighter – some more subtle quality or dimension of experience accessible to you right in the moment. You don’t die into it; you awaken into it.

    And this quote also reminds of Bob Jones’ words as spoken at a conference at Johnson’s Bethel (as quoted here):

    But, you’re getting ready to wake up for the night is far spent and the dawn is at hand. And we’re getting ready for one of the greatest awakenings of all time – no revival but a’ awakening that never ends

    Folks, as I’ve been attempting to make the case for quite a while now, I’m convinced Bill Johnson is teaching New Age doctrine! As is, hyper-charismaticism in general.

    Part of this faulty conception of the Trinity, known as social Trinitarianism (as some propound it), is the idea that each ‘Person’ of the Trinity is separate, each with an individual consciousness and will (which essentially devolves into tritheism, three gods), but united in love, mutually indwelling each other. This then provides an example for the human person: separate yet united. But, Bourgeault goes even further: there’s “No separation between God and humans” [p 31]:

    …What Jesus has in mind is a complete mutual indwelling: I am in God, God is in you, we are in each other…

    I’m reminded of the Beatles tune “I Am the Walrus” [sung by John Lennon, the most overtly New Age of the four; consider his song "Imagine"]: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together…

  292. First of all, I appreciate all of you having a zeal for God and for truth. That is good, and admirable, but let us all remember that Paul had this same zeal that led him to persecute the church.
    I think one of Satan’s greatest deceptions in the west is that knowledge(or even doctrine) saves us, and qualifies us. I think it is telling that the USA has exponentially more books, teachings, seminaries and the like than any other country by far-mostly centered around knowledge, degrees, doctrinal “perfection”, and intellectual qualifications (churches even shop for pastors based on such things) yet, the Gospel is in rapid, marked decline. Pastors and followers alike leaving the church and even faith in droves. On the other hand, we have a place like China, without a single seminary, sparse access to even bibles, much less theological training, or other access to such “Christian” intellectualism and the Gospel is exploding. But they are seeing miracles. Is this a coincidence? Is doctrinal “rightness” the solution, is knowledge the answer to the world’s problems? Has it ever been?

    I don’t mean to put faith and reason(or knowing scripture) at odds, but I also want to point out the utter idolatry and foolishness at work here. IF any of us is honest, we will admit that our salvation did not come by way of knowledge known through human means, but rather, experience, by way of the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus meant when He said to Peter, ” “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Peter was an UNEDUCATED fisherman. He didn’t come to faith, even through the scriptures(and I don’t say this to minimize them!) nor through study of any kind, nor through doctrinal correctness. And yet THIS revelation is what Jesus said He would build His church on.
    I think you can pick apart, through selective quotes and other such means, just about any minister’s theology, and make him seem a heretic. But where is the grace or wisdom in this? Does it make us more spiritual to see other’s faults? Are we honoring God or satisfying our own selfish desires, or seeking to appease our own fears? I think we would be careful to remember this church belongs to Jesus, not us, and only seek to expose darkness with Holy reverence for Him and have His fear upon us. I think it’s interesting that in Colossians it describes false believers who left the faith as those who ” are detached from the very head that nourishes and connects the whole body” 2:19. In many places Paul describes false teachers as those who were once in the faith, not that they were always false. But I find this mark most interesting-people start to forget who the head of the body is, who we get our orders from, who is in charge of this whole body. So, Craig, (and others) I have to ask, are you sure what you are doing is under the leadership of the Head, who is Christ? In exposing supposed “false teachers” are you honoring and obeying Jesus? And please don’t rebut me with some scripture to justify your position. It is not a question I am asking for an answer for. I know all the scriptures about exposing darkness and the like. But I also know God is a God who looks not just at what you do, but what is in your heart, for He seeks “truth in the inward parts” (Psalms) Hey, if it’s your calling to have a blog and expose what is false, more power to you, but that also doesn’t mean you are always doing it in a way that honors God or people. I just ask that you consider these things and pray about them, and let the Spirit of Christ search you.

    And for the record, I am not part of any “movement” false or otherwise. I follow Jesus, plain and simple, no matter what it costs me physically, in reputation, or anything else. I didn’t sell or give away everything I owned, my culture and family and friends and move to a foreign country 5000 miles from home for the sake of a movement. I did it because God spoke and I obeyed, and I don’t regret that either. Following Jesus has cost me to cut ties with people in the world and in the church, movement or otherwise. And yes, God speaks to me openly and plainly sometimes in a straight forward voice, and He has since I was saved over 10 years ago. I wasn’t seeking the supernatural and I didn’t learn it from any church or movement. That came after the experience, just like my doctrine-through reading the word, study, prayer and meditation. I met Jesus, and the Holy Spirit gave me the revelation He was the Christ, son of the living God, and that is the foundation upon which all I believe is built, and always will be. I frequently prophesy over people, and God has used me to heal others. I have seen countless miracles. It is through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, not demons. Satan IS in a war against a church working in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, and yes, salvation is the greatest miracle of all. But at the same time, he is not threatened by a church that is centered in knowledge. I think what I wrote about USA helps to support my point-he is winning that battle mostly! Believers, who know who they are in Christ, who are praying and co-laboring with the Holy Spirit is who he fears.

    What I write comes from love and not from a judgmental or elitist heart in any way. I truly AM the chief of sinners. I was the worst of men, am the worst of men, but God chose to save me by His grace. God bless.

  293. Craig says:

    Paul physically persecuted the Church. Exposing false doctrine and teachers has nothing to do with ‘persecution'; it’s about warning the sheep – at least those who’ll listen – and pulling those who are not yet sheep out of the fire (Jude 22-23; James 5:19-20). Exposing false doctrine is not “exposing faults”. It’s one thing if there’s the occasional ‘slip of the pen’ or ‘slip of the tongue’ (as I mention at the very beginning of this particular article).

    In fact, we are told to avoid them after marking them:

    17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18, NKJV)

    No one here has said theology, or proper doctrine saves us. In fact, I’ve stated the converse on more than one occasion on this site.

    I’ve heard stories about China, but I cannot confirm nor deny their validity. I DO know that there are many of the hyper-charismatics worldwide who are spreading their false doctrine – a doctrine more rooted in Eastern mysticism than Christianity.

    I think you can pick apart, through selective quotes and other such means, just about any minister’s theology, and make him seem a heretic…

    I challenge you to show me in any place on this site that I’ve taken anyone’s quote out of context. I’ve a feeling you’ve not actually taken the time to read the material (really read, rather than skim) on here. I feel I build my case in the articles on CrossWise by pulling from the author’s material, and providing other’s material for back-up. If you feel I’ve not made my case, then be specific and we’ll have a discussion.

    It seems in your view that we should never say anything about false doctrine or false teachers, yet this is quite prevalent in the NT epistles.

    …So, Craig, (and others) I have to ask, are you sure what you are doing is under the leadership of the Head, who is Christ? In exposing supposed “false teachers” are you honoring and obeying Jesus? And please don’t rebut me with some scripture to justify your position. It is not a question I am asking for an answer for…

    So, then what IS your point?

    …Hey, if it’s your calling to have a blog and expose what is false, more power to you, but that also doesn’t mean you are always doing it in a way that honors God or people. I just ask that you consider these things and pray about them, and let the Spirit of Christ search you.

    I’d say your questioning is rather judgmental, though you try to couch it as if it’s not. Do you think that perhaps I DID do this very thing (search myself) before starting this blog? Again, if you’d actually read some of the links (such as this one) I referenced earlier, you’d have a better idea.

    …like my doctrine-through reading the word, study, prayer and meditation…

    What kind of “meditation” are you referring to? Scripturally, we meditate by reading, studying, pondering the Word of God; yet, it seems you are presenting it as a separate discipline altogether.

  294. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I took a fair amount of time in my comment refuting your assertion that Jesus lived entirely by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, you just ignored it. If you feel I’ve made the case, then perhaps in all honesty you should acknowledge it. If you think I didn’t make the case, then, again, let’s have a discussion.

  295. You spend a lot of time picking apart people’s words and now you’re doing it to me in what seems is perhaps an effort to label me as a heretic because I don’t think exactly like you, and now suggesting I am one spreading “charismania” to other parts of the world, in your opinion. I said meditation because the bible lists it as a separate discipline, like in Psalms 1. But thanks for trying to microscopically read into every word I write. That is really edifying. And no, I don’t practice anything akin to Eastern or New Age meditation. Some of what you wrote seems like personal attack to me, and yet you tell others not to do this in your “before you comment” section.

    I have nothing to prove to you. Maybe it was a mistake to even mention part of my testimony. God is my judge. All I stated was as suggestions. My motive is love, granted I am not perfect at expressing it. But I don’t wish to argue. I didn’t ignore your comments about Jesus doing what He did on His own. I thought about it, and didn’t wish to argue. I appreciate your perspective, it helped me to think more about it, and search the word.

    And no offense intended, but I have a life outside of this blog, so I didn’t walk around all day contemplating what you wrote or what I would write back with. I simply moved on. You seem to take it as a personally affront, or that I was intentionally being evasive. Neither is true. Again, I think you have a microscope on people’s motives who don’t agree with you. I am not trying to personally attack you, either. Just stating what I observe. And I want to suggest that you may through this blog be coming to the place where your primary lens of people is are they heretic/non-heretic? I would suggest this is not a healthy set of glasses to be wearing. It leads to a very black and white, rigid thinking through which love cannot operate. And without love, all your knowledge is totally useless (1 Cor. 13)

    you said: “It seems in your view that we should never say anything about false doctrine or false teachers, yet this is quite prevalent in the NT epistles.”
    Nope, that is absolutely not my view, but I also don’t presume to have the same authority nor discernment as Paul, and I also think there is a godly and ungodly way to do such things. And I think it can quickly become a glorified witch hunt, or something that feeds ego and fear. This is why I pointed to Christ as the head.

    My “point” was to get you outside of yourself for a moment, and to maybe get you to prayerfully consider re- searching and letting God search your heart. Not just as you started writing the blog, but daily. I had already read the about me section and the “are you a heretic” section. I didn’t really feel like it answered the question of why you personally are doing this.

    And from some of the posts, I think you are, at least at times, motivated by pride, paranoia and fear more than love. Again, I know that may sound offensive, but it is my observation, which could be wrong. I cannot see into your heart. Forgive me if I am wrong.

    I am not so much interested in HOW you build your arguments on here (it generally seems to be excellent) but WHY, what motivates you? And are you doing it in a way that honors Christ and people? You know, the definition of gossip is not that it is something untrue. Gossip can be things that are 100% true. There is something to think about.

    But why, apart from what the bible says, ARE you doing this? Are you connected to a local body of believers? What do they think of your blog?Do they pray for you, and know about your work here? Do you have Godly counsel in your life? I ask these questions as a brother in Christ, not as an accuser.

    Again, bro, I don’t wish to argue back and forth. You don’t have to defend yourself even if you feel I am unfairly representing you. This is not an attack. I am zealous for truth, and also God’s body, and the lost people out there in the world. IF you are doing what you do with a pure heart, then by all means keep contending for the faith. Just do it in the fear of the Lord.

  296. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    First, I am not attempting to label you a heretic (in any case, I call teachings ‘heresy’ rather than call individuals “heretics”), nor did I imply it. My point about hyper-charismaticism being global was simply that. I’ve no idea of your whereabouts, or if you do travel outside of your own locale – wherever that is. My premise for seeming to ‘attack’ you, is that you’ve come on here portraying yourself as one who is searching for truth, yet you’ve mostly tried to question what is being done on here; and, when I specifically try to show you how the notion that Jesus did all His work by the Holy Spirit is faulty from a Biblical perspective, you chose not to address this (initially), you chose instead to ask your questions about my motives, portraying them with your disclaimers that you’re doing this for my benefit, to get me to think about what I’m doing on here. This makes me wonder about your true motives.

    Your attack on me began in one of your first comments, “…Please feel free to expound upon how you think he [Kris Vallotton] exhibits bad fruit. I am eager to hear your accusation.” When I mentioned to change the tone (or Freudian slip?), suggesting substituting “evidence” for “accusation”, you never addressed this at all. And, you never did comment regarding the Vallotton article to which I referred.

    The “Are You a Heretic?” post references Jude 22-23 and James 5:19-20; I’ve mentioned it in my previous comment as well. There are lost people IN the “Church” – I assume you don’t think that all who attend a church building are part of the body. I know folks who are caught up in this hyper-charismatic movement. And my heart is truly saddened for these. THAT’s why I do this. I had fasted and prayed and then continued praying for one individual for a long time (a specific story which I don’t feel the need to divulge) – until God took it off my heart. I don’t know why He did; but, I obeyed.

    I may be dense, but I’m not getting your point about Christ being the Head. Of course this is true, but I don’t see how it relates. Unless you were trying to say that I’m somehow persecuting His body. But, by your phrasing it seems you’re suggesting that I’m just not, or may not be, under His authority. I chose to ignore that (if that’s what you meant) because I understood it as that you were questioning my motives. You’re doing that again; let’s move on from that.

    You wrote, …I didn’t ignore your comments about Jesus doing what He did on His own. I thought about it, and didn’t wish to argue. I appreciate your perspective, it helped me to think more about it, and search the word.

    Please do search the Word on this. But it’s not a matter of ‘arguing'; certainly, it can be discussed without turning into an ‘argument’. In fact, the term “argue” is used by lawyers who “argue their case”; it’s not meant to be negative, though most construe the word in a negative fashion. Folks can passionately ‘argue’ their point of view, but it doesn’t have to get ‘ugly’.

    I’ve focused primarily on Christology, the Person and work of Jesus Christ, as I feel this is the most important aspect of our faith, as regards doctrine. We HAVE to know who Jesus is, otherwise we could fall prey to, as Paul describes, ‘another Jesus’ – such as the kind Bill Johnson is teaching about. That is, a ‘Jesus’ who could not properly be called “Christ” until He received the “Christ anointing”. This is remarkably like some of the New Agers tell it. Here’s Johnson (as from this blog post):

    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 [the anointing] there could be no title.

    And, since Jesus needed “the [Christ] anointing” for supernatural powers, and so do we, then we’re just like Jesus! At least in that sense, according to those who teach this. And this is why I’m so opposed to the doctrine that Jesus relied solely on the Holy Spirit for all supernatural endeavors for the entirety of His earthly ministry. It has the effect of bringing Jesus down to the level of man, while simultaneously elevating man to Jesus’ (lowered) level.

    As for your assertion that meditation is a separate discipline, then using Psalm 1 to back up your claim, I note that this, too, is referring to ‘meditating’ on God’s Word, that is, pondering it after study:

    How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
    Nor stand in the path of sinners,
    Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
    2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
    3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
    Which yields its fruit in its season
    And its leaf does not wither;
    And in whatever he does, he prospers. [NASB]

    I’ve been doing this a while. Many of your comments – persecuting the Body, “exposing faults”, etc. – are things I’ve seen by other commenters. It’s quite common. There’s also “accuser of the brethren” (like Satan, of course), ad nauseum. It’s called “loaded language”. In fact here’s a partial list:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/the-use-of-loaded-language-in-hyper-charismaticism/

  297. just1ofhis says:

    jefferydaniel stated: “I think one of Satan’s greatest deceptions in the west is that knowledge(or even doctrine) saves us, and qualifies us. I think it is telling that the USA has exponentially more books, teachings, seminaries and the like than any other country by far-mostly centered around knowledge, degrees, doctrinal “perfection”, and intellectual qualifications (churches even shop for pastors based on such things) yet, the Gospel is in rapid, marked decline.”

    Craig, Where is your e-store?

    I have been to Bill Johnson’s e-store, however. I would say that he is selling a tremendous deal of “special” knowledge to the world that has NOTHING to do with the Word of God. If the USA has exponentially more books, etc. than the rest of the world, then Bill Johnson is at least partially to blame.

  298. just1ofhis says:

    jefferydaniel stated: “So, Craig, (and others) I have to ask, are you sure what you are doing is under the leadership of the Head, who is Christ? In exposing supposed “false teachers” are you honoring and obeying Jesus? And please don’t rebut me with some scripture to justify your position. It is not a question I am asking for an answer for…”

    Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. jefferydaniel may not want an answer to that question, but the Word of God IS the answer to it. It is so wonderfully and beautifully simple. “False teachers” are exposed whenever light, which is the Word of God, shines into the darkness. We expose no one. We hold up the Word of God, and the Word of God exposes them.

    We hold up the Word and test everything and everyone against it, including ourselves. We are sanctified by this Word, and we desire that. I have a test for whether what I am doing or not is under the “leadership of the Head”, and that is the Word of God that He left for me to follow. It isn’t complicated. It is this very Word which saved myself and others out of false teachings. We give testimony to the power of God and the truth of His Word through our Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure of nothing but this Word. He has never failed me once.

    jefferydaniel, I believe in every gift in the Bible laid out in scripture, including tongues, healing, dreams, and visions which line up with the Word of God. These things are ALL Biblical. The following things, however, are NOT: “Glory clouds”, “angel feathers”, “gold dust”, “drunken glory”, “glory clouds”, “animal noises”, “barnyard behavior”, “wild praying”, “slain in the spirit”, “high on god”, “eastern meditation in all its forms”, “trips to heaven that can be put into human words” or ANYTHING else which deviates from the greatest guide ever given to human kind, the Holy Bible.

    A woman from the “Healing Rooms” once told me that one “cannot learn about healing from the Bible” as she was trying to get me to buy many of the books that Bill Johnson now sells on his website. The ONLY place that one may learn about healing, or any of the things of God, is His Holy Word. People either honor that Word and hold it up as truth, as Craig does; or they add, subtract, multiply and divide it, as Bill Johnson does. The Holy Spirit in me confirms this to be the truth, and I can safely test this against God’s Word, which also confirms it.

  299. Craig says:

    Craig, Where is your e-store?

    Yeah, really? Obviously, I’m not making any money here. In fact, most of the references I cite are from books in my own personal library (I don’t/won’t use secondary sources), most of which were purchased with the express purpose of using them here. Sure, some of these I bought with the intention of having for my personal library.

    But, no doubt hyper-charismatic leaders are selling their wares to the spiritually unwary. This is in the form of books, podcasts, conferences, schools (Bethel’s BSSM), etc. And, in the academic world, many of the works must barely make a profit, if they even do, as there are fewer and fewer individuals who actually care about correct doctrine.

    jeffreydaniel wrote: And from some of the posts, I think you are, at least at times, motivated by pride, paranoia and fear more than love. Again, I know that may sound offensive, but it is my observation, which could be wrong. I cannot see into your heart. Forgive me if I am wrong.

    Fear and paranoia? Really? What would I be afraid of? Pride? Well, if you’re referring to the fact that I sometimes use large words, I have reasons for it:

    1) Sometimes there IS only one good theological word for a particular concept.

    2) Using ‘big words’ can be a form of education for the reader, should the reader be at all motivated. Sometimes I provide hyperlinks for words to assist comprehension (and I find that these ARE being clicked on, as evidenced from the site stats). I’m aware that the US educational system is dumbing down students. This is my way of challenging readers.

    I’d like for you expound on why you believe I’m sometimes motivated by pride, paranoia and fear. You’re quite correct, though, you cannot see into my heart. In fact, for all you know, I could write explicitly, with very persuasive words, that I’m doing this out of pure motives – but be lying through my teeth. You’ll never know for sure. So, I see no reason to attempt to assure you.

    I’ll say this: I was nearly sucked in to hyper-charismaticism. Given my personally bent – one that tends towards the excess, with a zeal & dedication for things once I’m ‘hooked’ – I’d be perfect for this sort of thing. And, I really like music, in fact, I’d say there are not many individuals who are moved more by music than me; so, I could have (and nearly did) fall for the emotionalism that IS the hallmark of the music of hyper-charismaticism. In fact, it seems I can measure out my life by music. I can recall certain events just by hearing a particular song or piece, going all the way back to when I was a toddler.

  300. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I want to say that I am very glad that you are talking about things with us here. It is very good for those who claim to be Christian, and yet do not see eye to eye on everything to have a discussion. We can try to understand where each other is coming from and clarify things. I’ve seen far too much stereotyping when talking to people who believed differently from me. Often times people see cartoon versions of each other, and assume that a person thinks and holds to certain views just because they don’t agree on something. Very few people actually take the time to discuss things — and if they do discuss, it quickly turns into name calling. So if you and everyone else here can all continue to have an actual discussion, then I think it could be beneficial.

    Please understand that no one here is persecuting anyone else. We are not going around killing people who have different theologies than us. All we are doing is espousing some concerns that we have about doctrine that is being taught in some churches by some leaders. This is something that we as Christians are called to do. We are to defend the faith.

    You wrote:
    “I think one of Satan’s greatest deceptions in the west is that knowledge(or even doctrine) saves us, and qualifies us. I think it is telling that the USA has exponentially more books, teachings, seminaries and the like than any other country by far-mostly centered around knowledge, degrees, doctrinal “perfection”, and intellectual qualifications (churches even shop for pastors based on such things) yet, the Gospel is in rapid, marked decline. Pastors and followers alike leaving the church and even faith in droves. On the other hand, we have a place like China, without a single seminary, sparse access to even bibles, much less theological training, or other access to such “Christian” intellectualism and the Gospel is exploding. But they are seeing miracles. Is this a coincidence? Is doctrinal “rightness” the solution, is knowledge the answer to the world’s problems? Has it ever been?”

    My response:
    First of all, it is oversimplifying things to say that knowledge saves, or that it doesn’t save. For instance, God has made Himself known to us humans. He has given us enough evidence that we can reasonably know that He exists. The gospel message itself is laid out in the Bible and is proclaimed by true believers. And people learn about what Jesus did for them. All of this is knowledge, but it is also knowledge that God is active in, as a trinitarian act.

    In reality, it is God who saves, not knowledge. However, the Bible is also very clear that we must accept Jesus and what He has done for us. How can we accept Jesus or what He has done for us if we have never heard about Jesus? If we have never heard of the gospel? The Holy Spirit of course might work in unusual ways to show someone the gospel and lead people to the real Jesus — but somehow we must be made aware that we are sinners, that we cannot save ourselves, and that Jesus is the only hope that we have. Jesus Christ died on the cross and took the punishment that we deserved.

    None of us can earn salvation. It is a gift from God, and He works throughout the whole salvation process. This isn’t special doctrine. This has always been the teaching of the Christian church. It has never been hidden. It’s spoken about plainly in the Bible, and teachers who hold to sound doctrine still proclaim it. True Christians everywhere tell others about Jesus, about the gospel, and make new disciples.

    Theology, books, teachings (doctrine means teaching) are in abundant supply in the US. That is very true. However, not all of these things are equal. There are many false teachings that are being promoted. So the number of books available doesn’t really tell much. It just means that a lot of people have written theological books. (And let me say here that anyone who has ever thought about God or anything having to do with God has a theology. Even atheists have a theology about God — they don’t believe that He exists.)

    Hyper-charismatic authors are no exception to this. They have produced many, many books. Bill Johnson, Dutch Sheets, Todd Bentley, Jim Goll, Rick Joyner, Graham Cooke, and many, many others have written books. These are also theologically based because they talk about God and beliefs about Him. Bethel Church even runs a Supernatural School of Ministry. What they teach there is theology.

    You cannot escape theology. We are all theologians, and we all have our views.

    It is true that having a degree or not having one doesn’t necessarily guarantee that someone is orthodox in theology or that they are a true Christian. Some seminaries teach false doctrine, or accept it, or even encourage it. These are false teachers just as much as the hyper-charismatics are false teachers. That does not mean that all seminaries teach false things.

    And this is the exact reason that doctrine matters. We cannot look at a degree, or someone’s position in a church, or how someone appears to be gifted, and assume that they are of God. We need to look at the content of what they teach. Does it line up with the Bible? Is it consistent with the Bible? Is the true gospel preached? Is the real Jesus Christ preached?

    You mention that the gospel is in rapid decline. Yes, it is. Why? Because it isn’t being taught in many churches anymore. In some mainline denominations it is being ignored. The social gospel has replaced it, or some form of New Thought/gnosticism. In hyper-charismatic churches, it isn’t being taught either, being replaced by a gospel of experience, signs and wonders, and some form of New Thought/gnosticism. The truth here is that people have abandoned sound doctrine in favor of something else — something that tickles their ears — something they want to hear.

    The Gospel is not equal to seeing miracles. Sometimes miracles can happen in Christian settings, sure, but that is not what the real gospel is about. The real gospel is about Jesus Christ and how He has saved us.

    So my question about China is — is the real gospel being preached? I’m sure it is in some situations. And if it is, then wonderful. Praise God. But I’m sure that false versions of Christianity have seeped in as well. And there might be miracles with those, too. So you cannot say that the presence of miracles means that the real gospel is being taught.

    Now, I believe that there are some doctrines that are essential, and some that are non-essential. The gospel is essential. So if someone is teaching a false gospel, then it means that they are teaching a false Jesus. Paul was very clear on this. He said that if anyone is preaching another gospel, then let them be eternally condemned. That’s how serious he took it. In his instructions to Timothy he told him to guard his doctrine carefully. Over and over again Paul talked about the cross. Jesus’ death and resurrection was the main thread that ran throughout his letters.

    Please answer the following question:
    What do you believe that the Gospel is?

    Please explain it in your own words so that there is no misunderstanding. Thanks.

  301. Arwen4CJ says:

    (My last message continued)

    jeffreydaniel,

    You wrote:
    “I don’t mean to put faith and reason(or knowing scripture) at odds, but I also want to point out the utter idolatry and foolishness at work here. IF any of us is honest, we will admit that our salvation did not come by way of knowledge known through human means, but rather, experience, by way of the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus meant when He said to Peter, ” “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Peter was an UNEDUCATED fisherman. He didn’t come to faith, even through the scriptures(and I don’t say this to minimize them!) nor through study of any kind, nor through doctrinal correctness. And yet THIS revelation is what Jesus said He would build His church on.”

    My response:
    No one here is saying that salvation is coming by human means, and if that is what you think I’ve said, then you have misunderstood me. Once again, I will say that we are saved by God. But at the same time, our intellect is used by God in the salvation process.

    I was paraphrasing a biblical passage that Paul wrote earlier, so let me quote it here:

    Romans 10:14-15 NASB
    14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

    And, by the way, experience is still a form of knowledge. When we experience something, then we have knowledge of it. So it is a false dichotomy to say that knowledge and experience are opposed. I have never denied the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing us to salvation. It is complicated to say just how salvation works — none of us really know — all we know is that the Holy Spirit works in us, and helps us to understand the truth.

    You wrote:
    I think you can pick apart, through selective quotes and other such means, just about any minister’s theology, and make him seem a heretic. But where is the grace or wisdom in this? Does it make us more spiritual to see other’s faults? Are we honoring God or satisfying our own selfish desires, or seeking to appease our own fears? I think we would be careful to remember this church belongs to Jesus, not us, and only seek to expose darkness with Holy reverence for Him and have His fear upon us.”

    My response:
    I don’t believe that Craig, or anyone else here, has quoted Bill Johnson or the other hyper-charismatic teachers out of context. See, that is what really matters when looking at someone’s teaching. As you say, anyone can pick apart, through selective quotes, someone’s teaching and make them out to be a heretic. However, context is everything. If a person pulls quotes out of leader’s work, and that quote is within context, then it is a fair exposure of the person’s teaching.

    There is a good way of doing apologetics and there is a bad way of doing it. The good way doesn’t take things out of context, but rather quotes in context. The bad way will pull quotes out of context to make it sound like the person is claiming something that they really aren’t.

    I don’t believe that anyone is looking for faults for the fun of it. Rather, we are examining theology that we believe is dangerous, and we are trying to warn other Christians.

    You wrote:
    “I think it’s interesting that in Colossians it describes false believers who left the faith as those who ” are detached from the very head that nourishes and connects the whole body” 2:19. In many places Paul describes false teachers as those who were once in the faith, not that they were always false. But I find this mark most interesting-people start to forget who the head of the body is, who we get our orders from, who is in charge of this whole body. So, Craig, (and others) I have to ask, are you sure what you are doing is under the leadership of the Head, who is Christ? In exposing supposed “false teachers” are you honoring and obeying Jesus? And please don’t rebut me with some scripture to justify your position. It is not a question I am asking for an answer for. I know all the scriptures about exposing darkness and the like.”

    My response:
    Then I assume that you know just what that passage in Colossians says. You asked for no Scripture, but I’m going to quote it because you brought it up, and I see it as central to our discussion here.

    Colossians 2:8 NASB
    8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

    Colossians 2:8 NIV
    8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

    Colossians 2:16-19 (NASB)
    16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

    Colossians 2:16-19 (NIV)
    16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

    Note what Paul is talking about here. First of all, in verse 8 he tells us that we are to guard against being deceived by hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

    Secondly, he tells is not to listen to people who have false humility, who talk about the worship of angels, and who go on about things that they have seen, that they are puffed up with idle notions, etc.

    Doesn’t that sound strangely familiar to what we see going on in hyper-charismatic churches. Angels are often the center of attention, sometimes leaders call them down. Sermons often consist of the speaker talking about spiritual experiences, including visions and whatnot. All these talks seem to do is puff themselves and others up. They do not talk about the real gospel. And Paul says it is those like this who have lost connection with Jesus.

    To answer your questions:
    Yes, I believe that exposing false teachers is what God wants us to do. There are many passages that speak about this. Yes, in doing this we are honoring and obeying Jesus.

    You wrote:
    “I met Jesus, and the Holy Spirit gave me the revelation He was the Christ, son of the living God, and that is the foundation upon which all I believe is built, and always will be. I frequently prophesy over people, and God has used me to heal others. I have seen countless miracles. It is through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, not demons. Satan IS in a war against a church working in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, and yes, salvation is the greatest miracle of all. But at the same time, he is not threatened by a church that is centered in knowledge. I think what I wrote about USA helps to support my point-he is winning that battle mostly! Believers, who know who they are in Christ, who are praying and co-laboring with the Holy Spirit is who he fears.”

    My response:
    Do you then believe that Satan’s main battle is against the church working in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit? That’s what it seemed like you were saying, so I’m checking to make sure I have understood you correctly.

  302. Why am I starting to I feel like I am on trial here?
    Why do I feel like mostly you all are just trying to find a way to pick apart what I say so you can dismiss all of it wholesale? Are you all trying to put me in some “hyper-charismatic” box? By the way, is anyone here aware that THAT is loaded language? Has anyone thought critically about the things I have said, or are we all just “waiting for our turn to talk?”

    Now, let me apologize if I have unfairly represented any of you. It wasn’t my aim, and I also am not here to constantly call everyone’s motives into question. I am just suggesting that even in the midst of “holding up the word of God as a light” to expose the false, we can be functioning in a completely carnal way. Yes, it is possible. I’m not calling anyone here a Pharisees, but it is exactly what they did to Jesus on several occasions.

    Now, I don’t have time to answer everyone’s questions but I will try to address some things which stuck out to me. I think me describing where I am coming from may be helpful, so I will do that.

    First off, I want to say that I never take anyone’s word for anything in a teaching, sermon, experience, etc. I check the word, prayerfully, and using commentaries, etc. when necessary. But I also am not constantly “fact checking” everyone I come in contact with.

    If any of you are worried for me, why don’t you pray for me, I could always use it. The gospel is my life. I gave up everything I had and knew and moved to Latvia at God’s leading. I had no financial backing, didn’t raise support, etc. and I am not connected to any ministry. I didn’t go to any seminary either. And this may be hard for you to believe or understand, but God told me specifically to avoid formal training. I know He leads others to specifically go to Seminary, etc. We serve a personal God. In fact, He told me to sell all the books I had or give them away (which numbered about 700, many of them on theology and Christian living) because He said it was an idol in my life and that He wanted me relying on Him rather than my knowledge about Him. I came to Latvia with my bible and some clothes. At that point, it was all I owned.

    I live by faith from month to month. I haven’t worked once last October back in the states. Most of the money I had was spent by January. And I have not asked for money once either. Me and my wife look to God for all our needs. And He keeps supplying. I am always under attack here. I constantly encounter the evil supernatural here. It’s not theory for me. I live in a place where people are OPENLY mixing the Gospel with Paganism. It’s something I war against constantly. Pray for me, by all means.

    Part of what I am trying to say, is that yes, it is false to think you can get some anointing, or be focusing on the supernatural to the point where Christ becomes peripheral and unnecessary. But it is possible to arrive at the same place through intellectualism. We can be doctrinally orthodox, and virtually have the Bible memorized and be using it correctly in the exegetical sense, and yet have Jesus FUNCTIONALLY at the peripheral, and PRACTICALLY unnecessary in our lives. Both of these ways of living is false. In short, I want to be like Jesus-full of the word (and yes, being a Jew from a middle to upper class background, He would have studied the OT extensively as part of growing up) and Also full of the Spirit. I am not an anti-intellectual, and realize Jesus masterfully “argued” everywhere He went, using a high level of logic through syllogisms, and was particularly adept at the hidden premise, the strongest form of argumentation. I am also aware that Christ does not just mean “anointed” but MOST anointed, which He was from birth to death(and beyond). I think He did all of His miracles through and with the Holy Spirit. If you say otherwise, you are limiting the omnipresence and other characteristics of the 3rd person of the Godhead, which by the way (to visit an earlier topic about using articles) is named 25 different way in scripture. To further make my point, Colossians is all about Christ at the center and how He created the universe. Well it says in Genesis and Psalms, among other places, that the Spirit of God created the universe. The trinity is always co-present and co-laboring together. To say Jesus did the miracles of himself because He was Jesus is just as false as saying He did them only because He had the Holy Spirit. But would anyone every remark on the former as heresy? Doubtful.

    Craig,
    regarding Kris V. and the use of accusation, that was not an attack. I mistakenly addressed you instead of Shawn. IF you will look back up at his comment in that section it will clear up the confusion. I am sorry about that. You suggest I use the word evidence. Well, evidence is what is used to prove an accusation. And so, I still believe I used the right word, given what Shawn wrote.
    As for the pride thing, I don’t want to sit here and list all the reasons I think that is plausible, because they would be guesses, however “educated” they may be and it would not be edifying. I do see that we have some similar personality traits from your description, one of which is the tendency to think very abstractly, which leads us to hyper-analyze and try and find an intellectual answer for everything. I hope this doesn’t paint you unfairly. I just think it’s there. I also can be given to excess, in the same way as you. Passion is a gift that can also be a great weakness. So far you haven’t used any big words I did’t understand. I am kind of a word nerd, but I also have a propensity in these latest days to simplify my English, for obvious reasons.
    As for fear, I have known people in the body who were so afraid of deception (because it was everywhere) it led them to mistrust everyone and isolate themselves. Again, just consider what I said and pray about it. Or don’t.

    Other people who have commented to me,
    I never pitted knowledge against experience,and thus created a “false dichotomy” I merely showed how often experience is previous to knowledge. I could, by the way, turn around and accuse you of making a straw man out of my argument. This is CAN happen when we begin to idolize knowledge and logic, and as 1 Cor. says, it avails nothing. It doesn’t edify. This is not an attack, just pointing out a tendency.

    As for salvation, (and the Gospel, for that matter) it’s not that complicated. Jesus describes the initial experience quite well in John 16:8. The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, then they respond in repentance and turn to God. OF course, as the Romans passage someone quoted points out, He uses humans like us preaching the gospel. This is exactly what we see in Acts in Peters first sermon: God and man co-laboring. But you can preach the gospel all you want in perfect, clear, exciting, doctrinally correct (add any other adjective you wish) language, but without the work of HS, you wont convict anyone of anything, and they wont repent.
    Doctrine matters. I never meant to imply it didn’t but it also is not everything, otherwise the bible would not say knowledge will pass away.But also note that when Paul says guard the teaching, he is not just talking about it in the Greek sense we do, as if having all the “answers”
    is the solution. Jesus was the embodiment of what he taught, as was Paul. I am not hinting at some “secret” knowledge, I am talking about what was plain to them in their times, and culture. God looks at the heart. attitude matters. Otherwise Jesus would not have told the story of the two rebellious sons and then asked which obeyed. And in the story of the prodigal son, we know that the older brother is technically correct in most of what he says. So what? His heart was wicked. Doctrine can become an idol. This is what creates most denominations. The fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of them should be proof enough.That doesn’t mean most of them aren’t part of the true church. And yes, many lost people are in the “church.” We also know that the “Church” persecuted the true church for centuries, and they backed it up with doctrine. And just to clarify, persecution is not just physical. Any form of abuse can be psychological. We know this is how the Holocaust began, as a psychological campaign. It just easier to spot when it’s physical. And no, I am not suggesting people here are persecuting the church or comparing you to Nazis. Just something to think about.

    Now, I don’t like the Charismatic cliches either, but truth really is a man. Jesus said, “I am the truth” I think people like the KJV only cult people would do well to embrace this truth, for instance. So it’s not like some of those cliches dont have some basis in reality. Not all of course, and some even that do are still used ignorantly or in controlling ways. I have encountered this up close and personally, believe me. But Jesus really did say His Spirit would lead us into all truth, and yes, one of His primary ways is through scripture. I still expect that as the primary way He will speak to me, and it is also the primary tool by which I compare everything I hear from others, or think I hear from Him. That and prayer and Godly counsel.

    I have no intentions to offend anyone. I apologize for being unclear and attacking others previously. If you want to know what I think the Gospel is, it’s good news of Jesus, beyond that read the Nicean creed. It’s a fair representation of what I believe. God bless, I think I have written most of what I wanted to. I really hope the best for all of us, in Jesus Christ.

  303. Having read again my older responses and this last one, I also want to clarify some things. One, that I in no way think I am more spiritual than anyone else here because I am a ” missionary” or for any other reasons. In reality, we all are missionaries, I just happen to be over seas. I don’t think my way of doing things is better, but I am simply trying to live out the Gospel as revealed to me as faithfully as I can.
    Also, a response I got from someone here that showed in my email, seems to have been deleted. So that may make some of my comments to seem more random than they are.
    Some of what I wrote was not very edifying, and for that I apologize. I also did not write my last post from any place of being arrogant or bragadocious, but without knowing me it could come across that way. Again, I am a sinner saved by grace.

    Radically saved, as I would venture to describe. I also have been in a church that was heading to cult territory, and God kept me there until it finally dissolved. Yes, God kept me there. And I tried to calmly, lovingly and biblically raise a flag at many points. I was mostly ignored and shut down by many cliches and such. I was part of the leadership, not the upper part, though. These were all good people who I believe started out rightly. And I think most of them are still serving the Lord, but as a church and body of people, we were going astray horribly. I realize it was a spiritual attack against a good work God had started. But things in people’s hearts were not dealt with and darkness began to take hold. That’s how it happens. Through pride and other such things. The grace of God is not without limits. I try to always remember that and Paul’s words:”Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12. Pride is perniciously persistent, and an effective tool of the enemy. Walking in humility is one key to remaining in God’s grace and presence. In this respect, He often uses others to correct us, frequently through people we don’t particularly like.
    To answer someone’s question,
    I think Satan’s main battle is to use whatever means he can. But I do think a praying Church, who knows their identity in Christ, co-laboring with the Holy Spirit is His biggest threat. Don’t try to turn that into some inordinate desire for the supernatural. I said what I meant plainly.

    I appreciate everyone’s feedback and concern. Again, I ask for prayer for me. Thank you.

  304. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    OK, I’ll accept your apology. I’m glad to see you’re doing missionary work, in the form of actually moving to a foreign country to spread the Gospel message. You and yours shall be in my prayers. It does take an act of faith to live month to month relying on His provision.

    I can assure you that no comment has been deleted in any of the recent exchanges, as I am the only one who can do this through Crosswise. I’m the only one with administrative functions. I know some other sites allow individuals to delete their own, but, as far as I know, this cannot be done on WordPress sites, in general. Check the comment in question’s date/time in your email notification of that comment.

    I’ll concede your point re: “accusation” vs. “evidence”, since, though I think “accusation” is like “argue”, in that it has more of a negative connotation, it doesn’t have to be. And, I can see how you intended to address Shawn rather than me (it can get confusing when there are a few commenters in one conversation).

    I’d say that the Gospel message is simple. There is the so-called “Romans road”; but, Paul states it in 1 Cor 15:1-8:

    15 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

    And Paul goes on to say that because Christ was raised, we too shall be raised – raised unto eternal life.

    You wrote: …I think He did all of His miracles through and with the Holy Spirit. If you say otherwise, you are limiting the omnipresence and other characteristics of the 3rd person of the Godhead, which by the way (to visit an earlier topic about using articles) is named 25 different way in scripture. To further make my point, Colossians is all about Christ at the center and how He created the universe. Well it says in Genesis and Psalms, among other places, that the Spirit of God created the universe. The trinity is always co-present and co-laboring together. To say Jesus did the miracles of himself because He was Jesus is just as false as saying He did them only because He had the Holy Spirit.

    While I can agree with some of this in part (the entire Trinity was involved in creation), and other parts at least in a sense, there are different roles in the Godhead. Only one Member, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity, was made flesh, conjoined with a human nature/body. This picture of uniqueness is best illustrated at Jesus’ baptism: the Spirit descended as a dove, while the Father proclaimed Jesus Christ a “well-pleasing Son”. The Word made flesh died on the Cross (no, He did not die spiritually, as it was only the flesh that perished), not the Father and not the Holy Spirit.

    But, Jesus Christ did not do all His miracles SOLELY by the power of the Holy Spirit, as Bill Johnson claims (as do others). And, that was my point. Jesus both possessed His divine attributes to the full and used them during His time on earth (though obviously Jesus was not omnipresent ‘as touching the flesh’, or, of His human nature).

    And, while this conversation has been interesting, let’s get back to discussing this article, or any other article, in particular. Do you see why I’m writing about Bill Johnson, i.e, do you see that his Christology is not just problematic, but flat out heretical? Jesus did not “empty Himself of divinity and became man”. “Christ” is not some title that was only bestowed upon Jesus when the Spirit descended upon Him following John’s baptism. Et cetera…

  305. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I apologize too. From your other comments, it seemed to me like you were trying to pit experience against doctrine, saying that experience was really all that mattered, as if you were saying that people didn’t need to hear about Jesus dying on the cross for their sins. All they needed would be to have an experience with God. It seemed that way to me because it felt like you were attacking all things related to theology/doctrine, calling them idols. Several of us commenting had been talking about Jesus’ death on the cross, and it seemed like your response to that was to dismiss it, telling us that it was an idol. This is how it was coming across to me.

    I have said this before — we are on the Internet, and things can get really tricky. Sometimes messages come across to people in a different way than they intended to be. In fact, this happens more when there is an “attacking” attitude in the conversation. It seems to me that you felt like we are attacking people needlessly, and that we were attacking you as well. You felt like we are attacking you personally. We felt the same way from your comments.

    I personally am not looking to find fault with you. I am not trying to attack you. I am not tying to pigeon hole you into any label, including hyper-charismatic or whatever. I’m sure that it probably seems like that, but that is not my intention. My intention is that we can communicate clearly. I want to check with you that I am understanding you correctly, which is why I was asking the questions. I’m not trying to put you on trial. They were not meant to accuse you of anything. My guess is that the other people who comment here are coming from the same position — we just want to have a conversation.

    I do not wish to dismiss you wholesale. You have made some good points, which I tried to note in other comments. But I do want to make sure that we are on the same page when we talk about the gospel and other things, otherwise we might not be talking about the same thing when we use the same term.

    You wrote:
    “Now, let me apologize if I have unfairly represented any of you. It wasn’t my aim, and I also am not here to constantly call everyone’s motives into question. I am just suggesting that even in the midst of “holding up the word of God as a light” to expose the false, we can be functioning in a completely carnal way. Yes, it is possible. I’m not calling anyone here a Pharisees, but it is exactly what they did to Jesus on several occasions.”

    My response:
    You see, that is why many of us probably feel like we were on the defensive ourselves. I know that this is how I have felt reading some of the comments you’ve posted. If you see us sinning here, then by all means call us into account. There are various ways to do this, some more loving than others.

    However, from reading your comments, it seemed like this was your assumption that you had about us and our motives — as if you “knew” what we were doing, and that we were doing things for evil purposes with evil motives, and that we all had problems with an idolatry with knowledge and doctrine, despite your disclaimer to the contrary. It just came across that way, even if that wasn’t your intention. Again, I apologize for misunderstanding.

    I can definitely pray for you. Now we are actually talking as people, rather than making assumptions. And I apologize for my part in making assumptions. It is a weakness that I have, especially online. That’s why I was hoping that we could define terms.

    I do admire you for being willing to be a missionary for God, and that you would give up everything you had to follow Him, and that You rely on Him all the time. That is great.

    You wrote:
    “Part of what I am trying to say, is that yes, it is false to think you can get some anointing, or be focusing on the supernatural to the point where Christ becomes peripheral and unnecessary. But it is possible to arrive at the same place through intellectualism. We can be doctrinally orthodox, and virtually have the Bible memorized and be using it correctly in the exegetical sense, and yet have Jesus FUNCTIONALLY at the peripheral, and PRACTICALLY unnecessary in our lives. Both of these ways of living is false.”

    My response:
    Okay — thanks for stating it like this. This comes across as being more neutral, as if you aren’t assuming that those of us at this forum fall into that particular intellectualism category. And, having said that, your point there is fair. Yes, it is important that all of us Christians do not get lost in intellectualism, making it more important to Christ. We can agree on that.

    You wrote:
    “Other people who have commented to me,
    I never pitted knowledge against experience,and thus created a “false dichotomy” I merely showed how often experience is previous to knowledge. I could, by the way, turn around and accuse you of making a straw man out of my argument. This is CAN happen when we begin to idolize knowledge and logic, and as 1 Cor. says, it avails nothing. It doesn’t edify. This is not an attack, just pointing out a tendency.”

    My response:
    As I said before, I apologize, but that is how it came across to me — that you were pitting knowledge up against experience. I did not see in your previous comments that you were trying to show that experience is often previous to knowledge. If you did state this clearly, then I misunderstood what you were saying. Regardless, I didn’t get this from what you were saying earlier.

    I can’t really explain why — but what you said above about the tendency to idolize knowledge and logic — even if you didn’t intend this to be an attack on me, that is how it sort of comes across. Maybe it’s the tone that I read your comment in. Since we are not face to face, it is just coming across as more of a personal attack than a general comment. That may or may not have been your intention.

    I guess it doesn’t really matter what you think my motives might or might not be, and there is really nothing that I can say to offer my defense, but it is something that I will pray about. I honestly do not believe that I am making an idol out of knowledge or logic, but of course a person can do that gradually over time. So, yes, I will try to guard against it and to pray about it.

    You wrote:
    “As for salvation, (and the Gospel, for that matter) it’s not that complicated. Jesus describes the initial experience quite well in John 16:8. The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, then they respond in repentance and turn to God. OF course, as the Romans passage someone quoted points out, He uses humans like us preaching the gospel. This is exactly what we see in Acts in Peters first sermon: God and man co-laboring. But you can preach the gospel all you want in perfect, clear, exciting, doctrinally correct (add any other adjective you wish) language, but without the work of HS, you wont convict anyone of anything, and they wont repent.
    Doctrine matters. I never meant to imply it didn’t but it also is not everything, otherwise the bible would not say knowledge will pass away.But also note that when Paul says guard the teaching, he is not just talking about it in the Greek sense we do, as if having all the “answers”
    is the solution. Jesus was the embodiment of what he taught, as was Paul. I am not hinting at some “secret” knowledge, I am talking about what was plain to them in their times, and culture.”

    My response:
    First off, I wasn’t trying to suggest that you believed in a secret knowledge. I used that because we were talking about knowledge, and I was trying to show that the gospel is not gnosticism. Gnosticism, among other things, says that it is by knowledge that we are saved — a secret knowledge. So I was trying to make a distinction between gnosticism and hearing the gospel. This was for general purposes, and not because I was trying to respond to something I thought you said.

    I also have affirmed in several comments now that I believe that the Holy Spirit definitely works in the process of salvation, so I think we are in agreement on that.

    I still think that you are making some assumptions about what me and other people who comment here think. None of us here claim to have all of the answers, or think that having all of the answers is the solution.

    You wrote:
    “God looks at the heart. attitude matters.”

    My response:
    No argument there.

    Again, I think that we are at a point now where real discussion can happen, now that some of this stuff has been clarified.

  306. just1ofhis says:

    jefferydaniel stated: “Pride is perniciously persistent, and an effective tool of the enemy.”

    This is absolutely true. It takes great humility to allow oneself to be corrected by the Word of God through His Holy Spirit, especially when one has followed false teachers feeding them with the idea of how “special they are” and “how gifted they are”. I have NEVER witnessed more false ego feeding than within the “Healing Room”/”Word of Faith” camp.

    Part of what makes Bill Johnson so appealing to people is that his teachings make them feel special and elite. It is a common thread in the Word of Faith camps (and all other things New Age, “self” awareness, “self” fulfillment, realizing the “god-within”, discovering ones “gifts”, blah). Those who were attempting to hook me into the “Healing Rooms” were just gushing with compliments (I “flowing with the Holy Spirit”, “burning with the Spirit”, “on fire”, “powerful in faith”), until I questioned some of the extra-Biblical teachings. Then they weren’t so complimentary. Then they claimed that I was filled with demons and in desperate need of deliverance. They said the same things about Jesus, so I have the best of company.

    The woman who was trying to hook me into Healing Room service was, herself, greatly deceived. She went for her final training session only to have “prophetic” words spoken over her that she was going to even “raise the dead”. She was told how “important” her “ministry” was going to be and “how many people” she was going to “save”. Do you see who it was all about? This is the same woman who told me that I could NOT learn about healing from the Bible. She found these “prophetic” words so important, that she brought a tape of them back to play for all of the volunteers who were helping her with the Healing Room. It was just oozing with pride. This same woman has deceived many people into making horrible foreign currency investments (several have lost their homes), as the “prophets” that she follows are teaching that this is how “God is going to fund His Kingdom”. If the “Healing Room” “prophets” were serving God in truth, they would have rebuked this woman strongly through the Word and warned her of the peril of deviating from scripture. That would have been love. What they did to her was the worst form of hatred.

    Is it “gossip” to warn people off about wolves such as these? Should we just watch them be devoured and say nothing?

    Who is Bill Johnson? He is a liar who is a part of that system that has deceived this woman. That horrifies me. He is leading people away from the truth which can save them, feeding their egos, and has made himself an enemy of the God he pretends to serve.

    The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is the absolute least of servants on earth. I know that person. It is the elderly woman I know who has quietly studied the Bible most of her life who once plunged someone else’s poo out of the toilet at church, so that my young daughter could use a clean potty. I wouldn’t have even known where to find that plunger. The woman in the paragraph above considers the woman who plunged the toilet to be a part of a “dead” church. The Bible tells me that I know them by their fruits.

    I believe that God still heals and raises the dead. He NEVER needed any of us to do that work. It is NEVER my hands that do anything good but only God who works His purpose in me. Even our best works are nothing but filthy rags before a Holy God. So who among us can boast? But boasting, indeed, is what occurs daily in those camps. God works through us, but it is His work.

    Thanks for putting up with my ramblings, all.

    jefferydaniel, the prayers for you began the day you first posted. May God keep you safely in His Word and bless you in all that you do.

  307. IWTT says:

    This is absolutely true. It takes great humility to allow oneself to be corrected by the Word of God through His Holy Spirit, especially when one has followed false teachers feeding them with the idea of how “special they are” and “how gifted they are”. I have NEVER witnessed more false ego feeding than within the “Healing Room”/”Word of Faith” camp.

    And I wish to speak to this personally. I was a worship leader in this camp and even though I told many people that I was just a vessel for the Lord to help bring people before the Lord in an attitude of worship, I found that I was lying to them and myself. In reality I was given kudos galore about how special of a worship leader I was, how annointed I was, how prophetic I was in the ministry and I was called upon often to help bring the presence of the Lord into a place as I led worship under the anointing of the Holy Spirit (prophetically).

    Folks I could make it all happen, but then the Lord showed me that I was under a false religious spirit. That I was idolizing myself. It was all about me. I had to make a choice, even it it meant hanging up my guitar for the rest of my life. I made the choice to die to self and follow the truth. No pragmatic thinking, no post-modern theology, just be obedient to the word.

    It’s interetsing how when I had my eyes open and allowed God to direct me and get out of the camp, how much freer in Christ I have felt. How much more of a relationship I now have than when I was in the “works” based theology of hyper-charismaticism. I believe that if we are to be followers of Christ there is no middle road, there is no “I can find God in anything”, there is only one way and that is HIS. Period!

  308. First off, I want to thank everyone for being gracious with me. Charity truly does cover a multitude of things, and along with grace and humility, provides fertile ground for edification. Thanks for your apologies. And I am honored and moved by your prayers. I think we can settle back into a place of mutual respect. It is easy for internet discussions like this to get out of hand. God bless you all. Thanks for bearing with me in love. But now, as Craig suggested, let me get back to the topic at hand.
    Now, some of you may disagree that God’s work is being done through BJ and Bethel. But I am of the opinion that this “revival” or whatever you want to call it, is like many other moves of God, historically. Namely, that there is a mixture. We even see this in Acts, one could argue, with the sons of Sceva, Bar-Jesus and the like, not that they were a part of the Apostles, so it’s not a great comparison. But the devil comes to steal and destroy, so if God is moving and doing things, you can rest assured Satan will show up at some point to try and steal, destroy or kill it. I think a legitimate move of God started at Bethel. But the further you go in things, and farther out on the peripheral you get, things can get wacky, and destructive things can begin to enter in. As it has been said, “Higher Levels, Bigger Devils.” (F. Frangipane?) In saying this I am not endorsing BJ nor Bethel ministry.
    I did try to raise a red flag about many in the charismatic movement when I was still stateside. I am always leaning toward the cautious when it comes to any ministry, no matter how well endorsed. I have spent a considerable time in study and prayer over many of these things. God spoke to me very strongly one day and told me the whole prophetic movement was polluted. I humbly submit that as something I heard, which means it could be prone to error. I just know anywhere I went in the body where there was prophetic, or it was mentioned, I felt uneasy spiritually, and so I spent months praying about it. And I am someone who fully believes in prophecy operating today for the edification of the body, in love. God spoke that specific word: polluted, the whole thing. So I went to the word and found confirmation. I found a lot of things that weren’t lining up. But I also fully believe many of the ministries and people God seemed to be pointing out to me were still in the faith. God is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness. Psalm 103 and desires his people to repent, for which He gives them a space to do. But He hates a mixture, He won’t tolerate it forever, as demonstrated with the sons of Eli.
    I don’t know BJ’s heart or dealings with God, but I think it entirely possible he is still in the faith. I do think unhealthy things are beginning to creep into his ministry and church. With his depiction of Jesus, he may not realize the implications of what he is saying as I am not sure he ever underwent any biblical training per se. I know that he claims Jesus was always God and never was not God, and so this doesn’t line up. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt here and I will tell you why. Firstly, because the nature of Christ as fully God and fully man is one of the most complicated and perplexing of things for any human mind to comprehend, and has been debated for centuries, up to and including the present day. Secondly, I already mentioned his probable lack of training. But there have been mighty men of God through the ages without formal training, Apostle Peter among them. Thirdly, I think it possible that his understanding of this concept is evolving over time, but unfortunately for him, he has been indelibly captured in print, video, etc. So, we can pick apart what he has said or written and not realize that he maybe is in process. Such was the case with Mark Driscoll, who was heading down the emergent road into heresy, but who also turned around, and I am not making a final judgment on him. That’s for God and time to reveal. As such, I can afford to give BJ some liberty if he does not get everything right, at least for a time. I also have to look at someone like Rob Bell who is a full blown heretic at this point, but he seemed quite “Christian” at one time in the past. Again, false teachers are those who often began in the faith. Where is BJ? I honestly don’t know, and will concede that you all in particular have given me plenty to think about. And now, as a result, he is currently on my prayer list.

    just1ofhis, Who is to say how far out on a limb the lady from the “healing room” was or how representative of Bethel. Is she affiliated with them? Maybe you said, I don’t recall.
    But you said earlier that certain manifestations were not in the bible, like being “slain in the spirit”, and “glory clouds.” I will concede on feathers appearing and animal noises, though Nebuchadnezzar did sprout feathers and act like an animal when the dew of heaven hit him, with no mention of an evil spirit. And it is interesting that when he regains sanity he immediately praises God( though granted all of that was a judgment against him) But Ibeg to differ on the other two manifestations cited, in particular. Many times people in the bible were knocked to the ground as if dead and some trembled, (Daniel, Ezekiel, Saul, etc.) and a cloud of glory happened several times in the OT, like when they completed the tabernacle and the music was played. I am neither in the camp who justifies everything by saying “God is doing a new thing” (or such other dismissive phrases) nor in the one that says or thinks, “if it isn’t explicitly in the Bible, it can’t be of God.” I think the truth is somewhere in between. His ways and thought are above ours, but He also won’t contradict His word.

    Craig, In all fairness, let us also note that BJ is not here to defend himself nor answer all the questions you raise. You end up providing answers to them that are logical, but may not necessarily be the correct conclusions to draw, nor represent what he actually believes. And, in my humble opinion, the correlation of other heretical doctrines from New agers and MSoG doesn’t prove your points very well, nor is it necessarily very fair or intellectually honest. I hope that doesn’t sound antagonistic, I just can’t think fo a better way to phrase what I want to say. And I think it is accurate to say that many false doctrines are very close to the real. Thus, the danger of their deceptiveness, which may be an argument in favor of what you are doing in this blog!

    Anyways, to provide some more counter arguments, I want to take note of John 3:13, which you say is a phrase this is “not found in most modern Bible versions.” Well, I checked 20 modern translations and found only 3 that omitted it. Furthermore, 3 normally respected commentators, Wesley, Barnes, and Gill express a view of that phrase which is very akin to BJ and the “new agers.” I’ll quote a portion from Barnes: “This can be understood only as referring to the fact that he had two natures; that his “divine nature” was in heaven, and his “human nature” on earth.” So how far off is BJ from orthodoxy on that particular point? Not very, in my estimation.
    Similarly, I think some of the things here you all have written can be taken out of context and paint you in a bad light. Let me give you an example. Craig said: “Only one Member, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity, was made flesh, conjoined with a human nature/body. “ One could argue, that we can tell by Craig’s statement he is denying that the father and Holy Spirit are omnipresent, since he is stating they were not in Jesus’s flesh. Of course, I am having fun with you, but maybe you can see my point.
    And as a counter view about divisions, though not necessarily against your quote from Corinthians cited against false teachers, I want to propose that, though God is not the author of confusion, division and confusion do happen every time there is a move of God. It happened everywhere Jesus went (is he from God, is he not? Does he have a demon?) and where the apostles went also, starting at Pentecost and throughout Acts, etc.

    Now, I know teachers will be judged more harshly by God (I also think that scripture pertains to their judgment in this present age by other people)! And yes, it is my humble opinion, especially since he is teaching others, that Bill Johnson needs to seek the truth of Jesus divinity out through prayer and rigorous bible study. I pray for the sake of his own soul and that of others, that he heeds Paul’s advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16

    *Lastly, I am tired and this may not sufficiently be proof-read, so I apologize in advance. But I am posting it anyways, cause I need to go to bed, and I wanted to respond in a timely manner. Please deal with me charitably, considering that.

  309. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel, you wrote:

    Anyways, to provide some more counter arguments, I want to take note of John 3:13, which you say is a phrase this is “not found in most modern Bible versions.” Well, I checked 20 modern translations and found only 3 that omitted it. Furthermore, 3 normally respected commentators, Wesley, Barnes, and Gill express a view of that phrase which is very akin to BJ and the “new agers.” I’ll quote a portion from Barnes: “This can be understood only as referring to the fact that he had two natures; that his “divine nature” was in heaven, and his “human nature” on earth.” So how far off is BJ from orthodoxy on that particular point? Not very, in my estimation…

    and:

    Craig, In all fairness, let us also note that BJ is not here to defend himself nor answer all the questions you raise. You end up providing answers to them that are logical, but may not necessarily be the correct conclusions to draw, nor represent what he actually believes. And, in my humble opinion, the correlation of other heretical doctrines from New agers and MSoG doesn’t prove your points very well, nor is it necessarily very fair or intellectually honest. I hope that doesn’t sound antagonistic, I just can’t think fo a better way to phrase what I want to say. And I think it is accurate to say that many false doctrines are very close to the real. Thus, the danger of their deceptiveness, which may be an argument in favor of what you are doing in this blog!

    First of all, I’m quite certain that Johnson knows about this blog, as evidenced by his tweet (“hurtful rumor”). At any time he could comment on here and answer any or all of the questions raised. Yet he doesn’t.

    I think you may wish to read again what I wrote regarding John 3:13. It’s the last phrase “…who is in heaven” that is missing from most modern Bible versions. It’s in the KJV, KKJV, NEB, as far as I can find. Most other modern versions have it in a somewhat inconspicuous footnote; but, the point is that it is not actually IN the main text. (And, for the record, in a future post, I will present the argument for its inclusion (“who is in heaven”) in the main of Scripture.)

    But, you are totally missing the point here (though, in a sense you’re also proving it). First, it’s Bill Britton who references this verse in this context. Now, from an orthodox Christian perspective, The Word, while enfleshed in the Person of Christ, was also omnipresent. However, and this is the main point of this section in the post, Jesus was not bi-located, in two separate realms. The Word continued in omnipresence while yet conjoined to the human nature of Christ in performing His cosmic functions (Col 1:17; Heb 1:3), yet, of course, human nature is necessarily constrained to one physical place. Therefore, this in no way makes Jesus Christ bi-located, as it’s the divine nature that’s omnipresent, not the human. To claim that Jesus’ physical body was both walking the earth and walking in heaven, as Britton has, is heretical. Flesh and blood “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (i.e. eternal realm – 1 Cor 15:50), as humans can only reach the eternal realm in our glorified bodies, which we obtain at the resurrection of the saints. But, MSoG (manifest sons of God) doctrine claims we can achieve our glorified bodies NOW and live in BOTH realms simultaneously, using a distorted picture of Jesus as our example (which comes from New Age teaching). Again, from an orthodox perspective, Jesus’ body was the same flesh and blood as any other human, but He did receive a new body upon Resurrection – and not until His Resurrection.

    In proposing what I had in the article as what Johnson may be getting at with his “eternally God” statements in conjunction with his other statements which imply Jesus Christ as non-divine temporally, I was attempting to synthesize Johnson’s statements – of course, by the context, not to show that Johnson is being orthodox, but to show that he’s actually teaching the heretical manifest sons of God doctrine, as was Britton. It would seem that based on your misunderstanding, you actually are close to seeing what I’m getting at. And, by the way, Bill Johnson had a sermon on the very day I published this article that actually confirmed some of my MSoG conjectures [ADDED: I found this out later]. A link is in one of the previous comments (I may do a follow up article to this to illustrate, as I’ve done a bit in the comments here.)

    …Similarly, I think some of the things here you all have written can be taken out of context and paint you in a bad light. Let me give you an example. Craig said: “Only one Member, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity, was made flesh, conjoined with a human nature/body. “ One could argue, that we can tell by Craig’s statement he is denying that the father and Holy Spirit are omnipresent, since he is stating they were not in Jesus’s flesh. Of course, I am having fun with you, but maybe you can see my point.

    No, I don’t see your point nor do I appreciate your ‘having fun with me’ on this, i.e. taking my words out of context (or anyone else’s words). It seems you’re (still) implying that I’ve taken Johnson out of context. I challenge you to show me where. Be specific.

    What I’ve stated about the Word being the only Member of the Trinity conjoined to a human is 100% orthodox (I was VERY careful in my phrasing on this). No other member of the Trinity was CONJOINED to the flesh that the Word was conjoined with (or any other flesh). This in absolutely no way denies, explicitly or implicitly, the omnipresence of the rest of the Godhead. But, rather than convoluting what I’ve said, let’s get back to actually discussing the problems with Johnson’s doctrine. I see you’ve purposely chosen NOT to address the two things I brought up in my previous post: Johnson’s statement that “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man…” and his teaching that Christ could not be bestowed with the title of Christ until the Spirit descended as a dove (which implies Jesus was NOT the Christ prior to this). Yet, at least, in this most recent comment, you are acknowledging some of the problems.

    You wrote: And as a counter view about divisions, though not necessarily against your quote from Corinthians cited against false teachers, I want to propose that, though God is not the author of confusion, division and confusion do happen every time there is a move of God. It happened everywhere Jesus went (is he from God, is he not? Does he have a demon?) and where the apostles went also, starting at Pentecost and throughout Acts, etc.

    A straw man.

    You wrote: I don’t know BJ’s heart or dealings with God, but I think it entirely possible he is still in the faith. I do think unhealthy things are beginning to creep into his ministry and church. With his depiction of Jesus, he may not realize the implications of what he is saying as I am not sure he ever underwent any biblical training per se. I know that he claims Jesus was always God and never was not God, and so this doesn’t line up. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt here and I will tell you why. Firstly, because the nature of Christ as fully God and fully man is one of the most complicated and perplexing of things for any human mind to comprehend, and has been debated for centuries, up to and including the present day. Secondly, I already mentioned his probable lack of training. But there have been mighty men of God through the ages without formal training, Apostle Peter among them. Thirdly, I think it possible that his understanding of this concept is evolving over time, but unfortunately for him, he has been indelibly captured in print, video, etc. So, we can pick apart what he has said or written and not realize that he maybe is in process.

    Bill Johnson can, at any time, come out and change his teachings. He can state, with clarity and unambiguity, what he believes. He can apologize for “not being clear”, or what-have-you on his previous teachings. He’d have to revise his books. Yet, he hasn’t. In fact, he HAS revised When Heaven Invades Earth, yet he’s kept the same false teaching about Jesus becoming Christ by virtue of “the [Christ] anointing” and his false teaching on antichrist.

    For you to excuse him because the doctrine of Christology is difficult, is frankly, shameful. If a purported Christian teacher cannot adequately teach about the Person and work of Christ – especially one who is a 3rd generation ‘pastor’ – then said “teacher” has no business doing this in the first place. Johnson has been in Christian circles for a lot longer than I’ve been a Christian. He’s had plenty of time to study. I’ve made a point to do this for myself because I believe it to be very important.

    You can believe what you want about Johnson, but I’ve shown him to redefine terms and concepts, sometimes in mid-paragraph. It’s subtle. It’s deceptive. Johnson is a false teacher. Whether it’s Johnson himself who is making the conscious choice to do this or whether he’s under the influence of demons (or both) I cannot know. But, I do know this: I’m not the only one who’s been critical of his teachings; yet he keeps on keeping on…

  310. just1ofhis says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I would encourage you to watch some video footage of Bethel church when the supposed “glory cloud” shows up. If you can align the behavior and response in the church with the fruits of the Holy Spirit as laid out in scripture, I would love to hear how. There is absolutely no gentleness or self-control in the room. People scream and yell and gawk as if they were watching fireworks or at a football game. They take pictures and film “it” as if they were sightseers in Disneyworld. The real presence of a Holy God always drove men to their knees, which brings us to “slain in the spirit”.

    “Slain in the Spirit” as is practiced in charismatic churches is the exact same practice found in some eastern mystic circles. In the Bible, those who were confronted with a Holy God fell on their faces as if they were dead. They did not fall to the floor, face up, shaking in convulsions. They did not proceed to laugh hysterically or make animal noises or any other such manifestation. They were not drunk or high or incoherent. These manifestations are consistent with eastern mysticism. It is consistent with the eastern practice of awakening the “kundalini spirit” in people, which is entirely demonic and has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ or Him crucified.

    Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit of God. The Bible tells me so, and God will never go against His own Word. Father, Word, and Spirit always line up…always.

  311. just1ofhis says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    You stated, “Craig, In all fairness, let us also note that BJ is not here to defend himself nor answer all the questions you raise. ”

    Craig has tried many times to get Bill Johnson, or any supporter of Bethel church for that matter, to engage him on these things. He has specifically asked for these folks to provide through scripture the backing for their teachings. They cannot, so they do not.

  312. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    Now, for this comment, I’ll state one area of agreement. I do believe the so-called ‘apostolic-prophetic’ movement is polluted. I’ve felt the same spiritual unease as you, though it manifests itself primarily as I read things, but also usually more so when I’ve viewed some video.

    You quoted something, attributing it, hesitatingly (questioningly), as by Francis Frangipane. He’s been in this movement for some time, going all the way back to pre-IHOP days at Bickle’s Kansas City Fellowship (circa ’87-’90). Last year, he and I had a somewhat lengthy exchange on Charisma in the comments section to one of his ‘prophetic words’. I copied and pasted our conversation into the comments section here:

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

    Frangipane was quoted in the body of the above article (pertinent info begins at footnote 40), which is why I added our exchange there. Subsequent to this, we exchanged phone numbers, and we had a few conversations (last year). I won’t divulge the contents, as I view it as a private conversation, but I’ll say he surprised me in some ways (in a good way), while confirming some of my concerns in others. I will say he was kind enough to send me two of his books at no charge, so that I could ‘review’ them, with his intention that he’s actually orthodox and not heterodox. I really should, at some point, read (again) and take some notes in order to do a proper review. However, I’m not sure he’ll like the results. Like I describe in this current BJ article, he has a penchant for “over-realized eschatology”, as does hyper-charismaticism in general.

    ADDED: I’m glad I copied and pasted our exchange here, as Charisma deletes comments after a time – presumably to keep size down – and I see the comments are GONE. My first comment on the above blog article begin at January 31, 2012.

  313. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    Regarding what you wrote about mixture — it probably does exist to some degree in every church. However, if the pastor is preaching things that are really, really off, I have to wonder how much that goes on in that particular church is of God. In particular, I am thinking about the signs and wonders which people see as proving God’s presence or favor on them.

    If what is being taught from the pulpit is off, and especially if it is heretical, then how could those signs and wonders and manifestations be from God?

    If the real gospel isn’t being preached, the teaching about Jesus is garbled and contradictory, and really dangerous spiritual practices are allowed — things that the leadership knows about and does nothing to discourage….then how could the accompanying manifestations be from God?

    That’s not to say that there can’t be real Christians in these churches, but the Holy Spirit eventually will convict the person that something is very wrong at the church.

    You say that you have also felt that things are off with the prophetic movement. We are in agreement here. Like you, I’d like to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, there comes a point at which we have to say that someone has crossed the line.

    Many, many people have confronted Bill Johnson and others in his movement about teachings and practices. Bill Johnson has not changed the way that he has done anything, even with all of these people confronting him. As Craig has said, he has made no effort to edit previous books or to publicly repent for false teaching. He continues to hang out with the same false teachers and he continues to let them speak at his conferences.

    If anything, Johnson has gotten more bold with his false teachings.

    I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including prophecy. However, what is going on in churches like Bethel is dangerous. The deception is thick. The Bible talks about lying signs and wonders in the last days. It even says that the Anti-Christ will be able to make a statue speak, and will be able to call fire down from heaven.

    I am firmly convinced that those in Bethel type churches are playing with fire.

    You said so yourself that God warned you about this movement. The movement seems to be a mockery of everything holy. People like John Crowder are mocking God. There’s no other way of saying it. Pretending to smoke a plastic baby Jesus, and then get “high” off of it……or treating communion the way that he does. It’s a circus. It certainly isn’t reverent behavior.

    That may be the defining feature that I’ve observed from this movement — irreverence and mockery, and passing these things off as if it is honoring to God.

  314. Arwen4CJ says:

    I should also note that they tend to talk a lot about being foolish for God. They take the story of David dancing before God, and they are saying that that is what they do. Anyone who opposes their irreverence they compare with David’s wife who was critical of his dancing.

    They’ve taken this account out of context and used it to justify foolish behavior in church — acting like clowns and giving no respect or reverence for who God is…

    However, they forget that just before this all happened, one of David’s closest friends was killed by God for treating the things of God irreverently. He tried to touch the ark of the covenant, and God viewed that as acting irreverently.

  315. just1ofhis,

    Thanks for clarifying your position. I do agree self control is a fruit of the Spirit, while also adding that it, along with many other of it’s fruits, are not always exhibited by any of us who are Christians all of the time. I would also suggest that in the lives of believers the fruit of the Spirit, like real fruit, develops over time-matures. But the TRUE Spirit does produce the fruits unto repentance! Also, I have personally seen the Holy Spirit move in powerful ways and seen people respond in completely fleshy ways. One need not look any further than the Corinthian church-who while exhibiting all the charismata were quite out of control, one of it’s members even engaging in sexual sins not even the world was doing! Paul of course, responds by saying kick him out(because he was unwilling to repent), and chides the church for it’s pride and arrogance. He also says everything should be done in decency and in order, but notice this is a response to the charismata already being exhibited. And thus, some the church should be given leeway for times of “messiness.” At some point, it needs to be reigned in.

    And yes, I am aware of Kundalini and it’s similarities to what is going on in some Charismatic circles. It alarms me, to say the least. It, and the lack of self control, particularly by people like T. Bentley (who I think is way off the map and worshiping angels, etc. and thus, apostate) is cause for concern. I am not even sure if Bentley ever was on the map, btw. So, naturally, it concerns me that BJ (and others) endorsed him, though I suspect he no longer does, though he has not come out very publicly about it. And there may be good reason for that.

    Otherwise, in regard to your view on manifestations, though I think we disagree on some of these things, it is probably only in a slight manner. The shakings mentioned in the OT, one can only conjecture about. Either way, it is not a time to act like you are in Disneyland. But like I said before, I think there could be something genuine going on, and yet demons also be at work. This is why we are to test the spirits (even the human ones)! Tell me if you disagree that demons and Holy Spirit could be at work in the same meeting, ministry, movement, etc. And I know I am opening myself up for further controversy by saying this, but I believe Christians can have demons in their lives, even in their soul or body. I have yet to see anyone prove from scripture to the contrary, and I have looked and asked, extensively. The only arguments I have heard always take some scriptures way out of context. But my experience, confirmed by scripture, tells me it is possible.
    As far as your argument for Bethel people not giving backing for their teachings for Craig, they may be being evasive, or there may be some other reason, one can only conjecture, I think. I don’t know so I won’t guess. There is a chance I could be meeting BJ later this year. I will try and ask him, if I do. And I really mean that! I was asked to potentially speak at an event he is connected with, but I am praying about it. Frankly, I am hesitant because I have some of the same concerns you all have, and I have had them for a while now. Bottom line, I am going to do it if I feel God wants me to, and If I do, I can assure you I will speak whatever He puts on my heart, whether people like it or not. I am not a man pleaser. I take teaching or speaking to God’s people with dead-like seriousness, for I know I will answer to God not man, and that those people belong to a jealous God. I don’t play around with that. And as you have seen, for better or worse, I can be confrontational. :) I pray for the fear of the Lord to be over me all the time. Whatever price I have to pay in this life, I have told God I am willing (with His strength) in order to be faithful. I constantly pray for Him to do whatever He has to do, no matter how painful.

    I think all of us here are jealous for God’s truth, or we wouldn’t be here talking about all this. We may have bad motives mixed in, but I think we want truth to prevail. Thanks for the feedback. I am finding all of this helpful.

  316. Craig,
    I never meant to imply that any of the commentators (nor do I personally believe) that Jesus earthly body was walking around heaven. I thank you for clarification and I agree with you on this, and most of what you have written. I am merely suggesting that there may be alternative ways of looking at what BJ is saying. Like I said, I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Similarly, just like I was trying to suggest you are taking BJ out of the overall context of his life and his statement of faith, etc. My attempt may have been poor and I didn’t mean to offend. I appreciate your patience and I admit I am finding this blog quite helpful and educational.

    Granted, you do cite from multiple sources over time, but I still hold to the view that Bill may be working these things out. I really don’t know. I am trying personally to find a way to be gracious but also zealous with God’s truth. I may not always do that well, but my goal is to love both God and people, and no, I am not suggesting love never corrects, rebukes or exposes, quite the contrary! I have had to do my share of that on occasion, even with those above me, though I never relish the process. In fact, I abhor it. And I don’t know the pains you personally go through over this stuff.
    At this point though, given what l think I have gleaned from your beliefs about Christ, I want to ask, for curiosity sake, why do you think Jesus prayed daily? Even all night on occasion, to the point of great agony. Just curious about ways of looking at this theologically.
    Getting back to subject, though you are VERY careful about your phrasing of Christology, that may be BJ’s biggest oversight, or he may be doing it intentionally or because of demonic influence(or both). It is concerning, and I do appreciate the thoughtfulness and thoroughness you have put into the subject. I do know I have heard Kris Valotton say on several occasions that he has had to go back and listen to his teachings and say, “I shouldn’t have said that, that is heresy.” I can appreciate that. As a teacher and preacher myself, I have had similar thoughts. It makes me ever-more zealous for proper study and prayer. And it brings the fear of God upon me as well.
    I do know that some errors BJ keeps repeating over time. But Frankly, I don’t track him well enough to know for how long or to what extent. But I do test all things, which is how I found this blog in the first place. I have read a few of his books and found problems in every single one of them, but have also found some value. I test it all by the word, and usually just keep what was good and move on. But I appreciate your calling to scour endlessly over his and others teachings to expose them to the light. I think the body of Christ needs this sorely, especially the Charismatic movement, as biblical illiteracy has always been one of its weaknesses, which is true of MANY segments of the body, and the “hyper-charismatics” maybe even more so if one considers any of them part of the body.
    I am alarmed with how people, the young particularly, overly idolize Bethel. In particular I know of people who formerly were into the occult before Christ who do seem to have a penchant for their stuff. This has always been a red flag for me as well. But as we see from Acts, people in the occult also followed the disciples around. I have heard the case made that Bar-Jesus, for instance, may have been part of the church. But I would give the same admonition to these kinds of people. How long will you pervert the ways of the Lord?
    As for my “shameful” explanation of BJ’s Christology, like I stated, I don’t follow the man that much, and I don’t know about his history. I have to add, by the way, that your use of “shameful” seems like a textbook example of loaded language, which I did not appreciate. I tried to overlook it, but feel it should be addressed. But let’s move on. So yes, if one is teaching on a big platform, especially over time, they need to know adequately about Christ, as perhaps does a rank beginner. You make a cogent point. Again, I was trying to err on the side of being gracious, not flatly deny the truth or the serious calling of a teacher. Still, the doctrine of Christology makes my head hurt. It isn’t easy stuff. I don’t have it perfect, but I do teach. God has commissioned me to do just that. I don’t decide when I am ready, I just obey, and it isn’t just because I aspire to teach, because I know fully what the word says about that. I am constantly working to get God’s truth right because by so doing, “I will save myself and others.” I am happy when God uses someone to point out errors. I take all of this a lot more seriously than I think you are giving me credit for, but maybe that is my fault for the way I am expressing it. But if I didn’t take it seriously I wouldn’t be here continuing to comment, etc. I am not here to defend BJ in particular, that’s for sure. But I still wouldn’t label him as a false teacher either, even though he may be teaching some things falsely. Though don’t ask me exactly where that line is, because I don’t know. I have a feeling someone on here will tell me though. I do say, that I would be curious to know who and how much people in the body have approached him on this particular thing, and what his and his teams response has been. Illuminate that for me, if you care to, and I would appreciate it.

    And I do appreciate your comments here to me. They have given me food for thought. I have searched the word and other sources in response, not primarily to defend anyone but in the pursuit of truth. I did also read the exchange with F.F. and it was very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing. I honestly hope you can have a similar dialogue with BJ some day. I also fervently hope he comes out openly about this Christology issue. I am not thoroughly convinced by your evidence that he knows about your blog, nor that he was hinting at it in his tweet. Granted, I don’t fully know the efforts you have made to contact him, etc. So I could be totally ignorant of the situation. I would like to know the full truth.

  317. Craig,
    I also want to add that I didn’t “purposely” choose “NOT to address the two things [you] brought up in [a] previous post: Johnson’s statement that “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man…” and his teaching that Christ could not be bestowed with the title of Christ until the Spirit descended as a dove (which implies Jesus was NOT the Christ prior to this).”

    again, here you are using what is loaded language, IMO, the implication being that I was being deceptive, dishonest, etc.in an effort to gloss over my lack of answers or BJ’s failures. Frankly, there is a lot going on here in this blog, more than I can keep up with.I think you should be a little more gracious when people don’t address your questions immediately. Not everyone has to argue a case the same as you, nor is everyone built that way.I didn’t “purposely” not address them. Frankly, it got lost in the shuffle from all the other comments I was fielding from you and others.

    I thought about those comments. The first I had to wonder about what BJ means by divinity, or think he means, given what he has said elsewhere. I think he may be redefining terms because he himself is confused, I don’t know. Again, I concur with you in that it is a statement that should not be made, because it is not accurate. As for the second statement, I agree it is inaccurate, though not as much as the first, or as egregious, but I can see how he arrived there. I have pondered that statement a lot since reading it, trying to seek out the full meaning of the original myself.He needs to clarify it. I am not sure he has studied it as thoroughly as he should have from reliable sources. Which begs the question, how DOES he study? That may be the million dollar question.

  318. Craig,
    I wanted to write a last comment here, privately. As I know you are the moderator, I know only you will see it, and thus you can delete it if you choose. My aim here is not to embarrass you publicly. But you did ask me to show evidence of your pride, etc. So, I am choosing to do that here. And my aim is edification. I may not be accurate, but I will list some things that concern me, for you to consider. I want to say though, that I think you are doing some great work here on this blog, and hope you keep it up.

    When you first pointed me to the “loaded language” link (among others), it seemed arrogant to me, as if the educated guy was trying to “educate’ the simpleton. And now, since you have now used loaded language yourself on several occasions it smacks of hypocrisy, and I also have to wonder if you know the full meaning of the term (loaded language) yourself, which if you don’t, again seems prideful for you to provide a link that was so self-referential. This is also another thing I have noticed you to do.

    Which at some point leads one to ask, is he doing this because it’s efficacious in making his points, or to show everyone how smart he is? I noticed every time you self-reference, it’s you who comes out on top. Besides that, self referencing is generally a sign of ego-overload.

    You are very smart, I will give you that. You are eloquent and gifted. But I also noticed in this blog you are surrounded by people who generally agree with you and are overly eager to side with you, and join in your efforts against hyper-charismaticism and other things as you see it. They are on your side and singing your praises. Not everyone of course, but most. So be careful of the world you are creating. The praise of man is a snare. Prayerfully consider my words. Don’t look at the messenger.

    I say what I say in love. And because you asked. It is as I see it, however faulty it may be. But there may be some truth. That is between you and God to decide. My suggestion is to put it before other Christians you know personally, like those in your local body, and before God, through the word and prayer.

  319. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I know of two individuals who specifically reached out to Bill Johnson. One of them has commented on this thread – cherylu. The other I’ll leave nameless. Others have made comments to this effect in the comments section of some of the threads.

    There are two articles on this site specifically named as “challenges” for Johnson or the Bethel fan/attendee:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/open-challenge-to-bill-johnsonbethel-supporters/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/another-challenge-to-bill-johnsonbethel-supporters/

    This third one doesn’t seem to have been read nearly as much (disappointing, as I believe it really gets to the heart of the matter, though it’s very confusing):

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/open-challenge-to-fans-and-critics-of-bill-johnsonbethel-church/

    The first one has been posted on many different sites and has elicited by far the most comments from overt Johnson supporters; however, most just came on with either ad hominem attacks or defenses of BJ at the expense of actually saying anything pertinent to the discussion. It is this first one which I’m confident has made it to leadership at Bethel.

    You wrote: At this point though, given what l think I have gleaned from your beliefs about Christ, I want to ask, for curiosity sake, why do you think Jesus prayed daily? Even all night on occasion, to the point of great agony. Just curious about ways of looking at this theologically.

    The Incarnation is a divine mystery, and some of this I’m still searching out. Tentatively, the way I see this is that, while the ‘Persons’ of the Trinity are certainly co-equal, and Jesus Christ is the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity as the Word made flesh, while in His role as Jesus Christ He was both equal to the Father, yet in a subordinate role to the Father. This is how Jesus can say both “the Father is greater than I” and “I and the Father are one”. On the latter He is speaking as the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity, speaking “as touching His divine nature” through the human nature in the Person of Christ. (Everything Jesus did as the Incarnate Christ necessarily was done in and through the human nature.) On the former He was speaking either “as touching His human nature” through the Person of Christ, or better, as the theanthropic (God-man) Person. That may sound rather confusing, and admittedly it’s not an easy concept. I’m taking this from Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology (v II pp 392-394), as this seems to make the most sense to me.

    Also, we can clearly see that when Jesus grew weary and slept, grew hungry and ate, etc. He did these “as touching the human nature” through the Person of Christ. What I’m describing is known as the communicatio idiomatum, or “communication of attributes”; anything that Jesus did, no matter which nature it logically emanated from, is attributed to the whole Person. In this way we don’t think of Him as two persons within one Person.

    As a general comment, I will say that since I’ve been reading so much material on Bill Johnson over the past three years I may at times assume a bit too much on the reader. I may well not explain myself well enough in the articles to first-time readers. But, frankly, it’s not easy to try to untwist the words of one who’s so twisted the Word of God.

    You wrote: In particular I know of people who formerly were into the occult before Christ who do seem to have a penchant for their stuff. This has always been a red flag for me as well.

    I know of former occultists as well who are drawn to this. One was one of the first commenters on this site. This individual affirmed BJ’s Christology in the manner in which I’m presenting it, even going so far as agreeing that Jesus did not become the Christ until the dove descended upon Him. In essence, in making an analogy about me hypothetically being a Software Engineer by profession (a laughable thought for one who is technologically near inept!), she asked the rhetorical question that if an angel had told my parents that their child, Craig, was a Software Engineer that that would have been truth. Her point was that when the angels proclaimed Jesus as the Christ at the virgin birth (Luke 2:11) they were NOT proclaiming Him as the Christ at that moment, but as the FUTURE Christ. This is basically what the New Age / occult belief is about Jesus Christ; that is, Jesus was a man while Christ is God, and that Jesus was not always the Christ.

  320. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    Point taken re: “loaded language”, though, no excuses, but this is due to my frustration.

    You wrote, …The first I had to wonder about what BJ means by divinity, or think he means, given what he has said elsewhere…

    Others have brought this up as well. I can confidently say that BJ equates ‘divinity’ with ‘deity’, given the various contexts I’ve seen from him. This was written in the body of this article:

    One unanswered question (at least explicitly unanswered) is just what the term divinity means. From the above, it’s clear that possessing divinity entails an ability to perform the supernatural, since when it is “emptied” or “laid aside” the result is a complete inability to act supernaturally. This implies no longer possessing the means by which to perform supernatural acts, rather than a continual, conscious self-limitation. For, if Johnson means that the Word continued to possess supernatural powers, yet consciously chose not to use these powers, instead relying on the Holy Spirit, then words such as “no ability,” “couldn’t,” and “NO supernatural capabilities” would not be used. Moreover, when “Jesus, the man” is ‘linked’ “to the divine”40, i.e. the anointing, Jesus has supernatural capabilities via this linking “to the divine”. Therefore, divine, is another form of divinity, both entailing the ability to perform the supernatural.

    Also, we can construe that divinity and deity are interchangeable, as the term deity was part of the question posed to Johnson in the above tweet, and the term divinity is used in Johnson’s other quotes in a similar manner. So, in Johnson’s dictionary, to empty of divinity does not result in ceasing to exist. So, to recap, to empty or lay aside divinity/deity entails a continued existence but at the expense of any and all supernatural capabilities, in Johnson’s theology.

  321. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I’ll let your most recent comment stand as is.

    My main point in initially showing the “loaded language” post was to illustrate the manner in which others have commented using specific keywords such as “Pharisee”, “religious spirit”, “exposing others faults/fault finding” (this is something BJ likes to use over against his “culture of honor”, as if he’s the better guy for overlooking others’ faulty/heretical practices/doctrine), etc. But, yes other words are strong and can be labeled as “loaded” such as “shameful”.

    I’m aware that pride is a snare, and that is something to always be aware of. While it’s true that there are a few who comment here who largely agree, that certainly isn’t by design, nor was it and is it always so. Arwen4CJ especially has disagreed with a number of things I’ve written, expressing just that. In time, through discussion here in the comments, Arwen began to see my viewpoints to the point of near agreement on some things, yet there are other areas of non-agreement. “cherylu” has expressed many points of disagreement. There’ve been many different folks commenting on here, with most actually disagreeing. A guy named Martin was initially very vocally against my work here (and he got ‘ugly’ a number of times forcing me to edit some of his comments, though he apologized), yet eventually agreed that Johnson’s Christology is very problematic, thereby coming full circle. This is why I have the comments section. Frankly, it’s a LOT of work to answer the comments. Many just either close off comments altogether, or only release those in full agreement. I’m choosing not to do that (save for the odd ad hominem, ‘drive-by’ comments).

    The “loaded language” link was an article that wasn’t written by me. I put that fact at the top of the article in an initial disclaimer:

    [This is an excellent article with thought provoking observations. It was initially posted on a blog which is now inaccessible for unknown (by me) reasons. I have a suspicion that the author wishes to remain anonymous; however, I could not in good conscience reproduce this and put my name to it – even if I reworded it – as it is something I just would not have thought about or researched on my own. With this in mind, I will attribute this to “anonymous.” I’ve made some minor changes from the original, including the title, omitting one sentence which does not detract from the article (evidenced by an ellipse (…)) and updating the link contained therein. I’ve also added the term “hyper-charismaticism” or “hyper-charismatic” in parentheses.]

    I may be missing what you’re meaning here, but I don’t think I self-reference very much. I may point to an article written on this site, yes, but the articles all contain references by others who carry more clout than I. As one example, I did reference the “greater works” article, but this is only because I cannot find any other article on this to point to. (I did find another one shortly after I wrote the article, which is in one of the first comments on that thread). I looked for a long time for a good answer to the “greater works” to no avail. But, then maybe I do self-reference too much.

    I recognize that we all have ‘blind spots’, so I’m sure I have them as well. Therefore, I may not know what those are. I appreciate you taking the time to voice your concerns, and these will be considered.

  322. just1ofhis says:

    Jeffreydaniel,

    I have been a tongues praying Christian for a while now, though I do not pray that way publically as I have yet to meet anyone who is gifted in interpretation. I have had many situations in my life where I absolutely had no idea what or how to pray, and I believe that the “language known only unto God” is a wonderful gift He has provided in those times. I have received tremendous joy and comfort and occasionally something specific put on my heart to pray.

    To Craig’s credit, he has never challenged the testimonies of myself or others discussing tongues, healings, or other miracles on his blog, provided there is Biblical support for what is being stated. I believe that is really important.

  323. Craig says:

    …And I know I am opening myself up for further controversy by saying this, but I believe Christians can have demons in their lives, even in their soul or body. I have yet to see anyone prove from scripture to the contrary, and I have looked and asked, extensively. The only arguments I have heard always take some scriptures way out of context. But my experience, confirmed by scripture, tells me it is possible.

    I mostly don’t disagree with you. Where I draw the line is that my belief is that an individual cannot be possessed by a demon if s/he has the Holy Spirit indwelling. I don’t think that the Holy Spirit can coexistent in the same human body as demons. However, I do believe Holy Spirit-indwelt Christians can bring on demonic oppression, as I view this as if the demon/s is/are in a sense outside the body tormenting the person (think the Apostle Paul) rather than inwardly dwelling/possessing.

    …There is a chance I could be meeting BJ later this year. I will try and ask him, if I do. And I really mean that!…

    I hope you are afforded this opportunity, and that you are able to ask him point blank questions – questions that he cannot answer evasively without being obvious.

  324. just1ofhis says:

    jeffreydaniel said, “I am not even sure if Bentley ever was on the map, btw. So, naturally, it concerns me that BJ (and others) endorsed him, though I suspect he no longer does, though he has not come out very publicly about it. And there may be good reason for that.”

    http://www.bjm.org/friends.html

    If you scroll down Bill Johnson’s list of “friends”, you will find Todd Bentley. The link was copied today.

  325. Craig says:

    Here’s a quote of BJ used in part II of the BJ: New Age Christ? post:

    …As a pastor I sometimes invite speakers who come in a rough package but carry a great anointing. I do this to train my congregation to recognize the anointing and to celebrate who people are, not who they aren’t. People want to be doctrinally safe, not relationally safe. Often people expect me to publicly rebuke a previous speaker for teaching against what we believe. I will do that only if it’s actual heresy.

    And here are my comments following this (in the context of the larger article):

    One has to wonder what Johnson’s definition of heresy is. Certainly, refusing to rebuke a specific unbiblical or anti-biblical teaching by an individual who has spoken at his church amounts to tacit approval despite his statement above. However, given that the Bob Jones material cited in this section (excepting the MorningStar monologue) is sold in both audio and video format at Bethel, this connotes not just tacit but explicit endorsement. And for this, Johnson should be held responsible. With this endorsement from Bethel, one may be led to believe Jones’ teachings (at the least his words on this DVD/cd) are part of the Johnson / Bethel belief system. Are they?

    I also note later in the same article of BJ’s specific defense of Bentley, not once but twice, in the aftermath of the Lakeland debacle. And I provided the same link that just1ofhis used. If Johnson wishes to pull his endorsement of Bentley, he should remove the name from his “friends” link. But, likely, if push came to shove Johnson will pull out the “culture of honor” card, saying that he won’t say anything bad about anyone else. It makes him appear ‘righteous’.

    ADDED: note also how “the anointing” is the most important element in a person, according to Johnson. This is why it is SO important to understand the hyper-charismatic teaching on “the anointing”.

  326. IWTT says:

    I want to add something here about BJ being addressed about his teachings. It was mentioned in another comment that Craig has tried to get him engaged. Believe me I have been a part of many blogs and I know that some of the administrators of these blogs have tried privately or even in a public letter to get BJ to respond. BJ just won’t.

    I have a very close friend, has his Phd in Greek and teaches at a bible college. Bj had come to this college to speak one day and after this friend listened to him, my friend approached him and began to question him about what he had said. After disucussing the issue at hand, specifically what BJ had said to the students and how he had responded to my friend, my friend stated that BJ does not preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

    This all happened 5+ years ago. That is when I began to realize that what I was involved in was coming to light for me. I respect this friend very much. He is orthodox to the bone, YET, is Pentecostal in belief.

    Anyway, my point, BJ has been approached and he still teaches the junk…junk begets junk…!

  327. just1ofhis says:

    Craig said, ” Where I draw the line is that my belief is that an individual cannot be possessed by a demon if s/he has the Holy Spirit indwelling.”

    In support of that I would just ask the question: Can darkness and light exist in the same place at the same time? If the light within a man is darkness, then how great that darkness.

    Jesus delivered many people of demons. The Bible NEVER documents Him “re-delivering” those same people. This is a lie out of the pit of hell that deludes Christians into believing in a God who is not powerful enough to protect them. To say that a “born-again” believer could be possessed by a demon (as Craig stated, I am not talking about outward oppression), would be to undermine the cleansing and sanctification of the Word of God through the Spirit of God in a person’s life. If I believed that was true, I would really have no confidence at all in God.

    Jesus stated that “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The “born-again” believer is walking through the earth with the greater spiritual protection then man can conceive, imo.

    Nebuchadnezzar is a great example. He became full of pride and vanity. God sent an evil spirit to possess him, as a punishment. This punishment had the effect of bringing about the humility that God was desiring in Nebuchadnezzar and resulted in Nebuchadnezzar writing God’s praises. If Nebuchadnezzar had been full of the light of the Living God, he would not have been handed over to such an experience. As it was, the experience brought about the response desired of a loving God.

    We are sanctified by the Word of God. When believers let go of this Word and begin following men, they open themselves up to all sorts of darkness. God may still ultimately save them, but as Nebuchadnezzar shows, He may turn them over to great suffering first.

    I know a “born-again” woman who was suffering a painful injury. A “gifted healing man” came from another country, and she attended his “healing service” all done “in the name of Jesus”. When the prayers began, this woman “fell to the floor” and began “writhing in pain”. The “healer” jumped down and started praying over her. She began manifesting all sorts of things, lifting off the ground, screaming wildly, etc. The “healer” continued to pray and “chase the demon around her body trying to get it out” (If you can find Biblical support for this, let me know). This went on for some time. At the end of the day, the only thing that “healer” accomplished was to undermine this woman’s faith in a Holy God. It is a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit to call good “evil”. It is also a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit to call evil “good”. God have mercy on these people.

    Jesus said the word, and the demons fled. Do you believe that this has changed? God, give me the faith of the centurion who said, “I am not worthy, but just say the word LORD….” My confidence in God is that I KNOW that He hears my prayer. I KNOW this. I don’t need to wonder about it. And whatever I need in the moment, be it healing or sickness, He will provide; because He loves me so much. We must be certain, jeffreydaniel, that we are fighting the LORD’s battle. It has taken the LORD a long time to get that through my thick skull. There were times that I was nothing but a clown in my prayer life, thinking I was doing battle for Him, but merely making a mockery of all that is Holy.

  328. just1ofhis says:

    “junk begets junk”

    Maybe that explains why I can never seem to get my closets cleaned out….

  329. just1ofhis says:

    I used to walk home from kindergarten, as we lived close to the school. One day I was joined by 3 young friends. As we were passing by a large, flat-bottomed boat sitting in an empty field, one of my young friends told us that this was his grandfather’s boat. He said that his grandfather would not mind at all our playing on the boat, and told us that he did this all the time. So we joined him in playing on the boat. Now, my parents had instructed me to respect the property of others and to leave things alone that did not belong to me. But, I listened to this little boy and played on this boat, running and jumping and yelling along with the crowd, having a grand time.

    After a few minutes, an old man emerged from the house across the street, screaming and running toward us. I was terrified. I thought he was going to literally kill us, he was so angry. We all took off running. I lived close by, and he recognized me; and my parents were the ones he called. I got in so much trouble. The boy only lied in part. He had played on that boat many times; but the man was not his grandfather, and he did not have permission to be there.

    I was punished anyway. I had the instructions from my parents, but I decided to listen to a misguided 5 year old instead. Even if that boy had been telling the truth, the thing he was leading us into was something I knew better than to do.

    We have the instructions. It is not okay to say that there is a mixing, for a little bit of truth and a little bit of error amounts to a corrupted story. If Jesus Christ is our head, then we follow Him; men are followed at the peril of those who desire to be led. True “leaders” in the body of “Christ” will point people to the Bible and lead by example in their own lives and doctrines, which they will watch closely to be certain they line up with the Head.

    Satan only lied in part to Eve in the garden. Adam and Eve did become knowledgeable about good and evil. That part truth/part lie has always been the hallmark of the enemy. If it was nothing but vomit on the table, then only the dogs would eat it.

  330. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hey all….just a comment about the http://www.bjm.org/friends.html link that was provided.

    I looked at it, and it still has Jill Austin’s name on it. (I understand that she died a while ago). However, perhaps her ministry continues, and they have kept her name on the friends list so that people understand it is the ministry that she used to run.

    At the same time, I also noticed that Todd Bentley is listed with Fire Fresh Ministries. I thought that he wasn’t part of that anymore, and that maybe he is part of another organization now. Maybe he’s back with Fire Fresh, though. I’d have to look it up.

    Okay — just looked it up. It looks like Bentley is the leader of Fire Fresh USA now. http://www.freshfireusa.com/

    The link on the friends list had a Canada link.

    Oh wow…seriously? It looks like Todd Bentley tried to lead another revival this year called the Great Awakening Healing Revival. I wonder if it is going on. Is this Lakeland 2?

    http://www.god.tv/news/healing-awakening-what-next

    Apparently it has gone on for at least 60 days, and it is happening in South Africa. Seriously? Is the world falling for this AGAIN?

    Anyway, it looks like Todd Bentley has moved Fire Fresh to the USA after the disaster in Lakeland.

    Anyway, I think that Bill Johnson’s list of “friends” page might not have been updated in a long time. But at the same time Bill Johnson hasn’t bothered to update the page, so I guess the details don’t matter to him.

    Whether or not the page is out of date, Johnson has never once said anything about not agreeing with Bentley. I wonder what he says about this current “revival.” I think he wouldn’t hesitate to participate in another commissioning ceremony, if asked. That’s just my opinion, though.

  331. Craig says:

    I think I referenced Bentley’s “Great Awakening” somewhere in comments on here, but I’m not sure. It could have been on another site.

  332. just1ofhis says:

    Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Power
    Julia Loren
    Bill Johnson

    http://store.ibethel.org/p6733/shifting-shadows-of-supernatural-power

    “A storm is brewing… Who is ready for the coming showdown?
    Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Power charts the storm brewing between the power of God and schemes of the enemy; and encourages believers to step out of the shadows and into the Light.
    A history of the prophetic movement in the United States combined with interviews of many well-known prophetic voices such as Jill Austin, Heidi and Roland Baker, Todd Bentley, Stacey Campbell, Randy Clark, Graham Cooke, James Goll, Bill Hamon, John Paul Jackson, Rick Joyner and Patricia King serve as a compass to navigate the storm and change the course of a too-complacent, intellectual church.
    The author equips you to:
    • Step into God’s presence
    • Define shifting shadows’ origins
    • Sharpen your discernment
    • Recognize converging movements
    • Increase in power and authority
    Arm yourself with knowledge to distinguish the difference between power that comes from God, the enemy, or even yourself. By tapping into God’s authentic power and using His gifts of the Spirit, you will access His supernatural signs and wonders—today.

    Number of Pages : 224″

    This book was published in 2006, but it is still available on their website.

  333. just1ofhis says:

    So Bill Johnson is still making money off a book ($14.07/book) that considers Todd Bentley part of a “prophetic movement in the United States”.

    There is no kind and generous way to interpret that.

  334. IWTT says:

    “junk begets junk”

    Maybe that explains why I can never seem to get my closets cleaned out….

    Very good…funny

  335. IWTT says:

    This is getting away from the topic but in response to the comment onthe friend that went to see the “faith healer”… I was with a relative one time in church and when we were leaving, she felt she needed to go back for prayer for her back pain. The pastor began to pray and because she wasn’t healed physically, he announces to us that this is a “spiritual” problem and they begin to pray against the “spirit” causing the problem. They prayed for her 4 seperate times that morning, each time she would go down on the floor as if “slain” and begin to cry out in pain.

    About the third time I began to sense something not right here. The 4th time they prayed and she went down and all of a sudden she began to choke as if being strangled. She was almost turning blue at which point I yelled “STOP!” and at the same time the relative yelled out for Satan to stop in the Name of Jesus. She immediatlely was freed and able to breath.

    I believe that the person that was praying in the like manner of these “faith healers” actually opened the door for a Satanic attack rather than for a healing by the Lord. He also “ministered” with the idea that the problem was a demonic problem and that was in error as well. The idea of a believer being demon possesed grate against everything I have been told happens to a believer upon acceptance of Christ as Savior in ones life. Believers have been “set free” and “delivered” by the spilled blood of the Lamb. Can they be oppressed? Yes? But possessed? No.

    I was in a deliverence ministry for 7+ years as a worship leader and that was the junk that was taught in this ministry. The “devil made me do it!” just doesn’t cut it. Scripture is clear that the devil lies and when WE, notice WE, take hold of the lie then WE sin. See where the responsibility lay. It is on the person. That is why I got out of it. The same people kept coming year after year to the retreat to be set free. They never were “free” until they took responsibility for their own sin and repented. It’s bogus.

  336. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    You raised the question — where do we draw the line? I asked myself this question many times, and I asked the question many times to God. I was deeply troubled by Lakeland, and that friends I had highly respected in the Christian faith had jumped aboard on this.

    I knew that Todd Bentley was off the deep end, and that Patricia King, Bill Johnson, and others in the movement were, too. But, as you have said, people can start out right, and then be deceived and then go off the deep end. This doesn’t just happen overnight. It is a gradual process, usually.

    One of the related questions to this was — what line do I draw between sticking with a church and leaving it? How much would I tolerate?

    The church I was attending when I was thinking about this was a church in the town where my graduate school was. I’d been attending the church since I started going to graduate school. It started off great. The pastor preached very sound sermons, and the church was reaching out to the community. I really felt that this church was the closest to what I read in the Bible that a church should be like. The gospel had been truly preached there, and he was drawing in people who were thirsty for God.

    However, the pastor decided to step down from the ministry. He believed that God was calling him out of the ministry, so that he could serve his family better. He and his wife and family stopped going to the church so that the new minister would have a chance.

    When the new pastor came, he basically dismantled everything that had been going on with the previous pastor. Everything changed. The old pastor had expounded on a particular passage of Scripture for anywhere from half an hour to forty-five minutes. He always pointed back to Jesus and the real gospel message. This new pastor preached for about the same length of time, but he didn’t expound on Scripture. He loosely used Scripture to back up various themes he would preach on.

    As time went on, he started referencing the Bible less and less. People stopped carrying their Bibles to church because we hardly needed them. I should rephrase that and say that he didn’t expect us to bring our Bibles. He would reference Scripture, but he really didn’t read from it much. He would either glaze over a large section of Scripture, or he would use it as a proof-text for whatever topic he wanted to talk about.

    The old pastor used to take one of Paul’s shorter letters and preach a series on that during the summer. The new pastor decided he would preach on movies during the summer. So what he would do would be to show a film clip — maybe as much as 10-20 minutes in length, and then he would preach on some theme that he thought was good or biblical or went with Christianity in some way.

    The thing that he usually emphasized in sermons was miracles and healings — almost everything would point back to that. We didn’t have any weird manifestations or anything, so it wasn’t really off the deep end. However, it was plainly obvious to me what was missing: the gospel. The real gospel. While attending the church under his leadership, he might have mentioned the cross once or twice in his sermons.

    The lack of gospel bothered me, as did some other things, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I thought that maybe I’d just missed the sermons in which he talked about the gospel. (I helped teach a kids class during Sundays fairly often, and at first there was only one service, so if I was helping teach the kids, it meant that I missed the sermons.)

    There were other little things that bothered me — like one time he wanted the whole church to go on this weekend camping trip. He had declared that instead of having a worship service at the church, the worship service would be at the campground instead. That bothered me because I knew that not everyone would go on the camping trip, and also there might be visitors or something who would want to worship God and not know what was going on. Sure enough, that is what happened. A visitor showed up on the Sunday at the church, and she found the church locked.

    Then there were other things — mainly the pastor’s flippant attitude towards reverence that bugged me.

    I was there for one of his Easter services. I thought maybe then I would hear him preach the gospel. Nope. Instead he preached about how Jesus’ resurrection enabled us to do miracles and things.

    At various times he would also focus on how much God loves us.

    There were no false teachers being promoted from the pulpit (although the pastor was sneaking in false teaching by suggesting that people read books by various authors, including Bill Johnson, and lending selected people these books.) So false teaching was being promoted, but it was very secretive and behind the scenes.

    The pastor also had his favorites — those were people who seemed to show promise in healings or the miraculous. He ignored a guy in the church who was trained in Scripture and who was very solid — he had always been invited to give the sermon when the old pastor wasn’t going to be there. The same was true for the main worship leader under the old pastor. He was really good, and he always picked songs that were theologically correct. This new pastor ignored that guy, and he promoted another guy to be the main worship leader — a guy who picked Jesus Culture songs.

    All of these things bothered me, but I think what bothered me the most was the pastor’s flippant attitude. And when I watched videos by false teachers online, I got the same impression — that they had a flippant attitude towards all things holy.

    Although there wasn’t anything that was really opposed to Scripture there, there was enough going on that had I continued to live in that town, I would have had to go to another church. It just wasn’t right.

    So for me, personally, I have decided that going over the line involves the following things:
    1.) Ignoring the real gospel and emphasizing something else more

    2.) A flippant attitude towards God, and all things holy. At its worst, it is mocking God — so any behavior or speech that mocks God will be enough for me to leave. This might also take the form of showing contempt for God or His holiness.

    3.) If a pastor is biblically off or against Scripture consistently

    4.) Promoting false teachers

    If the pastor or the leadership of the church continues to promote or teach these things even after there has been an attempt by at least one person to confront them about the false things, then I think it is time to leave.

    I left the church in my hometown because the leadership was openly promoting false teachers, the pastor was preaching heresy, and they were encouraging occult practices like guided imagery. I confronted the pastor and spoke with the elders of the church about my concerns. It was clear to me that they weren’t going to change. The pastor and I exchanged some e-mail messages, and he insulted me during them. I had had enough.

    I’ll also mention that this pastor also had a somewhat irreverent attitude towards God when he preached, and he hardly ever preached on the gospel.

  337. just1ofhis, Craig, et alia.
    RE: demonic possession.

    First off, let me say I have studied this subject inside and outside for years, and read just about every book on the market. I don’t claim expertise, but I will share what I believe. I have studied the Greek, etc. ad naseum, because I really just wanted to know the truth. I always heard differing opinions, but most of it ended up being what people were taught, and they had little or no scripture to back up what they believe. I still find this to be the case. I have asked people to give me scriptures to back up why they believe Christians can’t have demons. I have yet to have someone give me a single convincing argument from the word.

    Lightness and Darkness cant “co-exist” (a bad reference to 2 Corinthians 6:14), or bitter water not coming from a fresh spring (james 3:11) are the number one explanations. The first scripture is about not having fellowship with sinful people and the second is about bridling the tongue, and even it follows a verse that says blessing and cursing come out from the same mouth! Furthermore, if this co-existence theory is so air tight, someone please explain how we have the Spirit in us, but we have sin in us also, as Paul explicitly states in Romans, even saying they are at war inside of him and sin dwelling in his members.

    Secondly, let me address the argument that Christ never cast out a demon twice from the same person. Well, that is an argument from ignorance. We can’t conjecture on what he didn’t do to build a doctrine. But if you do recall, he did tell someone not too sin unless something worse come upon them in one place, and also told the parable of the house as an admonition that you can’t leave the house empty or the Spirit will return with 7 others. One could argue that He meant for the Holy Spirit to come and fill the whole house, but then why would Paul tell us to be continually filled with the Spirit, if it was always occupying all 100% of us?
    What I would argue is that Jesus and Paul make the argument that continual sinning can give access to demons. This is why Paul says in Romans that whom you obey, you make your master.

    Thirdly, I want to point out that the word possession is a bad translation of the original Greek in every single case in the NT concerning demons being in, or upon a person(depending on how you want to look at it). The proper translation should be “demonized” from “daimonizomenous” in the Greek implying a matter of degree. We don’t see this cut and dry distinction between “opressed” and possesed” in the original language like most people believe. In fact, in a case like Matthew 8:16, where there were multitudes of “possessed” it is interesting to note, there is no distinction here, and some translators have it that “all the possessed were brought to Him” and some have it as “oppressed.”
    In fact the only place I can remember of a word like oppressed being used is when Jesus is quoting Isaiah 61 in Luke, explaining who He has been anointed to set free, but the word could be translated broken, crushed, oppressed, etc. It is interesting to note that when Jesus commissioned in Mathew 10, He said they would have power to cast out demons. He says nothing anywhere about dealing differently with oppression or even makes a hint of any distinction. In Acts, the word afflicted is used, but again, no distinction like people talk about.
    I find it funny that neither Jesus, Paul, nor anyone else in the NT ever makes a distinction between non-believers and those in the faith with regard to demons.

    So, where does this idea come from? I would submit, that maybe, just maybe, the idea that Christians can’t have demons is a lie straight from the pit of hell, and not the other way around. Of course we can’t be possessed, in the absolute sense, because we belong to God. But the bible never uses the word possessed strictly either. And that’s generally why I don’t use it. The word should be translated demonized. The same Greek root (daimonízomai) is used for the man with legion as is for individuals who had sicknesses which He rebuked, and for every one of the multiple times they brought entire groups of people.

    To those who it applies, I am truly sorry for your personal bad experiences with misguided people, but my experience has born out different results. I have seen Christians set free from demons, me among them. I’m not really going to argue whether they were inside or out. The bible never seems to make this as an important distinction and so, neither will I. I will say when was I was freed from one, it conformed perfectly to the Bible (though it changed my understanding) and it sure felt like it was inside. I also recall the strangest feeling afterward of being “empty.” Not in a bad way, just empty, just as Jesus describes in the house parable. And I had been an ardent believer for a few years. I absolutely know I was a Christian. Seems it was in my soul and maybe body. But where is ones soul? Completely in the body? and where does the carnal nature exist? And if the demons merely have some kind of hooks, or attachment to the soul, where are they, in your body or out of it? Can someone please define for me from the Bible what their definition of “oppressed’ is?

  338. Craig says:

    …Furthermore, if this co-existence theory is so air tight, someone please explain how we have the Spirit in us, but we have sin in us also, as Paul explicitly states in Romans, even saying they are at war inside of him and sin dwelling in his members.

    All of us retain the sin nature upon conversion. The sin nature is where we live of the ‘flesh’ as opposed to by the Spirit.

    The soul is generally seen as immaterial, as compared to the material body. Most associate the mind (and will) with the soul, though not always.

  339. just1ofhis says:

    “Secondly, let me address the argument that Christ never cast out a demon twice from the same person. Well, that is an argument from ignorance. We can’t conjecture on what he didn’t do to build a doctrine.”

    If this is an argument based on ignorance, than the Word of God is ignorance. We do not get to add to scripture any more than we are allowed to take away from it. When Peter questioned Jesus as to His upcoming death, Jesus did not respond by casting the demon out of Peter, though he made certain that it was understood where the lie was coming from. When Peter betrayed the LORD 3 times on the night of His arrest, he was not delivered of a demon. He repented, which we know from scripture. Repentance is the Christian’s response to error….not endless and mindless casting out of demons. We are clean because of the Word in us. These words are the words of the LORD. One either believes them, or they do not believe them.

    A person’s experience, no matter how compelling that experience may sound, does not trump the truth in scripture. We do not follow experience, even our own. We follow scripture.

  340. Craig says:

    …But if you do recall, he did tell someone not too sin unless something worse come upon them in one place, and also told the parable of the house as an admonition that you can’t leave the house empty or the Spirit will return with 7 others. One could argue that He meant for the Holy Spirit to come and fill the whole house, but then why would Paul tell us to be continually filled with the Spirit, if it was always occupying all 100% of us?

    Then what do you make of the Holy Spirit’s seal guaranteeing eternal life (2 Cor 1:21-22; Eph 1:13-14)? AMENDED: OK, I read this too quickly; your point was that if we’re not 100% filled, could we be filled with both a demon AND the Holy Spirit? I’ll counter with this: if one gets ‘refilled’ with the Spirit, does this in itself remove the demon, or does one need deliverance still?

  341. just1ofhis ,
    you’re creating a false dichotomy, and a strawman, and none of your comment addresses my argument. Of course a person’s normal response to sin or error is repentance. And Jesus does tell people to repent, but that’s not the whole story. If you’d like, I am open to scripture you have to confirm Christians can’t have demons. Please share it.

  342. Craig,
    thanks for your response on the soul and carnal nature, though my questions were rhetorical. I have studied that too, but am open to new insight.

  343. Craig says:

    Galatians illustrates a war between the flesh (sarx, if I recall correctly) and the Spirit:

    16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

    This, to me, shows how Christians can either be led of their sinful flesh (the sin nature) or by the Spirit. Nothing is mentioned about demonization.

    ADDED: here’s an interlinear showing the battle of the sarkos (flesh) and pneuma (Spirit):

    http://interlinearbible.org/galatians/5.htm

  344. Craig,
    with regard to the seal of Holy Spirit, I already stated we belong to Christ. I fail to see the conflict. It seems you’re implying something unholy cant be resident in something belonging to the Holy Spirit. As I said before, sin (which is not holy) yet resides in us, as well as the carnal nature, and yet we belong to God. We still have to be sanctified, and transformed from glory to glory.

    I want to make a further point, though. People here are making conflict between salvation and casting out demons. Jesus and the apostles didn’t make that distinction. So, it follows logically under what you are saying, that there are only two options: if saved people can’t have demons, then 1)why didn’t the Apostles or Jesus just get them saved if that would have taken care of demons, or 2)you are saying all demons must be dealt with before someone can be saved

    which is it?

  345. Craig says:

    Of course, the Holy Spirit must, of necessity, live in an unholy environment – the unsanctified, unglorified believer. But, this does not indicate that there’s ‘room’ for an actual demonic presence in the Spirit-filled Christian.

    As to your further point, the difference is that since Jesus had yet to ascend there was not yet Pentecost, in which the Christian was Holy Spirit indwelt, rather than the Spirit ‘merely’ coming upon them as in the OT and pre-Pentecost.

  346. Craig says:

    I’ll add: since Pentecost, I posit that true Holy Spirit indwelt Christians would not need deliverance, as the indwelling would vacate any demonic presence. That may not be explicit in Scripture, but I believe that may be able to be backed up implicitly.

  347. Arwen4CJ says:

    Regarding Christians being demonized….perhaps they could if they opened themselves up to demonization. It’s still hard for me to understand how a Christian could have a demon, but I’m open to the possibility, if it is the Christian put themselves under demonic power.

    (By opening themselves up to demonization, I’m talking about things like playing with the occult. Doing things that God has specifically forbidden, such as trying to talk to dead spirits, getting involved in divination, asking for a spirit that isn’t the Holy Spirit to come in, practicing guided imagery, and wanting a demonic impartation — which is basically asking for an evil spirit to come in, worshiping angels, etc.).

    I think I’ve made a similar comment before — a person has to wonder why most demonic deliverance ministries happen in connection to hyper-charismatic churches. Might there be a higher need for them in these churches because demons are constantly demonizing people? In other words, maybe demons have created a market for this, and it keeps people in bondage because they constantly need deliverance.

    For instance:
    Demon A demonizes/oppressions/possesses person A. Person A may or may not be a real Christian. Person A goes to the deliverance ministry in order to get rid of the demon. The demon either is playing here — and is just pretending to stop bothering the person, or the demon does stop bothering, only to return later.

    Person A feels great, then attends another hyper-charismatic event in which the person goes up to receive an impartation. Demon A returns or Demon B comes or Demon A comes out of hiding sometime in the future.

    Person A goes back to the deliverance ministry to get better again. The cycle repeats over and over and over again.

  348. just1ofhis says:

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. YOU ARE ALREADY CLEAN BECAUSE OF THE WORD I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU. Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” (John 15:1-3)

    The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:15)

    “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matt 5:14-15)

    “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt 6:22-23)

    “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will NEVER walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. SO IF THE SON SETS YOU FREE, YOU WILL BE FREE INDEED.” (John 8: 34-36)

    “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    He leads me beside quiet waters,
    He RESTORES my soul.
    He guides me in paths of righteousness
    for His name’s sake.

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows,
    Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23

    The prodigal son can fall away. If he is really a son, the LORD will call Him back. But he cannot wallow in the mud with the pigs as long as he is in His Father’s house. A demon in the house is darkness in the house. That is not the heritage of the saints of God.

  349. Craig,
    Let me just clarify, I am not saying everything is a demon. The normal way to deal with sin and attacks from satan, etc. is to Submit to God and resist. The submission being very key. I want to draw a parallel to many people in Charismatic circles who are always looking for God to “speak.” I have some advice for them. There is a normal, usual way He speaks, and it’s called His revealed word. You should get to know it if you want to know what He has to say, and even when you have a current problem, He will primarily speak through it, So get to know Him.But sometimes, one needs to hear directly from God.

    Similarly, denying the flesh by sewing to the Spirit and seeking after Jesus, submitting to God, etc. is the way we normally deal with sin, and should not be looking for a devil to blame. But sometimes, he is to blame, directly.

    I suffered from depression (and later anxiety attacks) for almost 20 years,and nothing worked, even in my Christian life. After that deliverance, I have never suffered from it again. I didn’t go seeking for a demon to blame my problem on, I sought the Lord for years, finally , desperately enough, and He led me through His word, and by prayer to a minister who helped me, and that Spirit came out with a shriek (it wasn’t me! I didn’t try to make it happen), and I was gloriously delivered. It all conformed absolutely to the Bible, and I have never found a verse to contradict what God did. I cant tell you how it all works, but I can tell you I am free to this day, and that was almost 7 years ago. I guess people can believe it was all a demonic deception if they want, but it doesn’t make any sense to me that way.

  350. just1ofhis says:

    “I’ll add: since Pentecost, I posit that true Holy Spirit indwelt Christians would not need deliverance, as the indwelling would vacate any demonic presence. That may not be explicit in Scripture, but I believe that may be able to be backed up implicitly.”

    In fact, the light drives the darkness out. Even in the natural, I cannot turn a light on in a room and have it be dark.

  351. Arwen,
    I suppose your theoretical story is possible and may even happen, but it doesn’t mean there are not other explanations. I will say this, i is useless to cast a demon out of people who are not willing to change the behavior, specifically actions that brought on the demon. I think some of my references to Jesus words earlier highlight this fact. I believe if you willfully go on sinning in certain ways, you do open the door. Some of the realities behind this go back to Leviticus. etc. Remember, the nature of God and how He looks to sin have not changed, while our covenant has. This is a complicated subject though, much more than most Christians want to let on or believe.

  352. Arwen4CJ,

    I just read your story about the Pastor who started preaching from movie clips, etc. Very sad. I was on the bus today reflecting on how we can avoid deception. (something that’s been on my mind for years) I wrote down the following, which is just my spontaneous thoughts:

    You cannot over emphasize Christ, its impossible. Many have over emphasized many things to their detriment and others, and some even an aspect of Christ to a fault. But the eternally existent, co-creator, tinitarian Son of God, who came in the flesh, yet was sinless, but crucified for mankind’s sin, who rose again and was glorified and now sits on the throne at the right hand of God cannot be over-emphasized. Which you might not be able to say of any other idea or entity in scripture.

    And that is where I draw the line. If People don’t bring it all back to Christ, I am not interested. Having said that, I don’t EVER leave a church family unless they are teaching outright heresy, or I get a clear word from the Lord. I believe in commitment. And I believe even in such unhealthy places, God keeps people sometimes there as a voice crying out in the wilderness, for a season.

    For instance, you were a witness to that church, so that they may be without excuse in answering to God.

  353. you said, “In fact, the light drives the darkness out. Even in the natural, I cannot turn a light on in a room and have it be dark.”

    Isn’t that called using experience to inform your belief instead of scripture, the very thing you said I was doing?

    Please share some scripture to back that up, and also consider answering my question about the saved not having demons and the two implications of that I raised.

  354. just1ofhis says:

    Jeffreydaniel,

    I did provide the scriptures in the post at 3:15 p.m. The example I gave pulls directly from those scriptures. It is God’s Word.

    Maybe you did not read the post. I can find more scriptures for you, if you would like.

  355. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    God does heal people — whatever the cause, including emotional issues. I’m pleased to hear that He healed you from the depression and anxiety. :) Whether or not this was caused by a demon, I’m in no place to say, but there is no doubt that you were cured of these things.

    Hmmm…good thoughts on how to avoid deception. Yes, Jesus should be central to any ministry or church. However, just talking or emphasizing Jesus may not be enough to avoid deception. It has to be the real Jesus, and not a false one. Or, the pastor might preach about Jesus, but also start bringing in other teachings. So it must be talking about the Jesus you described, the real Jesus. Not just the name Jesus. Not just the Jesus of miracles or manifestations or whatever.

    I have commitment too, but sometimes there is no other option but to leave. If you have tried everything, and you believe that God is leading you out of that church.

    Yes, I was a witness in both of those churches, but the time came when I had to leave.

    Back to the demon possession topic — In general, I do not think that Christians usually get possessed. Otherwise there would be more mention of it in the New Testament about the necessity of casting out demons from believers. When people repent of their sins, normally that is enough.

    Most of the apostles and Jesus’ accounts of driving out demons dealt with people who had not been saved yet. I actually can’t think of an example in which a saved individual needed to have a demon cast out. That doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen, or that it couldn’t….but I don’t think it was normative Christian teaching to practice exorcisms on Christians.

    I have several books on spiritual warfare, and there are some examples of exorcisms found in those books. However, in those examples, none of them involved saved Christians. Again, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen….but…..

    Again, I struggle with the idea that a demon could possess someone who has the Holy Spirit. But then again, I don’t really know how demons work.

    I have read an account by a pastor who was caught up in the Toronto Blessing stuff. He was rolling around on the floor, doing really silly things. He realized that this behavior was caused by a demon and he repented. I don’t know if he needed to have a demon exorcised or not.

    Possession is real….but I think some in the hyper-charismatic movement has turned it more into witchcraft than anything else. Have you ever heard of Francis MacNutt? I had to read a book that he wrote when I was doing my counseling internship, as well as watch a video of him performing deliverance on people. I took real issue with some of the things that he does and says. According to him, it seems like people need to be delivered all the time. Demons just jump on people, even if all someone is doing is helping someone out. I’m sorry, but I just don’t find that to be biblical.

    He also has this prayer of protection that he recommends reciting at least once every day to make sure that demons don’t get you. That prayer seemed to be a whole lot like a magical incantation to keep demons away, and it seemed to keep people fearful of the possibility of being possessed. I don’t think God wants us to live that way.

    This is a really tricky topic.

  356. Craig says:

    I have read an account by a pastor who was caught up in the Toronto Blessing stuff. He was rolling around on the floor, doing really silly things. He realized that this behavior was caused by a demon and he repented. I don’t know if he needed to have a demon exorcised or not.

    You must be referring to Paul Gowdy. He does not mention about needing deliverance, but one can read the account and contact him here:

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

  357. just1ofhis says:

    “He also has this prayer of protection that he recommends reciting at least once every day to make sure that demons don’t get you. That prayer seemed to be a whole lot like a magical incantation to keep demons away, and it seemed to keep people fearful of the possibility of being possessed. I don’t think God wants us to live that way.”

    Arwen, I saw this a lot in the Word/Faith church. In the church I was in, it was “pleading the blood” over everything and everyone. I was once rescued via a miracle from God from a crime. When I gave that testimony in the Word of Faith church, they only wanted to know “what I had said” to “get” the miracle.

    I didn’t “say” anything. I didn’t have time. I had an attacker who was coming at me. When he was close enough to grab me, I saw him physically pushed away about 15 feet. He got up, terrified and ran off. I didn’t even pray, other than afterward to thank God for protecting me from this person. It occurred a few months after I was saved, but I don’t remember even thinking anything outside of “this man is going to hurt me”. There was no “positive confession” in that. The folks in the Word of Faith church could never accept that. I “had” to have said “something”.

    The power is not in our words, or even in our thoughts. The power is in our God.

  358. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yes, Craig, that is who I was thinking of. Thanks for posting the link.

  359. just1ofhis says:

    Craig, on the topic of e-stores:

    Out of curiosity, I wanted to see just how many items Bethel church was selling through its online store.

    As of today, 7/2/13, they had:

    276 books
    105 music related items (CD’s and such)
    414 teaching items
    62 other items, including gifts

    Then there were the weekend messages. In the first 6 months of 2013, there were 82 different messages available for sale through the website. The available messages go back to April of 2008. I didn’t sample every single message, as there were simply too many of them. But those I did open were priced as such:
    $5.00 per CD audio
    $3.00 per MP3
    $12.00 per DVD

    That is priced per message, not per month.

    Whatever you think of Bill Johnson, it is expensive to be his follower.

  360. Craig says:

    You are correct! While he does post some of his ‘sermon’s free for a time, they eventually are removed and only accessible through purchase. One can just sign up and pay for each sermon to be delivered to one’s email. I was tipped off to this a couple years ago by someone who contacted me and who lives in the Redding area.

  361. just1ofhis says:

    Okay, so even on a rough estimate there are far more than 700 messages. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and round it down to 700. At $3.00 a pop, that would amount to $2,100. That is some serious change. Again, it is just an estimate.

    If you are one of the technologically inept folks who have been purchasing the DVDs all this time, you would be out more than $8,000.

  362. Craig says:

    But, the DVDs have the visual effect of seeing one’s idol, rather than merely hearing the words – certainly worth the price to some…

  363. Craig says:

    For anyone who is unsure of the validity of miracles being done outside of Christendom, here’s a selection from Essek W. Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus [1927, West Coast Publishing, Los Angeles, CA, pp 110-111] (- yes I have the book, and I was looking specifically for something else when I found this):

    We cannot ignore the amazing growth of Christian Science, Unity, New Thought, and Spiritism.

    The people who are flocking to them are not the ignorant masses, but the most cultured and wealthy of the land, and their strongest appeal is the supernatural element of their so-called religions – the testimonies of healings by their followers are their strongest asset.

    We cannot close our eyes to the fact that in many of our cities on the Pacific Coast, Mrs. Eddy [Mary Baker Eddy, founder of CS] has a stronger following today and a larger attendance at her churches than have the old line denominations; and the largest percentage of her followers have at one time been worshippers [sic] in the denominations – they have left them because they are receiving more help from Mrs. Eddy’s teaching than from the preachers.

    They will tell you how they were healed and how they were helped in the spiritual life by this strange cult.

    This is libel upon the modern Church – it is not only a libel but a challenge.

    This goes to one of D. R. McConnell’s theses in his book A Different Gospel in which he reports that Kenyon borrowed some of the methods of these metaphysical cults, while denigrating them at the same time.

  364. just1ofhis says:

    Am I remembering correctly that it was Essek W. Kenyon that Kenneth Hagin, Sr. plagiarized almost word for word, claiming that it was Jesus who gave him those words personally?

  365. Craig says:

    Yes, you are. In fact, in Hagin’s book The Name of Jesus he attempts to right this wrong in part by quoting and giving credit to the Kenyon work which I just quoted.

  366. just1ofhis says:

    This is off topic, but all the discussion about deliverance reminded me of Frank and Ida Mae Hammond (“Pigs in the Parlor”). I had started studying their material, until I got to Ida Mae’s revelations from “jesus” about schizophrenia. I never see their names come up in apologetics, but they were really instrumental in initiating a lot of the odd ideas about deliverance. And, their material is still marketed. Have you ever seen Ida Mae’s “schizophrenic” hands? This is a great illustration of something that goes far, far beyond anything laid out in the Word of God.

  367. Craig says:

    Never heard of ‘em. “Schizophrenic hands”?!

  368. just1ofhis says:

    “THE SCHIZOPHRENIC REVELATION (BY IDA MAE HAMMOND)
    We were working very closely in DELIVERANCE with a person who did not show much improvement after repeated ministries.

    Time after time we felt that the victory was gained.

    The Lord said, “I want to give you a revelation of what is Sarah’s problem. The problem is schizophrenia”. The Lord gave me this definition: “Schizophrenia is a disturbance, distortion or disintegration of the development of the personality.”

    I was still in bed – still had sleep in my eyes – as the Lord continued giving the revelation.

    Next, the Lord instructed me to take my hands apart VERY SLOWLY. As my fingers

    were slowly disengaged the Lord showed me that these demonic spirits in the schizophrenic must be separated, cast out and given up. The process requires time. It is a shock to the person to discover that so much of his personality is not the real self. He may be afraid to discover what his true personality is. He needs time to adjust and to fall out of agreement with the false demon personalities, point by point. He must come to loathe the schizophrenic personality, and fall out of agreement with it. The Lord recalled to my memory Amos 3:3 “How can two walk together except they be agreed”.

    The last two fingers to come apart were the middle fingers on each hand. The Lord showed that these fingers represent the core of the schizophrenic – Rejection and Rebellion.

    The control demon is called “Schizophrenia” or “Double-Mindedness”. The Bible says “A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways” (James 1:8).

    The phrase translated “two minds” comes from a compound Greek word literally meaning “two souls”.

    Schizophrenia ALWAYS begins with “rejection”.

    Schizophrenia can be demonically inherited. Notice I said “demonically”. By that I mean it is not in the blood system, not in the genes – it is in the demons!

    Now, one can have a rejection spirit and not be a schizophrenic.

    Rejection (shown on the left hand in the illustration) is the control demon in one of the personalities set up within the schizophrenic.

    The second personality set up by the demons is “rebellion”. (See the middle finger on the right hand in the illustration).

    The Lord showed me that I was to refer to the schizophrenic person as “Sarah One” and “Sarah Two” – the “Sarah One” being the real person, and the “Sarah Two” the schizophrenic personality which has two sides to it.

    The real person is neither of the “hands”. The “Real Self” is shown in the illustration between the arms, at the bottom. Jesus must start growing in the person, developing that personality, and making it what He wants it to be.

    This is why the schizophrenic DELIVERANCE requires time – sometimes several months or even a year, or longer. The DELIVERANCE must work in balance with the development of the “Real Self”. It cannot be rushed, for there is nothing for the person to fall back upon. If every demon in the schizophrenic person were suddenly cast out he would feel totally lost. Identity with the “Real Self”requires time. As the schizophrenic nature is knocked out, the true personality must come forth to replace it.

    He must be willing to fall out of agreement with the demons and to break old habit patterns.

    On the illustration you will see a swirl at the top between the two hands. This represents a “hurricane”. The schizophrenic person continually creates “storms” around himself.

    These times of storm cause the root of bitterness to form (see right hand) and to be driven deeper and deeper.

    Now, let us see what the other fingers on the left hand represent. The “ring finger” is designated Lust. The Lord showed me that this demon “weds” a person to the world for love. A companion spirit in this group is Fantasy Lust which may cause the person to imagine he is some great lover of the motion picture world or to fantasy sexual experiences, as a prelude to overt acts. The harlotry spirit in women may first manifest itself in dress and provocativeness.

    The little finger on the left hand represents insecurity and inferiority. This is yet another manifestation of rejection.

    The index finger on the left hand is “self-accusation”. This demon causes a person to turn against himself and tears down his sense of personal worth. In most cases we have found “self-accusation” coupled with a “compulsion to confess”.

    Now, let us move to the right hand in the illustration. The middle finger in the illustration is designated rebellion. As we have seen, rebellion identifies one of the false personalities set up by the demons.

    The ring finger on the right hand represents self-will. This demon “weds” a person to selfish desires. This opens the way for stubbornness, selfishness and unteachableness. Again, we see the compensation for rejection.

    The index finger is called accusation. It seeks to eliminate a concentration on self by calling attention to others. The accusation demon opens the door for companion spirits of judgmentalism.

    The little finger on the right hand is self-deception. Its companions are delusion, self seduction and pride. The spirit of delusion comes along and says “You are REALLY somebody”; “You are a spiritual giant”! or some other kind of giant.

    In one ministry case, the spirit of self-deception had convinced a thirteen year old girl that she was nineteen.

    Through the revelation the Lord showed how the thumbs represent the “Paranoid” phase of schizophrenia. On the rejection side are spirits of jealousy and envy. On the rebellion side are spirits of distrust, suspicion, fear and persecution. There is another demon in this later group and it is called “Confrontation with honesty at all cost.” The person acting under the influence of paranoid demons is quite insensitive as to how many wounds he causes, yet he is super-sensitive to every offense towards himself.

    The revelation portrayed in the fingers and thumbs has proved to be infallible, as judged by numerous ministries with schizophrenics. There is no flaw in it.

    It is apparent in most instances that the demons listed on the left hand are in some way associated with the triad of rejection-type spirits…rejection, fear of rejection and self-rejection.

    The listing of demons on the right hand include control and possessiveness. They are directly related to rebellion.

    Herein lies the problem with the schizophrenic. He is unable to forgive. He has an unforgiving spirit. The root of bitterness is kept alive and out of it comes resentment, hatred, anger, retaliation, violence and murder.

    How does the schizophrenic come out of this tangled mess? The three main areas to conquer are Rejection, Rebellion and the Root of Bitterness. As these areas are conquered the “house” (life) must be filled by the giving and receiving of love by submission to every valid authority and by forgiveness of all persons regardless of the circumstances. When these three areas are conquered, the other related spirits lose their strength. Determination is necessary. The person who can persistently say “I WILL BE DIFFERENT! I WILL NOT LET DEMONS RULE MY LIFE” will eventually see victory.

    Between the hands at the bottom of the illustration is a little, stick figure called “The Real Self”. As the DELIVERANCE takes place over a period of time, “The Real Self” must rise up (depicted by arrows) and part the false schizophrenic personalities by falling out of agreement with all of their influence and all that they represent. “The Real Self” must take on the nature of Jesus Himself. Spiritual exercises such as Bible study, prayer, fasting, praise and fellowship with other believers is essential to a successful DELIVERANCE. These spiritual exercises will also accelerate the DELIVERANCE process as the person’s life is filled with the positive things of Christ Jesus.

    It is hard work for both the schizophrenic patient and DELIVERANCE minister. I greatly admire schizophrenics who fight through to victory. I admire these victories above all other Deliverance’s. The Schizophrenic DELIVERANCE is the deepest, most involved and most determined DELIVERANCE that we have encountered. “

  369. just1ofhis says:

    How in the world did the body of Jesus Christ survive in the world for 2000 years without that revelation?

    Scripture tells us that the demons were all cast out with nothing more than a word from Jesus. You know who loves Ida Mae’s testimony…the demons. With this kind of testimony, gone is the faith that we are clean because of the Word in us. It is a constant battle. ONLY demons would be pleased with that.

  370. just1ofhis ,

    First off, I am 8 hours ahead, so i can’t reply always. second I start a new job today, which is a tremendous answer to prayer( i got it yesterday unexpectedly) so I may not be on here much in the coming days. Which brings me to my third point. I don’t have time to refute all the scriptures you posted in regard to demons. And we could go back and forth in that manner. Perhaps it would be easier if you could just pick any one and show how it relates directly to the topic.

    et alia,

    And I am still waiting for someone to explain the conundrum to me of salvation and demons, instead of people posting all these stories as red herrings.I’ll post it again:

    if saved people can’t have demons, then 1)why didn’t the Apostles or Jesus just get them saved if that would have taken care of demons, or 2)does that mean all demons must be dealt with before someone can be saved?

    Lastly, I would like to say that the man who delivered me was a BAPTIST minister-if anything he was not into weird manifestations. IT was something he occassionally did, and has done for years. He taught on the subject before the deliverance to a large group of people, and even gave handout booklets-for free, which probably cost considerable printing as they were plastic covered and bound. He came for 2 days, and never sold a single solitary thing. not one thing did he have for sale. On top of that, his advice for the future was to keep praising and seeking the Lord and avoid gross sin-no special prayers or any of that garbage. He also taught that Christians normally cannot get demonic attachments unless they continue in disobedience to God, but that many get saved with them, and they need to be dealt with. Again, he placed it forth in a calm, straightforward, un-manipulative way. In all of the deliverances(i stayed for all of them, as I was literally the last person in line) not once did he ever even raise his voice, nor put his hands on anyone in an unusual way, shove them or anything else. All that he did was biblical and sound-he backed absolutely everything up 100%.

    Yes, there are crazies out there, but that doesn’t mean there is not the legitimate. I think Satan does this purposely. He’s not an idiot, ya know. He is very cunning and clever. There is a lot of “Christian” witchcraft out there, but satan’s goal is to make you think that’s all any of it is.

  371. My work day was cut short because boss got in a car wreck. I will start full day tomorrow, it seems. Just wanted to say that I should not have said all the posts about deliverance stories were made as red herrings, but collectively, seemed to have that effect.

    I also want to say that I have two people in my family with bipolar, and both have physical element of course, but there is also a demonic thing that seems to be present. Both are Christians. With one, it seems fairly certain about demonic, because on a few of his episodes, he has expressed knowledge of things he could not have possibly known, along with other very heinous behaviors. And his attacks come on in a very systematic pattern. He starts feeling better, so much so that he begins to drift away from God and towards the world. And then it’s a downward slide towards darker and darker spiritual things. He has attempted suicide on multiple occassions, the last was very near fatal. In fact, it was miraculous he survived. It is heartbreaking to see someone you love so much go through this. Neither of them can survive without medication, but also they are 100 times more prone to episodes when they get away from God.

    It is complex and I don’t know how they will ever get full freedom, honestly. Neither one of them has even went to “deliverance” ministry. I will also note that neither of them believes Christians can have demons. Though I also believe their condition is mostly physical. The one I elaborated on had bipolar onset after doing multiple drugs and being institutionalized, during which he confessed to having a full on encounter in the hospital with the demonic realm. His story was terrifying, to say the least. He is now in ministry school/internship. Like I said, he doesn’t believe Christians can have demons.

    As far as people rolling around on the floor, etc. who “open themselves up to attack.” It is curious that you guys are saying Christians can’t have demons, yet these people are being bodily attacked or shaking, etc, with stuff that appears to be in their body. Like I said, it either is in their body, or it is attacking externally, or they are not Christians at all, which still doesn’t make sense to me, considering many of them then get out of these “cults” return to a “normal” Christian life. So, did they stop being Christians during these periods?

    If Christians can’t have demons, it raises more questions than gives answers, in my opinion.

  372. Craig says:

    Glad you’ve started a new job! Hopefully, today will prove less problematic (no car wrecks, etc…).

  373. thanks,
    you mean tomorrow though. remember I am 8 hours ahead :) Latvian time.

  374. Craig says:

    Sorry, tomorrow it is (been trying to catch up some reading/research).

    In the meantime, here’s food for thought:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-demon-possessed.html

    ADDED: 1 Cor 6:19 seems to be a strong verse in opposition to the possibility of Christians being demon possessed, as it implies Holy Spirit ‘possession’.

  375. /craig,

    thanks for the link. He is closer to saying what I am saying, though I disagree slightly with him pointing to “demonization” as saying oppressed and possessed are the same, or saying it means demons control someone. I don’t believe that. Nor does scripture support it! Like I said, demonization implies varying degrees. It’s like saying I am sleepy. Well, how sleepy? We have to go by the bible, and the bible uses the same word for all cases, even though there was legion and then there were just illnesses that were a demon Jesus rebuked. Same word is used: demonizai. I already stated that technically Christians can’t be “possessed” since they belong to God, but can be demonized.

    His solution is to come up with his own definition “severely oppressed” to explain behavior, but doesn’t Biblically back up why he chose this varying language. He’s trying to escape the issue through semantics, basically, and confirm what he believes-which is on what he was taught-.experience. That’s how I see it, anyways.

  376. whoever posted the Link from the pastor who was involved in toronto blessing, thanks! it was an awesome read. I have to minister with my wife at a church in just over a week that may or may not be caught up in that stuff, so please pray for me that God would use us however He sees fit, as His instrument.thanks.

  377. May I just say Craig…I am becoming rather fond of your regular crew here. I may not contribute often but I do read everything and have been very encouraged by the conversations.

    As for BJ, he is clearly making merchandise out of anyone with a Visa card or cheque book, as are countless others who are pursuing the ‘big dream’ they think God has a given them. I occasionally refer to these master marketing pyramid schemes as ‘Anthony Robbins on Christian crack’. No too often though. That would be mean-spirited.

    I notice the popular Ann Voskamp (she leans more towards the emergent mystical theological erotica side of heresy) has not only a book (1000 gifts), but a devotional book, an journal and what look like fancy ‘post-it-notes’…I guess so you can post notes to yourself of the 1,000 things you are grateful for? I personally am grateful for not having to write down 1000 things I am grateful for. But that’s just me. :-)

    Sadly, for all of Tim Keller’s popularity, I see the same mega-issues arising. His Redeemer church website currently looks like any emergent mega-church site should, and he charges for most of his sermons, not to mention his books, DVD’s etc. I only raise him as an example from the conservative camp as he seems to be heading down the same road, just driving in a different lane to BJ. I pray he changes direction as he is massively influential in up-until-recently-if-not-still orthodox circles. Plus, I am a closet D A Carson fan, and wonder how long these guys can remain Gospel Coalition buddies with Tim driving up the on-ramp onto the broad fast lane? Unless they are travelling together? :-(

    I raise this to illustrate that the problems in the church run deep and wide. The departure from biblical truth is very serious and not limited to BJ’s crowd, as I am sure most of you reading this already know. The falling away we are seeing seems to have invaded all denominations. I have no preference for any of them so am not just criticizing ‘difference’.

    A case in point…I have in my hand right now a document from a church that reads like a manual for a ‘purpose-driven emergent Pentecostal signs and wonders Catholic church’. No joke. What is it? A vision/mission/values/partnering covenant document that all new members have to agree to. “From what mega-church is this?” I hear you ask. Not mega. Just a local, suburban Baptist church here in Melbourne, Australia. And a few suburbs away, an Anglican church is doing essentially the same thing. It is such a heavy yoke…I have seen job descriptions and performance indicators for corporate CEO’s that are less demanding than this document, and more likely to be achieved.

  378. Craig says:

    Now only available in Google cache, Mike Bickle (IHOP) has a teaching on the convergence of all these streams (I printed out a copy a long while ago when it was still available online). Here’s a link from which to download the pdf:

    https://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&q=ihop%202010%20year%20of%20convergence&oq=&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.&bvm=bv.48705608,d.dmQ&fp=ca4b8af9184fcda3&biw=1536&bih=770&pf=p&pdl=300

    I like D.A. Carson as well.

  379. just1ofhis says:

    jeffreydaniel state, “if saved people can’t have demons, then 1)why didn’t the Apostles or Jesus just get them saved if that would have taken care of demons, or 2)does that mean all demons must be dealt with before someone can be saved?”

    I didn’t assume that you had read my post when you posted the question, my friend. That was why I responded how I did. One of the things I like least about the internet is the great capacity for misunderstanding, although that exists in all communication forms, I guess. God bless you in your new job.

    Jesus was being accused of casting out demons in the power of Beelzebub. One of his responses, bearing in mind that the context of the passage is deliverance, was:

    “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.” (Matt 12:29)

    Demons can address Jesus as the Son of God, and the definitely know who He is; but they cannot acknowledge Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh…that the Word of God has been made flesh. They are a part of the spirit of the anti-Christ in service to satan. They respond as he does. A person cannot be filled with that darkness and also have the light of the Holy God in him. They are in opposition to each other completely. The order to these things is laid out in scripture, and every incident of deliverance in scripture follows them. The demons are driven out, then the person receives the word of God. I didn’t create that order or pull it out of thin air. There is not a single incident in scripture that speaks to anything different. And if the Word of God remains in that person, they remain clean. To teach anything different is to undermine a person’s faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And I believe that most deliverance ministries do exactly that.

    Jesus laid it out as an either/or:

    “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt 6:22-23)

    “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will NEVER walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    The promise is that we will be filled with His light and never walk in the darkness.

    I am not saying that a saved believer cannot entertain demons, worship them, be deceived by them, etc. But if that person is saved, the Holy Spirit remains in them and will teach them their error and lead them to repentance. There is absolutely no need for a deliverance minister. The demons cannot get inside of them, if the Holy Spirit of God is there.

    As to your second question, the Bible teaches the pattern, not me. I choose to put my confidence in the Word of God over even my own experiences. I had experiences that I was certain were of God, wonderful and amazing experiences. The problem was they didn’t line up with the Word, and they were leading me into deception. The path back was repentance, not deliverance. It is a painful thing to understand that you have allowed yourself to be deceived. These are experiences that happened after I was “born-again”. What I can tell you for certain is that God never yielded His ground within me, and He did not hand me over to that sin. He corrected me, lovingly and patiently. I am the least of His children. Does He do less for anyone else?

  380. Craig,
    I find it interesting how they co-opted many phrases from the bible intended for Israel. I am not saying it definitively, but I think the restored Tabernacle of David is human flesh, and may mean Messianic Jews, or the church itself, as we are now the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, for which the tabernacle of Moses used to represent, etc.

    I do also find it funny that they are saying the church’s primary identity is a house of prayer, which conveniently, bares a part of their name IHOP. The insinuation, inteded or not, that if you want to be part of what Jesus is doing now, you need to be connected to the House of PRayer.

  381. just1ofhis says:

    I’ll give you more scripture:

    “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” (1 John 2:26-27)

    If the Holy Spirit remains in me, and I know that demons shudder even at the thought of Him; then how can an unclean spirit inhabit that same house? It is not a mixing. We remain in Jesus Christ by remaining in His Word. He protects us from all of these things.

    As to the experience of deliverance post salvation, I can only say that it does not line up with the Word of God. I’m not questioning that you, or anyone else, has had the experience; only that it cannot be backed up in scripture. I have a dear friend who has been through that process many times. She will go through some mental torment or physical illness, find people to pray for her, and receive deliverance, often with manifestations of various sorts. Then she will be okay for a while. Then something else will crop up. Around and around we go… How is that living a life that is set-free in the LORD? I try to give her scriptures that counter these things, but I think she enjoys the attention that all of this gets for her.

    Her first deliverance, btw, was by a group of Baptists. She claims that she was already a born-again believer. What that experience with the Baptists did, was provide grounds for her to join an NAR, hyper-charismatic church. It did not drive her with joy and tears into the Word of God.

    Once we have received the Spirit of the Holy God inside of us we are never alone and never, ever empty. We may be sad, hurting, sick, and even despair; but we are NEVER empty. And He comforts us in all of those things.

    Psalm 78 lays out a chronicle of sorts of God delivering the nation of Israel from Egypt. But, in spite of all his amazing signs and wonders, they fell into all sorts of things that were not of Him:

    “But they continued to sin against Him,
    rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
    They willfully put God to the test
    by demanding the food they craved.
    They spoke against God, saying, ‘Can
    God spread a table in the desert?
    When He struck the rock, water gushed out,
    and streams flowed abundantly.
    but can He also give us food?
    Can He supply meat for His people?
    When the LORD heard them, He was very angry;
    His fire broke out against Jacob,
    and His wrath rose against Israel,
    FOR THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR TRUST IN HIS DELIVERANCE.”

    (Psalm 78: 17-22)

    It is something to think about.

  382. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    IHOP takes its distorted “Tabernacle of David” teaching from George Warnock’s book Feast of Tabernacles, in which is proof-texted Acts 15:16-17. In proper Biblical context, the ‘tabernacle’ which had ‘fallen down’ was the Davidic dynasty/lineage fulfilled in Jesus. So, as the Jerusalem Council affirmed, in Jesus, Gentiles, not just Jews, would be saved; and, the Gentiles need not conform to circumcision, etc. But, Bickle uses this to justify his form of ‘worship’, quasi-replicating the makeshift ark of 1 Chr. 25:1-3.

    Of course, we must keep in mind the INTERNATIONAL in IHOP’s name. It’s more involved than what I care to get into at the moment (we’re far afield of the topic of this thread, anyway); but, someday I may write more on IHOP besides what I have previously.

  383. @jeffreydaniel – I mention the following as it may be useful information that relates to your own family. I am reluctant to even raise it as I am sure your family has heard every theory and suggestion under the sun. (So had ours!) Please take or leave the following information.

    I have personal experience of Bipolar disorder, in both myself and a close family member. Turns out 15 years on that I have ADHD (attention deficit disorder) and he has Asperger’s Syndrome (high-functioning form of autism). We believe that God in his extraordinary kindness called us out of our rebellion back to him, and subsequently we discovered accurate, life-changing information about our neurological ‘differences’. We now are bipolar symptom free. I take ADHD medication when I need ‘glasses’ for my brain which as a stay-at-home mum is not all of the time! Still quirky, still challenged by life, but at peace and very sane.

    Bipolar disorder is a common misdiagnosis for these neurological conditions, by the time the pressures of adult life catch up with us. Addiction is also common, and both conditions experience significant sensory overload, as well as unique cognitive and social challenges. (I have two young kids with both these disorders plus Tourette’s Syndrome (vocal/motor tics), so have become a bit of an armchair expert in recent years). I can provide more specific information or links if it is something you want to learn more about.

    Sorry Craig, I am officially off topic again. That’s the only problem I find with 200+ comment posts…they become more like a drop-in center than a theological discussion.

    For those who don’t know D A Carson, he has written some very significant and much needed books. My favourite however is the very personal, and easy to read ‘Basics for Believers’. A great gift to any new or struggling Christian. That and J C Ryle’s short booklet ‘The Cross of Christ’ ($0.99 on Amazon).

  384. Craig says:

    I don’t mind brief off-topic conversations, especially those which may offer help to another. The demon possession/oppression thing, while still technically off-topic is tangentially related, so I don’t mind that either.

  385. Sorry jeffreydaniel, I think I just gave you another story, which you didn’t want! I really should read the posts more carefully.

    My thoughts on Christians and demons? I read a lot about this last year when researching ‘deliverance ministries’. I prayed the ‘sinners prayer’ very sincerely at times in my life. I always believed in God, Jesus and about 90% of the Bible. I was an missionary kid and thought I was genuinely saved. Given my ‘conversion’ experience last year (something that had never truly happened before…full and powerful conviction of my sin…all of it, a period of intense Bible study and increased understanding, prayer and ongoing repentance as the Holy Spirit worked in me) I might be so bold as to say I was not yet saved until last year. I had sought it my whole life, but honestly it didn’t happen until last year.

    I suspect that many people believe they are saved, and are not yet so. They may be on that road, and may even believe they have arrived. Or they may be the seed growing amongst the thorns, being slowly choked. As hard as this is to ponder (I got quite a shock when I realized I may not have been truly saved), it is essential that we do consider it. If we are taught false doctrine, believe on a false Jesus and worship a re-imagined God then we are not saved. (For myself, I think I never truly ‘got’ Jesus, and when things in the Bible didn’t suit me I had a tendency to relegate them to not being relevant now. Therefore, I really didn’t know Jesus, and I had made up my own version of God in my head. But I did not know that). Is it possible that this situation might account for at least some of the demonic oppression we see in the Church?

  386. Bless you, brother Craig. You are most accommodating…a saint in fact. Too bad we aren’t Catholic and I’m not the Pope or I could canonize you. :-)

  387. just1ofhis says:

    “Bless you, brother Craig. You are most accommodating…a saint in fact. Too bad we aren’t Catholic and I’m not the Pope or I could canonize you. :-)

    okay, that made me laugh…thank you!

  388. @just1ofhis – may I anonymously quote your Bethel products statistics on my blog? It would save me doing the math. I knew there were a huge number of products, but not that bad. Even worse…have you listened to any of these ‘sermons’ or read the books? They are unrecognisable to me as Christianity. Perhaps my Baptist/Anglican (respectfully) fundamentalist roots are showing?

  389. just1ofhis says:

    “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of satan, to torment me.” (2 Cor 12:7)

    This “messenger of satan “sent to Paul which tormented him is “in the flesh”, not “in his spirit”. Did Jesus choose to fix it? No.

    “Three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:8-10)

    This was not an unclean spirit inside of Paul, but it was a messenger from the devil. And it was outside of his spirit in his flesh. It was not corrupting his heart. It isn’t always God’s will to fix everything, even though we would desperately like Him too. We are never wrong in asking. Paul asked 3 times…no, he pleaded three times.

    In the midst of persecutions as I was coming out of the Word of Faith garbage, my great aunt (who had no idea what I was going through) sent me a card with that scripture on it. His grace was sufficient for me. God is so wonderfully awesome!

  390. Craig says:

    I wanted to add a further comment about D.A. Carson. I prefer his more technical material, but the fact that he can effectively write more advanced material AND more layperson-friendly material is a plus. Not many can do this well. He’s also quite prolific (though not as much as Craig Keener who seems to put out voluminous material weekly!).

    Given an earlier comment by jeffreydaniel, I thought of the excellent book The God of the Gospel of John by Marianne Meye Thompson. She notes that John’s Gospel should be viewed theocentrically (God-centered), rather than strictly christocentrically (Christ-centered), for the theocentric reading actually makes the Gospel of John Christ-centered while simultaneously illustrating the Trinitarian equality of God the Father and God the Son (and Spirit, of course).

    From the Amazon listing:

    Thompson here offers the first comprehensive study of the concept of God in John’s Gospel. She shows that one must first grasp the importance of God to John before one can properly appreciate the Gospel’s Christology and overarching message. By arguing that John is rightly understood to be a “theocentric” work, Thompson challenges the prevailing theory that John is primarily concerned with Christology.

    Many unintentionally tend to view the Gospel of John from the perspective that the Father is God, while Jesus is simply the Son of Man (or the God-man), with the Son wholly subordinated to the Father. This is incorrect and leads to uncritically accepting teachings like Bill Johnson’s Christology/theology.

  391. Also Craig, as my just-before-I-head-to-bed reading, I checked out that IHOP document on the Convergence of Missions and Prayer. I don’t even know where to start, it is so disturbing. I have read MB’s stuff before in my research but found it so nauseating and clearly a cult that I had taken a break from it. Strangely, as I read the document I thought how pleased Alice Bailey would be with all of this busy work and frenzied prophecy. Nothing biblical in sight except some mangled, out-of-context verses. Dark, and futile. That is what it is.

  392. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    The important thing in that document is that it unites YWAM’s Loren Cunningham with the IHOP model AND notes how the ‘emergent’ stream has converged with these two. Constance Cumbey observed YEARS ago that many in leadership positions have hijacked Christianity. And it continues.

  393. I will conceed you make a good case about some things, but I want to address the specific scriptures you quote.

    In Mattew 12:29, (this may be the best scripture you gave in support of your point) Jesus main point is that one cannot cast out evil spirits using the power of evil. And that only God has the power strong enough to bind Satan, and the clear sense of “bind” is render him unable to defend the house. And one will have to ascertain exactly what He means by trying up the strongman. I guess your argument is that in a Christian the Holy Spirit becomes the strong man. I’d be interested to hear you build a case for that, but I will let it pass because it is a bit of a grey area, and I am apt to believe it anyways.
    Now, one could arguable say that the Holy Spirit can be tied up in a believer’s life because of disobedience. Especially since the meaning of the analogy is that the strong man has been rendered helpless. Remember, the Holy Spirit runs our life, etc. by permission and co-operation. And so, direct disobedience could be this very thing. If anything, I’d say this scripture may GIVE support for my argument.
    Matthew 6:22 is talking about what you keep your eyes on, specifically materialism and the things of the flesh, which is why it is sandwiched in between two scriptures about earthly wealth. Jesus is saying if you keep your eyes (or mind) on those things your whole body will follow after darkness. He’s reminding us to keep our eyes toward heaven and Him.

    In John 8:12, Jesus is pointing to the fact that HE is the great teacher and highest anointed one, that is, the messiah, compared to the Pharisees who were leading people into errant ways. The implication is about wisdom and understanding primarily, and the guarantee if we follow Him we shall not be in error or unbelief, nor overtaken by the evil darkness of this world, and ultimately into the darkness of eternal death. To say this is a passage to illustrate we would not have demons, would also seem to imply we won’t even have to battle through spiritual warfare, by extension. And if you don’t grant that, it’s at least a stretch to apply it directly to demonic deliverance considering the main subject of the context it is in.
    And, like you said, I think that passage illustrates that principle that “if that person is saved, the Holy Spirit remains in them and will teach them their error and lead them to repentance,” and add to that yes, if you keep your eyes on Jesus, etc. he may lead you to deliverance.

    I also want to address your comment ” teach anything different is to undermine a person’s faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And I believe that most deliverance ministries do exactly that.” Well, granted some deliverance ministry can do this, but so can some teachings on grace, sanctification, and a myriad of other Christian principles. And to your point about the pattern of scripture, I agree the normal way is drive out the demons and receive the word. But Jesus also indicates in one of the passages you mentioned that the demons can come back with 7 others looking to gain access, so don’t leave the house empty.Again, can the Holy spirit be “bound” in a believer’s life? Good question. Again, I am not saying Christians become possessed- look at what I had to say about the original Greek. I never use the word possessed because I think it leads to false understandings about what the Word says. And the argument you made about not needing a deliverance minister could also be made about a pastor or any other office, or maybe the whole body of Christ. (I don’t need anyone else, I’ve got the word and Spirit!) God put differing parts in the body for a reason. I am not saying we have to seek out a guru, for any saved person can cast out demons, but just like a good preacher, you are more likely to get sound teaching from him and quicker than from a lousy one.

    At the least, we can agree a lot of damage has been done in the body in the name of “deliverance ministry.”

  394. Fantastic, thanks for the recommendation. You reminded me that this week I had a pondering moment where I was struck by how much we make of Jesus’ death on the cross as showing how much he loved US, that he would die for US. Many people are going around telling unsaved people this. Or they talk about Jesus’ obedience to the Father, which is important but only part of the picture. Why was he obedient?

    The flash of light in my head was simply that Jesus’ death on the cross shows how much he LOVED his Father in heaven. Now, this to me is the illumination of Scripture that the Holy Spirit gives us. Not new…no doubt you know this, I certainly did intellectually. But every now and again the truth hits me powerfully. This was one of those moments, and it set off a great discussion with my budding theologians (5 & 9) about being God focused, not us-focused. We also talked about the Holy Trinity and what their love for each other is like. Deep stuff. Love it!

    Talk about shifting the focus from us to the Almighty God! Who needs bizarre extra-biblical revelation when we can rejoice in the Holy Spirit inspired clarity given to help us understanding God’s Word? Some of this stuff I never ever understood until recently. Reading a couple of wonderful books on the Trinity helped too.

  395. just1ofhis says:

    In the video above, Bill Johnson teaches the exact opposite of what Paul was teaching. He does this by pulling Paul’s words out of context and twisting them to his own desire.

    He also states at the end that Jesus Christ was “born again” at his resurrection. I know you have written about this, Craig.

    That is a different “jesus”. The folks who persist in following this man will follow him straight to hell. That is in answer to a question IWTT asked some time ago.

    Bill Johnson teaches rebellion against the Word of God. It is the very Words of God that testify against him.

  396. Yes, true. Sorry, I was just overwhelmed by the bizarre IHOP drivel. I realise that was the point of you posting it. Is it just me or does the ‘Antioch Hour’ remind you of the approaching ‘planetary pentecost’ predicted by the new age camp? All these people praying, meditating etc…sounds like the goal it to ensure as many people as possible have their thinking brains switched off at the one time, in the not too distant future. The emergents and Catholics are an essential part of this convergence as they have their own version in mystical/contemplative practices and missional slavery just like Alice Bailey predicted.

  397. just1ofhis says:

    “In Mattew 12:29, (this may be the best scripture you gave in support of your point) Jesus main point is that one cannot cast out evil spirits using the power of evil. And that only God has the power strong enough to bind Satan, and the clear sense of “bind” is render him unable to defend the house.”

    On the contrary, Jesus said that when the day came that satan cast out satan, his kingdom would no longer be able to stand and his end will have come.

  398. I agree, that may account for some of the oppression in the church. I had a radical conversion in 2001 and I have no doubt it was real. In fact, in numerous times that I have fallen back into the world, God brought me back to what He revealed to me then. Specifically, the fact that Jesus was true- everything the bible has to say about Him. I had that “revelation” that Peter had which did not come by flesh and bone. And it was sin in my life that led me back into darkness several times. I remember one day when I was back in sin and had been drinking for 3 days straight. I felt the inner voice of God, in my drunken stupor speak to me, “this is not the life I have for you.” And though I had not even thought about God in a while, I knew exactly who it was. I broke down in sobbing on my kitchen floor.

    3 years ago, i was deeply and soundly “converted” again, though I do believe I had been “saved” at the time. it was just deep repentance and a true call to understand and follow the Gospel no matter what it cost. I had went back into sin for a very brief time, and I lost just about everything because of bitterness in my heart, etc. My church was a part of the IHOP movement at the time. I came crawling back to Jesus on my knees. It was then I made the decision to follow Jesus and never trust man or any movement, etc. though I am not bitter-Jesus healed me of any and all bitterness during this season. Anyways, it eventuated in God giving me the desires of my heart (though I didn’t imagine how that would be) when I picked up my cross, denied myself and truly began to follow- and now I am a missionary across the seas from my home, which I never would have imagined. It’s funny, I don’t doubt I was saved before, but it is much deeper now and I understand it fuller. I think God was and still is answering prayers I been praying since 2001. But that’s the life with CHrist-He is faithful even when we are not, and He honored those weak and sincere prayers I made in 2001, though I went through a lot of garbage to get where I am today. Sometimes it seems like it was part of his plan all along, but all I can say is that all things DO work together for our good.

    Jesus is truly awesome.