Bill Johnson Claims You Can Think and Live from the Right Hand of God

In the SAME measure that the Father put Jesus at His right hand, in the same measure He has put YOU at His right hand, because YOU are IN Christ…. 

-         Bill Johnson, “Thinking from the Throne” podcast, June 9, 20131

It could not have been planned this way.  In the previous CrossWise article, the attempt was made to synthesize Bill Johnson’s “eternally God” statements with his other teachings that indicate a temporally non-divine Jesus, conjecturing that Johnson may have in mind John 3:13, Ephesians 2:6 / Colossians 3:1-3 as a way to account for Jesus living in two realms simultaneously, with the idea that Christians can do the same, as in the manifest sons of God (MSoG) doctrine.  Amazingly, the very day the finishing touches were put on the article and it was published (June 9, 2013), Bill Johnson preached a sermon using these very Scriptures towards that very end!  With this podcast as evidence, it is apparent that Johnson DOES, in fact, share essentially the same MSoG view as Bill Britton, as illustrated in the quote used in the last article.

Throughout this current article this podcast/sermon titled “Thinking from the Throne” will be referenced, but instead of assigning footnotes next to each quote, time markers will be placed just before and after the quotes from the transcript.  ALL CAPS indicates Johnson stressing particular words, all other emphasis added: 

[0:24]…I want to pick up where we kind of left off here a few weeks ago…the series that I started about the Throne life, the ascended lifestyle

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” [John 3:13].  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 heavenly realms in His relationship with God.  The point being, that is an invitation for every believer…[1:52] 

Did you catch that?  Johnson is claiming that John 3:13 means that Jesus “ascended” while He was yet still on earth during the Incarnation, before His literal, physical ascension (Acts 1:9-11) – this “lifestyle of intimacy with the Father” providing the means by which He “had ascended into heavenly realms with God”.  Moreover, this is also “an invitation for every believer” to do the same – that is, to attain the “ascended lifestyle”, or “Throne life” while yet here on earth.

While John 3:13 is a somewhat difficult Scripture to interpret, not one credible exegesis is such that Jesus had mystically “ascended” while still on the earth, before His literal Ascension.  But Johnson’s view is not inconsistent with Gnostic redeemer myths of the 2nd century (and perhaps late 1st century), in which Jesus ascends and descends as a pattern for others to follow towards self-salvation (sometimes with Christ distinct from Jesus as the means by which to “ascend”).2  However, as I’ve stated elsewhere, my opinion is that the Gospel of John was actually written in part as a polemic against this sort of proto-Gnosticism of the late 1st century (see introduction here), though some 2nd century Gnostics interpreted John’s Gospel as a Gnostic text.  Wayne Meeks interacts with the very liberal Rudolf Bultmann’s work in this regard [“Johannine” = writings attributed to the Apostle John]:

…To be sure, [Bultmann’s] observation that the closest extant analogies to the Johannine myth [ED: descending/ascending motif] are to be found in the literature of the gnostic movements stands firm and had been reinforced by more recent discoveries.  The problem comes in assessing the very important differences between the typical gnostic myths and that of John, and therefore the direction of the relationship between the two patterns.  Perhaps the most important difference, which Bultmann did not fail to notice, is the fact that in gnostic myths most comparable with the Johannine pattern the redeemer’s descent and ascent parallel the fate and hope of the human essence (soul, pneuma [ED: spirit], seed, or the like), while in the Fourth Gospel there is no such analogia entis [ED: analogy of being/imitation] between redeemer and redeemed3

In other words, in these Gnostic writings the Redeemer Himself first needed redeeming, and the pattern He set for self-redemption was a model for all (or a select few).  Is this what Bill Johnson means? 

As per Johnson, it seems that the ultimate goal of ‘experiencing God’s presence’, “intimacy with the Father”, “Biblical meditation”, or ‘soaking in His presence’ is to “ascend”, thereby having a fully “renewed mind”, as in the sense of attaining full manifest sons of God (MSoG) status.  MSoG doctrine is not inconsistent with the “Ascended Master” teaching in New Age / New Spirituality.

New Agers call this process leading up to ascension “expanding your (Christ) consciousness”, which is done by “experiencing God” through centering prayer, or contemplative prayer – the same term used by many within Christendom.  This is not incongruent with the 2nd century Gnostic idea of receiving ‘special knowledge’ (gnosis), or mystical insight as a means of self-salvation; in fact, this is an updating of this Gnostic doctrine.  Here’s one New Ager describing such an approach to this “higher consciousness”:

What would it feel like to be embraced by God? What would it feel like to become aware of how deeply you are loved by your Divine Source? It is possible to experience this! You can have a direct personal experience to feel the love your Creator has for you and to grow into the body experience of feeling the love you crave. 

Spirit has the capacity to relate to us in any way we need and want. Relating to God as an energy force or love is certainly one approach to higher consciousness. Love, however, is best experienced in personal relationships–for example you cannot get love from a thing, only another person. We can know God through our hearts simply by wanting a personal relationship. This opens the portal for Spirit to fill us with the love and acceptance we need that we did not get as children or in our adult relationships.4

Once one reaches the full manifestation of a son of God, aka Master, through “higher consciousness” (by a “lifestyle of intimacy with the Father”?), one can, like the title of this podcast, ‘think from the Throne of God’.  Or, as New Age / New Spirituality teacher Alice Bailey states, comparing the manifested son (Master) to the yet-to-ascend disciple, 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’….”5  Much like Johnson has stated on Facebook:

The most consistent way to display the kingdom of God is through the renewed mind [ascended lifestyle, aka resurrection life]. 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]

Or, as Bailey states elsewhere of the goal of the disciple: 

…We are also preparing for expansions of consciousness which will enable us to live in two realms at oncethe life which must be lived on earth and the life which we can live in the kingdom of God6

Am I jumping to conclusions?  Please read on.

The Resurrected, Ascended, and Glorified Jesus as Model for Earthly ‘Believer’

Continuing where we left off above in the podcast:

[1:52]…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: Ephesians 2:6].  So, picture this: Jesus was raised from the dead by the Spirit of Resurrection.  When 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….[2:22]

Here Johnson elaborates on his point about the believer’s goal of appropriating the very thing he claims Jesus did in John 3:13 – by faith, “ascending” via a “lifestyle of intimacy with the Father”, with Johnson using Ephesians 2:6 as his proof-text (see previous article for a proper interpretation of this verse).  Does he mean that the ‘believer’ can be “resurrected, ascended, and glorified” and yet be here on the earth? 

In another audio from 2010, Johnson stated the following.   Note his claim of Jesus “re-inheriting everything” as a man, not God, yet Johnson also makes the usual “eternally God” assertion with it.  One must wonder what it is Jesus “forfeited” in order to “re-inherit” it, in the selection below.  But more important for now, notice the stammering in the middle, in which he makes the disclaimer that Jesus “is not an ascended being” as He “didn’t work His way up into divinity”:

The Father so honored Him for His perfect obedience that He now re-inherited everything; but, now not as GodDon’t misunderstand me, Jesus is not an ascended being; He’s not, uh, He didn’t work His way up into divinity.  He is eternally God, eternally God.  But, when He re-inherited everything, He inherited it as a man without sin.  Why?  Because He became our elder brother.  He became the one who inherited everything.  Why?  So, that you and I could be positioned to inherit everything with Him.  He forfeited all so that He could re-inherit in a way that would include us.7

Contrary to Johnson’s disclaimer (again, what was included in the “all” that was “forfeited” and subsequently “re-inherited”?),8 it appears he may be readapting Bailey’s Theosophic teaching that Jesus’ five major events – Birth, Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, and Resurrection / Ascension (the latter two grouped as one) – were both actually and symbolically achieved by Jesus in order to provide a symbolic pattern for others.  In other words, according to this esoteric doctrine, Jesus provided an actual concrete pattern, both literal and symbolic, for the ‘believer’ to symbolically do the same.  As further evidence to support that Johnson may be readapting Bailey’s model, he has elsewhere made the explicit claim that “[m]ost all of the experiences of Jesus recorded in Scripture were prophetic examples of the realms in God that are made available to the believer”, with the context specifically referring to the Mount of Transfiguration as one example.9 

Bailey’s fivefold pattern is explained in her 1937 book From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus, and it would be instructive to quote a somewhat lengthy section to illustrate (note that “myth” is defined earlier here as “a fact which can be proven”):

…Through self-initiated experiment we can prove their validity; through experience we can establish them as governing forces in our lives; and through their expression we can demonstrate their truth to others.  This is the theme of this book, dealing as it does with the facts of the Gospel story, that fivefold sequential myth which teaches us the revelation of divinity in the Person of Jesus Christ, and which remains eternally truth, in the cosmic sense, in the historical sense, and in its practical application to the individual.  This myth divides itself into five great episodes: 

  1.       The Birth at Bethlehem.
  2.       The Baptism in Jordan.
  3.       The Transfiguration on Mount Carmel.
  4.       The Crucifixion on Mount Golgotha.
  5.       The Resurrection and Ascension.

 Their significance for us and their reinterpretation in modern terms is our task.10

The “Gospel” here is reinterpreted as self-salvation through self-deification by following the five steps above symbolically rather than actually.  Understand that the “revelation of divinity in the Person of Jesus Christ” is referring to a gradual deification, not that the earthly Jesus was divine per se.  In occult teachings such as Theosophy, and some of the Gnostic teachings of the 2nd century (and today), the man Jesus of Nazareth had a divine spark/seed of ‘Christ’ within Him, like all of mankind (occultists pervert Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” to this end), which was awakened at “the Virgin Birth” and continued to grow until He fully ‘died to his lower, material self’ at the “Crucifixion”, ridding Himself of the outer material body, after which He ascended.  It took the “Christ spirit” – which was separate and distinct from the man Jesus – at Baptism for Jesus to actualize the 2nd through 5th initiations (sound familiar?).

So, is this what Johnson has in mind with his teachings?  Keep reading.

In a follow-up sermon to the June 9th podcast, titled “Waiting Patiently in Hope” (June 23, 2013),11 Bill Johnson expounds a bit on the basic themes in his “Thinking from the Throne”.  More importantly, he states the following which fits well into the Alice Bailey model above:

…The death of Christ is also the death of your old nature.  The resurrection of Christ is actually your resurrection.  His ascension is actually your legal access to heavenly realms.  And His glorification is the position of the New Testament believer coming into the glory of the Lord.  We LIVE in this atmosphere of presence…[3:15 – 3:39]

As we well know, the sin nature never leaves us in this life [Romans 7:14-25], but we must live by the Spirit rather than the sinful nature [Romans 8:4] by submitting to the Spirit instead of our sin nature [Galatians 5:16-26].   It is not until the resurrection of the saints that the sin nature leaves the saint – a yet future, one-time event for all Christians collectively, including those who’ve perished in centuries past, at the “last trumpet”, at which point we receive our non-flesh-and-blood bodies [1 Corinthians 15:50-54].

However, in the Alice Bailey Theosophic teachings, and other occult/esoteric doctrines, mankind has two natures – one human (lower self,  ego) and one inherent divine nature (divine spark/seed or “Christ within”, higher self).  According to Bailey’s five steps above, “the Crucifixion” (aka “The Great Renunciation”) is the point at which the “lower self” (“old nature” in Johnson’s quote above?) in the disciple has been completely overcome, overtaken by the now fully actualized divine nature, the culmination of the process of “dying to self”.  Following this death of the lower self (“old nature”?), which renders the disciple a spirit being, having shed the outer material body (known as the “not self”), is the resurrection/ascension.  This is the final stage, and the disciple is now a fully manifested son of God, usually known as “Ascended Master”. 

These steps do not have to be fulfilled in one lifetime, for at death the spirit re-ascends to the heavenlies to await reincarnation into another body, in order to continue the process.  The spirit continues reincarnating ad infinitum until completion of the five steps, i.e. the attainment of Ascended Master, or fully manifested son of God.   The individual is now on par with the occult/Theosophic “Master Jesus” who had provided the pattern for this “Age of Pisces”.

Those who know anything about the manifest sons of God (MSoG) teaching know that “coming into the glory of the Lord”, as Johnson uses it above, is overt MSoG language, referring to a fully glorified ‘believer’ on earth.  And MSoG is not incongruent with Bailey’s teaching on becoming a “Master”, as laid out in the five steps above.

So, in the immediately preceding quote is Johnson claiming that Jesus’ death was the death of His “old nature”, i.e., His lower, human nature?  Did Jesus (re)actualize His divinity at this point because He had previously “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”12 at the Incarnation – perhaps itself a  “reinterpretation in modern terms” of Alice Bailey’s five step process above?  Was Jesus’ divinity a part of, or the entirety of what was “forfeited” and subsequently “re-inherited” in the quote from 2010 above? Note also that Bill Johnson has claimed that Jesus was ‘born again’, specifying that this occurred at His Resurrection, which, again, is not inconsistent with the Theosophic model above.  This statement was made on Facebook in mid-February, 2011 in response to a question from Kevin Moore:

Jesus was sinless for sure. The spotless lamb. BUT He BECAME SIN. He needed to be raised from the dead. Acts 13 calls Him “the first born from the dead.” He did not raise Himself. The Father through the Spirit raised Him. He was born… of Mary. That’s one. He was raised from the dead. That’s two. “Again.” It’s not a statement creating a new doctrine. It’s to make people think, which gets scary for some. Primarily it’s to help us appreciate the fact that Jesus had become sin and was in need of the resurrection as much as we are in need of being born again.    

No credible Christian pastor would even joke about such a thing as Jesus being ‘born again’.  And Jesus did not literally ‘become sin’.  He was our sin-offering, providing Atonement as the Redeemer of mankind (only to those who accept His atoning sacrifice, of course).  However, I do agree on one thing: it’s “not…a new doctrine”, as the basic thrust of this teaching goes all the way back to 2nd century Gnostic redeemer myths, as noted earlier.  But, again, is this part of a reinterpretation of Bailey’s five step process?  (Note also that, contrary to Johnson, the entire Trinity raised Jesus from the dead: Jesus Himself – John 2:19-22/10:17-18; the Holy Spirit – Romans 1:4/8:11; the Father – Acts 5:29-31/Galatians 1:1/Ephesians 1:17-20; God – Acts 2:24/Romans 4:24.) 

Going back to Johnson’s “Thinking from the Throne”, we observe him continuing in his claim that ‘believers’ need to understand that they are now resurrected/ascended – at least potentially – as per his distortion of the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:6, thereby placing the not yet into already (see previous article for explanation of already but not yet).  ‘Believers’ just have to recognize this ‘fact’ and then apprehend it:

[2:23]…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. 

…[W]hat 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…The Lord actually invites us into encounter where we start thinking and seeing according to the Biblical reality.[3:51]

Note that “Biblical Meditations” refers to seeking “intimacy with the Father” and filling one’s mind with ‘new truths/revelations’, i.e., new ways of understanding Scripture (John 3:13; Eph 2:6) in this case.

Johnson proof-texts Colossians 3:1-3, using it in much the same manner as above, with the understanding that ‘believers’ are now resurrected/ascended (the 5th step?), because they have already died (the 4th step?):

[18:04]…If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God; set your MIND on things above not on things on earth.  Why?  Because you died.  Your life is HIDDEN in Christ…Because you’re dead, set your mind on where your life is hidden, which is above, it’s in Christ.  Everything about your life is hidden in this realm…Everywhere else is a field trip…That’s where you live.  That’s where you dwell; that is home…[19:06]

Johnson reiterates his distorted interpretation of Colossians 3:1-3 later in the podcast:

[22:23]…It’s a lifestyle, it is a place from which to LIVE…FROM the abiding presence of the resurrected Christ.  I’m not talking about the theology of the resurrected presence, I mean the encounter…with the almighty God – living from that place changes everything…The THRONE life, the ASCENDED life is the invitation for every believer…[22:58]

As Bill Fawcett, over on the Facebook page Bethel Church and Christianity (on June 21, 2013), so astutely observed of Johnson’s podcast, “the main doctrinal thrust of the message is that we live in a spiritual universe, and the present world is just an illusion.”  This particular theme is an important point made in a previous CrossWise article (see Johnson’s Word of Faith Roots Showing section here).   According to some occult doctrine, the physical world in which we live is all illusory (a “field trip”, to use Johnson’s words), while the spiritual world is reality.

This idea comes originally from the Dualism of second century Gnosticism (derived in part from Platonism), though this is also prevalent in the Eastern religions – a false dichotomy in which all matter is evil, while all spirit is good.  New Age / New Spirituality doctrine is largely taken from Theosophy and other metaphysical cults (all of which adopt doctrines from Eastern religions). The following quotes are from Madame H. P. Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy (1875), in which she borrows the term maya from Buddhism, meaning “illusion”, in her description of this same teaching:

…The reader must bear in mind that, according to our teaching which regards this phenomenal Universe as a great Illusion, the nearer a body is to the UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE, the more it approaches reality, as being removed the farther from this world of Maya13 [All capitalization and italics in original; bold added for emphasis.]

…When the spiritual entity breaks loose for ever from every particle of matter, then only it enters upon the eternal and unchangeable Nirvana. He exists in spirit, in nothing; as a form, a shape, a semblance, he is completely annihilated, and thus will die no more, for spirit alone is no Maya, but the only REALITY in an illusionary universe of ever-passing forms.14 [All spelling, capitalization, and italics in original; bold added for emphasis.]

But if the goal for the “spiritual entity” is to rid itself of matter (as a means of self-salvation towards self-deification) and die no more, then how would this apply to what Johnson is teaching above?  Bailey provides the answer:

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.15 

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’.16

A Master, or manifest son of God, can choose to come back to earth, without or with an ‘earth body’, thereby living in “two realms at once”.17  This is not inconsistent with Johnson who claims that this “ascended lifestyle” provides the ability to live “at the right hand of the Father”, while simultaneously living on earth:

[32:48]…In the SAME measure that the Father put Jesus at His right hand, in the same measure He has put YOU at His right hand, because YOU are IN Christ…The renewed mind considers reality from what the Lamb has accomplished…This is the normal life for the believer. [33:59]

While we will one day be raised with Christ, it’s blasphemy to claim we’ll actually be on the Throne, thinking and living “FROM the abiding presence of the resurrected Christ”, at the Father’s right hand, the place where Jesus Christ now sits.

In Johnson’s message here, and his other works, much is made of the “renewed mind”, but this is effected by “intimacy with the Father”, ‘soaking in God’s presence’, “Biblical meditation”, etc.  These ‘encounters with God’ allow the ‘believer’ to advance in his/her spiritual walk – just like the gnosis of the 2nd century:

[34:00]…And I feel like the Lord, even right now, is inviting us…is drawing us into encounters that adjust our perspective…the person who has encountered God sees from His perspective, sees through His eyes – the invitation every believer has to come up higher…[34:43]

Bill Johnson claims that each ‘believer’ can come up so high as to obtain the FULLNESS of God.  He does this by first quoting Colossians 2:9 noting that “In Him [Jesus] dwells all the fullness of God bodily” [07:28 – 09:13].  Then Johnson makes the illogical leap that in the ‘believer’, as part of the Church body, dwells the fullness of God (since Jesus is the “Head” and we are the “body”):

[09:15]…I want you to take note that it says that the FULLNESS dwells in Him BODILY – not just in His head…[09:32] 

[10:45]…the FULLNESS of God that dwelleth in JESUS in bodily form, now dwells in the CHURCH in bodily form…[10:55]

Johnson asserts that the Lord’s Prayer is an apostolic prayer in the sense that since the ‘believer’s’ home is in heaven, then earth is “another territory” as compared to heaven.  That is, heaven is “home base”.  This illustrates that the ‘believer’ needs to understand, if they don’t already, that s/he really IS living in heaven, with the goal to bring him/herself here to “‘reason’ from heaven to earth”, or to think “FROM the abiding presence of the resurrected Christ” as a fully manifested son of God “at His right hand”, with the ability to function in both the heavenly (spiritual, eternal) realm and the earthly realm:

[23:16]…because the basic definition of the word “apostle” is to go to another territory and recreate the culture there that you lived in at your home base…so it’s a prayer to recreate on earth a culture that exists in heaven…[23:34]

Prior to this, Johnson was explaining how the ‘believer’ should work towards living in and from heaven, not being deterred by naysayers: 

[19:22]…This is another way of saying “seek first the Kingdom of God and these things will be added to you.”  It’s amazing – we celebrate the person who seeks first the Kingdom, but often criticize the one to whom all things have been added…it becomes offensive…“Submit yourself under the mighty hand of God that He might exalt you at the proper time.”  So we celebrate the person who humbles himself under the mighty hand of God, but criticize the one He exalts.  What it does is it hurts our own future promotion, because if I cannot celebrate the breakthrough of another, I cannot be trusted with my own…[20:31] 

The message here is that the ‘believer’ must not “criticize”, but instead recognize as special those who’ve already reached their “breakthrough” (a common occult term for spiritual advancement), their “ascension”, so that the ‘believer’ can be positioned to attain his/her own “ascension” (“the one He exalts”, “the one to whom all things have been added”).  The subtle implication is that Johnson himself is in this esteemed category as one so exalted, i.e. “ascended”, an “apostle” who is ‘bringing heaven to earth’.  This point is made clearer near the very end of this sermon, as he reiterates this point using Ephesians 4:11 about apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers [35:27], until he gets to this climax, using false humility: 

[38:09]…I’ll not do this one for me, I will do this to protect others and to empower so that a CLEAR manifestation of this resurrected Christ is seen worldwide…[38:19]

Obviously, this means that there will be individuals who are exhibiting all the traits of the glorified Christ on a worldwide scale (such as Bill Johnson currently?).  In fact, in his popular book When Heaven Invades Earth Johnson makes the explicit claim that the glorified Jesus Christ of Revelation 1:14-15 IS the model for the earthly ‘believer’!18  In addition, as Alice Bailey has done (and other occultists), Johnson proof-texts “As He is, so are we in the world” from 1 John 4:17 to back up his assertion.19

[28:16]…The Lord is longing to live on earth again THROUGH yielded people…[28:29]              

[13:49]… So what is He looking for?  He is looking for a people that will cooperate with the FULLNESS of God’s presence, operating and manifesting THROUGH them so that this world actually gets a FULL and ACCURATE taste of who Jesus is.  It’s not us; it’s Him.  But He dwells IN us in FULLNESS in bodily form…[14:12]

Let’s be clear, Jesus Christ is not coming to “live on earth again THROUGH yielded people”.  Jesus will be returning bodily in the same manner in which He left (Acts 1:9-11).  But Johnson goes even further than this, expounding on the above.  In typical Latter Rain fashion, he is looking for full unity, by proof-texting Ephesians 4:13:

[36:30]…until we all come to unity of faith and the KNOWLEDGE of the SON of God.  Too many people think they know that don’t know.  So the knowledge of the Son of God, to A perfect man.  Look at the description.  Millions and millions of body members come to A – singular – perfect mana full-on revelation of the Person of Jesus, what He is like, how He is.  To A perfect man, to the measure and stature – equal measure to the fullness of Christ…[37:34]

Equivalent to Christ Himself, these fully manifested sons of God, as collectively ONE perfect man, in which Christ is “on earth again THROUGH [these] yielded people”.  This sounds eerily close to the New Age / New Spirituality doctrine that “the Christ” – in actuality the antichrist (or antichrist spirit) – will manifest himself through many different people at one time:

Eventually, there will appear the Church Universal, and its definite outlines will appear towards the close of this [20th] century…This Church will be nurtured into activity by the Christ [ED: Satan/antichrist] and His disciples when the outpouring of the Christ principle, the true second Coming, has been accomplished.20 

The Christ, when He comes into incarnation, will most likely project himself into many parts and be where he wants to be. This is called the Law of Divisibility, a term used in Agni Yoga that means a highly developed spirit—one who is able to contact, simultaneously, various people in various locations. For example, a Master can be seen in various groups at the same time. He can even be in different planes serving and teaching on different levels to meet various needs of the people. He can do different jobs in different places at one time.21

Hyper-charismatic Bob Jones was recently at a conference hosted by Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding, CA, and stated something not unlike the above: “Recently, the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘I’m coming IN my people. Christ in you, the hope of glory. I’m comin’ IN my people.’”22  As already noted earlier, occultists pervert the “Christ in you, the hope of glory” of Colossians 1:27, and MSoG adherents pervert it in a very similar manner.

Conclusion

Bill Johnson is clearly teaching the manifest sons of God doctrine (MSoG).  Individuals attain this MSoG status of “ascended lifestyle” (aka “Throne life”) through “intimacy with the Father”, using methods akin to the centering prayer and contemplative prayer of Eastern religions and the New Age / New Spirituality (as well as 2nd century Gnosticism).  This will ultimately result in the ability to both live and think from the Throne of God, while yet remaining on earth (with a “renewed mind”).  Such a ‘believer’ can ‘think from the Throne’ as they are literally – in a statement of utmost blasphemy – at the right hand of God, as per Johnson.  This version of MSoG has a parallel with occult doctrine, with the fully manifested son / Ascended Master possessing the ability to live in both the heavenly and earthly realms simultaneously.

It seems quite possible that the Neo-Gnosticism of Bill Johnson (and others of his ilk) is a slight variation of the five-fold Bailey model illustrated above.  In this revised model Jesus is portrayed as God pre-incarnate (instead of a reincarnated man), yet “He emptied Himself of divinity and became man” so that He could gradually re-actualize His divinity and thus become the pattern for others towards their own self-deification – similar to the Gnostic redeemer myths of the 2nd century.

 
   1 Bill Johnson “Thinking from the Throne” podcast, June 9, 2013. <http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/thinking-from-the-throne>
   2 See Kurt Rudolph, trans. R McLachlan Wilson Gnosis: The Nature & History of Gnosticism, © 1977 Koehler & Amelang; translation (from German) of second, revised and expanded version © 1984 T&T Clark Ltd, Edinburgh; 1987 (1st paperback), HarperCollins, New York, NY, pp 121-134, 338-340.  Also “The Gospel of Philip” in Wilhelm Schneemelcher, transl. R. McL. Wilson New Testament Apocrypha: Volume One: Gospels and Related Writings. © J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tubingen, 1990; English Translation © James Clarke & Co. Ltd, 1991 (Rev. ed.), Westminster John Knox, Louisville, KY: The chrism [anointing] is superior to baptism.  For from the chrism we were called ‘Christians’, not from the baptism.  Christ also was (so) called because of the anointing… [p 200].  Cf. G. L. Borchert “Gnosticism” in Walter A. Elwel, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 1984 (10th pr. 1994), Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, p 446.
   3 Wayne A. Meeks “The Man from Heaven in Johannine Sectarianism” Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 91, No. 1 (Mar, 1972), p 44.  Italics in original; emphasis added.
   4 Donna D’Ingillo, “Experiencing God” Center for Christ Consciousness: Open your Heart, Expand your Mind, Unite with God website, par 1, 2 <http://www.ctrforchristcon.org/experiencinggod.asp>, as accessed 07/08/13
   5 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.
   6 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 51.  Emphasis added.
   7 Bill Johnson. Audio clip taken from 2010 Australian “When Heaven Invades Earth” Tour as accessed from Plantagenet Family Church, Mount Barker, Western Australia, 03/21/11 from the following url: <http://pfchurch.org.au/?p=357>, which now is redirected to a different page altogether.  Link recovered on Internet Archive / The Wayback Machine; however, audio clip is unavailable: <http://web.archive.org/web/20101106155256/http://pfchurch.org.au/?p=357>.  Originally transcribed by CrossWise on 3/21/11 or shortly thereafter; last access date to original web link unknown but likely Fall, 2011.  All emphasis added.
   A similar quote is available on YouTube by “whizzpopping” Bill Johnson – Bringing Heaven to Earth (Part 2 of 2). Aug 20, 2010 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxVdxzJ0vN4> 3:10 – 4:30: “He forfeited everything because He owned everything; literally all that exists was His. And, He gave it all up to become a man; and, then He re-inherited everything as a man so that you and I would have an inheritance – the absolute mercy of God.  So, now He stands after His triumphant Resurrection. The defeat of the power of death, hell and the grave – all that stuff was defeated, the power of sin. And, He stands before humanity and He says, ‘I got the keys back.  That which was lost in the Garden, I’ve got it back. Now, let’s get back to plan A.’  And, he makes this profound statement; he says, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”  Jesus did not make that declaration as God.  Now, na – He’s eternally God; he’s not a created being, He didn’t ascend, ya know, to some position. He’s eternally God; but, He did not make that statement as God.  How do we know? Because He said, ‘All authority’s been GIVEN to me.’  There’s no one higher than God to give God authority.    When Jesus made that statement, He made the statement as OUR elder brother.”  CAPS from emphasis in original; bold added.  As accessed 07/12/13.  Once again, note the stammering in his disclaimer.
   8 In his book A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement [1988 (4th pr. 1991), Hendrickson, Peabody, MA] D.R. McConnell notes how E.W. Kenyon, the ‘grandfather’ of the Word of Faith movement, of which Johnson is a part, had made specific disclaimers yet proceeded to teach the very doctrine disclaimed!  McConnell states: The typical pattern in such instances is to disclaim any similarities with cultic teaching on a particular topic and then proceed to teach exactly that [p 45].  It appears Bill Johnson may be doing something similar.
   9 Bill Johnson Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence, 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL, p 200.  Emphasis added.  Here’s a bit more of the context: 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. While Johnson is not clear on just what constitutes the “new birth”, he does have a teaching which appears to promote the divine spark/seed concept, which is subsequently enlivened and grows by an external ‘word’.  This is detailed in the following CrossWise post: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/open-challenge-to-fans-and-critics-of-bill-johnsonbethel-church/.  In addition, his teaching on “the anointing”, aka the “Christ anointing” (see previous article) matches quite closely Bailey’s “Baptism in Jordan”.  Taken together, this accounts for steps 1 through 5 of the Bailey model, when we consider the totality of Johnson’s words in “Thinking from the Throne” and the remaining material referenced in this article, which include the Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and even glorification.
   10 Bailey Bethlehem to Calvary, p 9.   Emphasis added
   11 Bill Johnson “Waiting Patiently in Hope” podcast, June 23, 2013 <http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/waiting-patiently-in-hope>
   12 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.
   13 Helena P. Blavatsky The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, Vol. 1 – Cosmogenesis, 1999 (facsimile edition of 1888 original), Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, CA, pp 145-146
   14 Helena P. Blavatsky Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology: Vol 1 – Science. 1988 (unabridged from original 1877 first edition), Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, CA, p 290.  Noteworthy is the fact that Reality was the name of a newsletter written by E.W. Kenyon, and a term used in a similar manner as compared to Blavatsky above.  From a footnote in D.R. McConnell’s A Different Gospel is the following (although the author did not trace the doctrine to Theosophy, he does compare to both New Thought and Christian Science, which were contemporaneous with the roots of Theosophy): …It should be pointed out that ‘Reality’ as Kenyon uses it is a term used in New Thought and Christian Science to refer to the spiritual realm and truths that were hidden by the sensations of the physical realm, which were not reality at all, but was considered ‘error,’ the opposite of metaphysical reality.  Reality was also the name of Kenyon’s first newsletter [p 55, n 53].  As noted above, Bill Johnson is considered a Word of Faith teacher, having inherited some doctrine from Kenyon.  Johnson uses reality in a similar way, as indicated in this very article and in the Johnson’s Word of Faith Roots Showing section here: < http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/learning-etymology-with-bill-johnson-a-new-age-repentance/ >.
   15 Bailey Bethlehem to Calvary, p 187.  Emphasis added.
   16 Bailey, Rays and Initiations, p 699.  Emphasis added.
   17 Bailey Bethlehem to Calvary, p 51.   Emphasis added.
   18 Bill Johnson When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. 2003, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA, p 145
   19 Bill Johnson Heaven Invades, p 145; 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.
   20 Alice Bailey The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, © 1957 Lucis, NY, 6th printing 1981; Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, p 510.  Emphasis added.
   21 World Service Intergroup website. J.D. Dubois “The Christ, His Reappearance, and the Avatar of Synthesis” <http://www.worldserviceintergroup.net/?#/christ-reappearance/4543145171>  World Service Intergroup; Dubois; par 5; as accessed 07/12/13
   22 Bob Jones “The Coming Kingdom” Piercing the Darkness Prophetic Conference, February 2011. Hosted by Bethel Church, Redding, CA, Feb 23-25, 2011, Session 4, Feb 24, 2011, 7:00pm, 38:53 – 39:05. Emphasis in original. Available for sale at Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church website:  <http://store.ibethel.org/p4810/piercing-the-darkness-february-2011-complete-set-bethel-campus>; as accessed 07/12/13.

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274 Responses to Bill Johnson Claims You Can Think and Live from the Right Hand of God

  1. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Still reading and digesting this. I was thinking through a totally separate issue today and remembered something from my Old Testament studies. Some Bible scholars consider the phrase “the Angel of the Lord” from a few passages in the OT such as Joshua 5:14, Genesis 18, to be a theophany or in some cases a Christophany. As you say, the passage in John 3:13 is not clear and no definitive doctrine should be established by it. But I suppose that it may be possible to think of the theophanies/Christophanies as a possible explanation.

  2. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    That is one of the interpretations used by some scholars. Since I plan on doing a post on this very verse at some point in the future (hopefully, somewhat near future), I’ll forgo my own view.

    As a side note: Bailey actually claims that Joshua, Son of Nun was one of Jesus’ previous incarnations.

  3. Craig says:

    I’ll add more thing regarding John 3:13: there are a few scholars, including George Beasley-Murray (in his WBC Commentary), who claim that Jesus’ words stop at John 3:12, with the narrator taking over at John 3:13 and following. I disagree with this, and this view is in the minority, but it does have the advantage of alleviating some difficulty with this verse. In this view, the words of 3:13 are past-referring, rather than present-referring, which means Jesus (the Word) had (1) descended from heaven; and (2) subsequently ascended (Acts 1:9-11).

    The original Greek has no punctuation, with even all the characters of the alphabet running together – no breaks between words or sentences (talk about run-on sentences!). Also, at that time, there was no differentiation between capital letters and lower case letters, as the letters were all upper case/capitals (called majuscules). Therefore, the above view is certainly possible.

  4. Craig, I listened to a BJ sermon on ascended lifestyle once (maybe this one). My immediate thought when listening to it was how close to new age doctrine it was. And how self-exalting it was. That’s without much review, just my memory of new age teachings I have read. So here is my general assessment of the situation…it appears that BJ receives an enormous amount of spiritual experiences he would call words of knowledge, God’s voice, visions of Jesus Christ or angels, prophetic dreams, spirit manifestations etc. I don’t doubt his experiences. I just believe there is now enough evidence to say that his revelation is coming from the same source as Alice Bailey and in the end, where revelation comes from for all false teachers. Not from God. In the move towards one world religion, it is becoming clear to those with eyes to see that these false doctrines are necessarily converging. I can see no evidence that BJ actively follows the teachings of Alice Bailey, but rather is hearing the same teachings from decieiving spirits or Satan himself. He believes it is God. Ouch. This is serious stuff.

    It occurred to me as I read your post that the concept of heresy ‘hunting’ is almost laughable…these days they get delivered to your iTunes. No hunting required.

    Prime example…this week in his ’40 days in the Word’ program (ironic title, in that he uses the Message most of the time which isn’t the Word of God) Rick Warren takes John 15 (The Vine and the Branches) and mangles it. He says that Jesus isn’t talking about hell when he refers to the pruned branches being burned up in the fire. He says that is reading too much into the passage, trying to find the ‘deeper meaning’. He says you just take things at face value…the most obvious interpretation. (Okay…where is he going with this, you ask?) No, he says, this is not referring to hell (and by this he escapes it being about judgement)…Jesus is just saying if you don’t bear fruit, you won’t AS useful a branch. You will still be useful as firewood, but not as useful as fruit. All this is ‘teaching’ people how to read their Bibles properly? Bj is not alone in the elitist sheep deception business. Apparently there’s no hell and we can all be gods. Anyone else hearing the serpent’s lies?

  5. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    Did you see this post?

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

    The above is merely one part extracted from the larger ‘New Age Christ?’ post (the first section of IIIb) condensed into one smaller post, in which I construe that BJ is teaching that Jesus, and everyone else, has a divine seed, as in the Gnostic / New Age / New Spirituality teachings. The divine seed (Christ within) is awakened by the external ‘word’ (Christ without), with this external ‘word’ being thoughts, impressions, mystic revelation, etc. The more ‘revelation’ (gnosis) one receives, the more one grows in his/her spiritual walk. Recognizing that one actually has this divine seed (spark, Christ within) is the first step towards “the path”. In occult terminology, in perversion to orthodoxy, this is known as the “Virgin Birth”. This recognition of inherent divinity (spark/seed, etc.) is the first of Bailey’s five intiations, and Johnson seems to match this in the above post.

    I didn’t want to bog the post down with even more info, so I put some of it in the footnotes. So, I’ll continue with how Johnson illustrates the five steps.

    The second step is the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” / “The Baptism in the Jordan”. Bailey makes it clear that she is speaking of when the man Jesus received the Christ Spirit, or ‘external word’ (Christ without). This Christ Spirit provided the means by which the seed could grow. Johnson mirrors this teaching with the whole “the (Christ) anointing” teaching.

    The third step is mentioned in the article (see footnote 9), i.e. how Johnson claims the Mount of Transfiguration is a “prophetic example of the realms in God that are made available to the believer”. This equates with Bailey.

    The fourth step is the Crucifixion in which Johnson equates this with “The death of Christ is also the death of your old nature” (see sole reference to Johnson’s newest podcast “Waiting Patiently in Hope”, just after reference to footnote 11). This also matches Bailey.

    The fifth step is the resurrection / ascension, and Johnson makes it quite clear that we can ascend to the Throne itself, at the right hand of God.

    The only real difference is that Johnson claims Jesus Christ’s preexistence as God who “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”, who then subsequently (re)actualized His divinity. So, it’s a slight variation as a concession to the preexistence of Deity, in order to seem more orthodox from a Christian perspective.

    That’s how I see it!

  6. Craig says:

    I wanted to comment some more about maya. In G. de Purucker’s Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy [© 1979 Theosophical University Press, 2nd rev ed (1932), Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, CA, p 33] is maybe a better explanation of this doctrine (taken from Buddhism and Brahmanism). You can see how this parallels the basic ideas promoted in Johnson’s podcast:

    It does not mean that the exterior world is nonexistent; if it were, it obviously could not be illusory; it exists, but is not. It is “measured out” or it stands out to the human spirit as mirage. In other words, we do not see clearly and plainly and in their reality the vision and the visions which our mind and senses present to the inner life and eye.

    The familiar illustrations of maya in the Vedanta, which is the highest form that the Brahmanical teachings have taken and which is so near to our teaching in many respects, were such as follows: a man at eventide sees a coiled rope on the ground and springs [jumps] aside, thinking it a serpent. The rope is there, but no serpent.

    …That is what maya means: not a thing seen does not exist, but that we are blinded and our mind perverted by our own thoughts and our own imperfections, and do not as yet arrive at the real interpretation and meaning of the world, of the universe around us. By ascending inwardly, by rising up, by inner aspiration, by an elevation of soul, we can reach upwards or rather inwards toward that plane where truth abides in fullness.

    This particular view colors the adherents’ entire religious worldview. This view was also prevalent in the early Church in some of the “Fathers” in what is known as Neoplatonism. Part of this doctrine is a belief in the preexistence of the soul, in which all souls are, essentially, of God. The soul (or nous = mind, or seed/spark) was the divine part of every human, the rest “illusion”. Through contemplation of the (external) Divine without, the divine within would grow more and more in its ‘connection’ to the Divine without. In other words, by focusing on the “real” (spiritual) as opposed to the ‘unreality’ (or inferior ‘reality’) that is the material world, one can progressively become a part of the spiritual world instead of this inferior material world in which we now live. One becomes “in the world but not of the world”, as Alice Bailey perverts that Scripture – in two worlds at once, the temporal and the spiritual (eternal).

    De Purucker specifically mentions Bernard of Clairvaux as one who adhered to this doctrine. Bernard of Clairvaux is one of those mystics continually promoted by Mike Bickle at IHOP, of course. Continuing where we left off above regarding maya:

    Bernard of Clairvaux, the French mystic of the Middle Ages, said that one way of doing this, and he spoke truly, was by “emptying the mind,” pouring out the trashy stuff it contains, the illusory beliefs, the false views, the hatreds, suspicions, carelessness, etc., and that by emptying out all this trash, the temple within is cleansed, and light from the god within streams forth into the soul – a wonderful figure of thought.

    Therefore, one ‘ascends’ by contemplative prayer.

  7. Craig says:

    I decided to change the initial quote, as this new one more closely reflects the title of the article.

  8. Sorry Craig, I had read it previously just not for a while. I have them printed out and in a folder so will reread them, and I think I will go back and repost them each week in order so others can read them. Then I can share this article with the background already available. Keep up the good work!

  9. Craig says:

    I myself have had to re-read a number of the articles on here! There are times when I think “did I get something wrong; did I misunderstand?” So, I go back and re-read them periodically, which helps to keep the info fresh. These teachings are SO convoluted that it’s difficult to keep them straight.

  10. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    My former church had a youth minister come named Tim Wright (not Cold Storage). He was supposed to be an “up and coming” sensation to lead the youth into a passion for Christ, yada, yada. (I have deleted what I originally stated about this man since Craig’s last post opened with kind comments about Christian charity.) At one time he had a website which I cannot find now–thankfully.

    I was totally disgusted by him. Won’t go into detail about his presentation now. We vehemently voiced our objections to former sr. pastor who ignored us and even had him back. TW stated his admiration for Benjamin Dunn and John Crowder. (I hate even stating those names. Crowder’s book, The New Mystics makes me spit nails. Don’t get me started….)

    What Craig is saying here reminds me of something that was on TW’s website when I looked him up. He had a video clip of himself talking on a cell phone to a friend. The friend who was supposed to be somewhere on the other side of the globe said (not quoting exactly, but pretty dern close…), “Yo, dude! This is so cool. You just came here. I saw you in the spirit, man!” TW and the friend continued in the yo, cool, man verbage. Then TW asked him to verify that he was really there in the spirit, so the friend said, “Yeah, man you’re wearing this read plaid shirt, dude” yada, yada….. Of course, you see TW in the video clip in a red plaid shirt.

    Wow, now doesn’t that just prove everything! The Dunn/Crowder/Wright, ad nauseum crowd fall right in line with Johnson. Patricia King and others are making claims of translation (I’m still waiting to see the reciepts for their one way tickets….not holding my breath.

    So just now, I decided to look TW up and found his YouTube channel. Here is what he says, “This channel is devoted to publishing and proclaiming the reality of Christ’s indwelling presence in humanity! Allow these songs and teachings to open the eyes of your heart to a whole new world: Christ in you, the hope of realizing the glory!” UGH!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TimWrightWebsite/videos

    This is exactly the stuff Craig is talking about.

  11. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    But charity does not extend to those who continually teach very obvious blasphemy, such as the likes of Dunn and Crowder (not familiar with Tim Wright {except one as an avant garde electric bass player}).

    Bi-location, eh?

  12. They do blur together a bit a times, and I agree that periodic rereads are helpful. I also read very fast, and widely so sometimes forget where I’ve read what. I should try to read less and slower, then I might retain more! :-)

  13. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Craig, I just came back to address exactly what you just stated. I have used very strong, harsh and ugly sentiments. My revulsion for these false teachers and their rabid attacks of the sheep is extreme.

    I do acknowledge 2Timothy 2:23-26 “…avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

    May we pray that they do come to their senses and that we keep our hearts pure before the Lord. None of us is immune to falling. Many who have led discernment ministries, do, in fact fall into the very deception that they expose. Satan has had millennia to perfect his craft.

    However, we must expose the wolves. Leaders such as those listed above must know the error they are in. I KNOW my former sr. pastor does because we warned him vehemently. And TW’s in-laws are also pastors. They themselves are all deceived. The apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit spared no mercy in using strong language to expose the error of the false teachers. His love and concern for the sheep was urgent. (Acts 20:28-32)

    (BTW–TW, to my knowledge, has never risen in any notable sense so you would not know his name. I pray he remains in obscurity.)

  14. Craig says:

    I decided to have a look-see at this Tim Wright guy. I’ll tell you that I’ve heard just about everything in music (I’m still a fan of music in general, though I’m selective and my tastes run towards the avant garde), as I’ve heard (and even had in my own collection) about the most hedonistic, bizarre, obscene, nasty, filth-ridden lyrics, in my BC days (I really never paid them much mind, actually) but there’s one lyric by this guy that takes the cake, and has left me disgusted and really ticked off to the point that I can’t even post it.

    May God have mercy on his soul – much more mercy than I could give him.

    These guys are making a mockery out of Christ, out of Christianity. I expect that from some hate-filled non-Christian. But, to come into the “Church” and make a mockery of my Savior and my faith as these guys do really ticks me off. I can’t even research in order to write about these guys, as it’s so awful.

  15. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Yes, now you know why I was so angry at my pastor. I did not look at TW’s clips, but I can guess what you are talking about. He follows John Crowder who is the real kingpin. He is beyond revolting. Elijah List and Bill Johnson used to promote him. The folk that we minister with gave us his book as something we should promote. I think his antics came out later, then suddenly everyone seemed to drop him, but to my knowledge never denounced him or his book. The noxious poison spreads. If you don’t want to lose your supper, don’t research Crowder.

    My sr. pastor fell over himself to mentor TW. I can see some of his influence on the YouTube page without opening even one of the clips. You can see why I was so eager to leave. The sheep are so blinded by their trust in him.

  16. Craig says:

    I had already done a bit of research on Crowder and Dunn, about 5 or so years ago. But since I started this blog, I’ve decided not to do any more.

  17. Ballerina says:

    Crowder and Dunn are the more obvious wolves. Although I will say that Dunn is evolving in a sense -for lack of a better term. His recent music is actually decent quality, although I won’t listen to it because of the spirit behind it, but it is not longer that “tokin the ghost” garbage they put out a few years back. Researching recently, I listened to a recent 30 minute teaching by Dunn not too long ago and he has toned down a lot as far as his crazy antics, if you ask me, he is MORE deceptive because of that. He now openly teaches universalism.

    In my personal opinion, I think Johnson is an obvious wolf, maybe not AS obvious as Crowder, but he is. I believe someone who is more subtle and has Christians deceived is someone like that Michael Brown, who lead that heretical “revival” down in Pensacola, and now teaches stuff partial to Messianic Jews and speaks out against Hyper-Grace, and as a result has fooled a lot of people. But yet in a recent article he wrote for Charisma speaking out against John MacArthur, Brown OPENLY calls Mike Bickle and Lou Engle “men of God”. That’s a sly wolf right there, I know a wolf is a wolf, NOT comparing them, they are ALL in error, but there are subtle ones and not so subtle ones.

    Craig, as far as this entry, I know you quote Bailey a lot, but I have wondered if you have read any of Eckart Tolle’s garbage he spews cause it’s very similar heresy to Johnson. Of course the terminology is a little different, but it’s very similar. Tolle’s book A New Earth is nothing short of a New Age type of dominionism, kinda like Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth. Anyway, I know you want to stay on topic, but I was wondering if you have ever compared Tolle’s stuff in light of Johnson’s stuff.

  18. Craig says:

    I’ve not read any of Tolle’s stuff. I have focused on the Bailey (and Blavatsky) teachings as these are the backdrop of the New Age / New Spirituality teachings in general, though as pointed out in the article, these itself are rooted in 2nd century Gnosticism. All of the occult teachings are similar in ways, yet dissimilar in others. The goal, as I see it, is to be diverse in order to appeal to diverse groups. But the source is all the same. I was told by someone who’s researched this sort of stuff for years to not get too bogged down in trying to fit any one Christian author’s material into an exact occult teaching, as there’s a lot of borrowing from different types. So, there may be many parallels, but we’re not likely to find an exact match.

    As far as those within Christendom, here are two Bailey quotes to keep in mind:

    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.

    also:

    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.

  19. Arwen4CJ says:

    The Narrowing Path wrote:

    “So here is my general assessment of the situation…it appears that BJ receives an enormous amount of spiritual experiences he would call words of knowledge, God’s voice, visions of Jesus Christ or angels, prophetic dreams, spirit manifestations etc. I don’t doubt his experiences. I just believe there is now enough evidence to say that his revelation is coming from the same source as Alice Bailey and in the end, where revelation comes from for all false teachers. Not from God. In the move towards one world religion, it is becoming clear to those with eyes to see that these false doctrines are necessarily converging. I can see no evidence that BJ actively follows the teachings of Alice Bailey, but rather is hearing the same teachings from decieiving spirits or Satan himself. He believes it is God. Ouch. This is serious stuff.”

    That’s exactly the sort of comment I was planning on making about this. The demons behind Johnson’s doctrine are the same as the demons behind New Age/New Thought/gnosticism. We have plenty of evidence that it is the same spirit, the same teachings, but Bill is probably ignorant of the fact that his teachings is similar to New Age teachings. He can’t be completely ignorant, as he has to be aware that people have suggested it, but maybe he ignores these “accusations,” or justifies his experiences and doctrine by claiming “We’re stealing them back for God.”

  20. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    After reading Arwen4CJ’s comment, I went back to read the full context of your comment at 7/14 8:33. While I agree with the basic thrust of what you wrote, it’s this part that I focused on: “I can see no evidence that BJ actively follows the teachings of Alice Bailey…”

    I suppose I may have looked at this in too black and white a fashion. I’ll agree that there’s no explicit reference to Bailey, none at all. Is it implicit? Perhaps. But, your point about it emanating from the same spirit is exactly correct. Johnson may have never read one word of Bailey’s yet received the doctrine in the manner in which you conveyed.

    In other words, I can’t disagree with you on the specific portion of your statement referenced above.

    Arwen4CJ,

    You wrote, “We have plenty of evidence that it is the same spirit, the same teachings, but Bill is probably ignorant of the fact that his teachings is similar to New Age teachings.”

    I won’t go so far as to state that Johnson is not aware that his teaching is similar to New Age doctrine. He may or may not be; but, I think he is. That’s what I THINK anyway, but I cannot know for sure. But, I do believe you are 100% correct that he must be aware that this charge is being leveled against his teachings.

  21. IWTT says:

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

    Luk 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

    This is what they will stand on with any accusations made about the teachings etc. If they ask the Father for these “Signs and Wonders” they are seeking God, asking God for His many good gifts. “How can the enemny do this when we are asking the Father…”

    Of course, total scripture use out of context but this has been used by those folks that I have questioned about this doctrine or theology or whatever it would be called.

  22. Craig says:

    I just posted a comment on Johnson: New Age Christ, part IIIb article, with a link to an article/pamphlet by Ray Yungen on the etheric body/realm. Please follow the link here to see context:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iiib/#comment-9392

  23. Craig, thank you for being so thorough in rereading my comment. I also reread it after your most recent response as I hope it didn’t seem pedantic. I was merely clarifying that I personally have seen no direct link to Alice Bailey (e.g. links on his site to more overt new age stuff, references in his books etc.) which if found would be difficult for others to refute. My virus befuddled brain felt the need to clarify that for reasons that quite escape to me. Sorry, as there was no real point needed there. I think the half-finished reflection had something to do with wishing the links were that overt?

    Perhaps he is not aware of where these teachings are coming from. However, I am in full agreement with your assessment…he is preaching the new age gospel as clear as day, straight from the angel of light. Whether he knows it is new age or not, I think he knows it isn’t kosher. The defensiveness, evasiveness, controlling leadership and spiritual mind games are very typical for a person caught up in spiritual adultery. I have moved beyond seeing BJ as merely an innocent victim of deception. He clearly loves the wickedness he is engaged in. Very sad to think of those being hurt by his self-gratification.

  24. Craig says:

    Here’s the video I showed in the comments section of the last article as a sort of prelude to this one. View again with the information in this current article now available:

    The Lightbody has the ability to express itself on any plane of consciousness at any time, not just the physical plane. [1:55]

    We can shorten our journey by focusing our intention and energies on achieving ascension now. [3:05]

    Matter is the vehicle for the expression of the soul on this plane…[3:16]

    …It will try and distract us by creating illusory, glamorous side trips. [3:46]

    When a person lets their ego interpret reality rather than the soul, they are lost in illusion. [3:59]

    Working with affirmations and mantras helps to bring us into greater alignment [4:28]

  25. Arwen4CJ says:

    I’ve been reading a little bit of “Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow” over a long period of time….and I just came across this on pages 170-171:

    (The author is quoting someone named Dr. Romney from a book called “Journey to Inner Space: Finding God-in-Us, pages 15, 43)

    “No one ever stirred up the people of his day as this man Jesus. The greater miracle is that twenty centuries later he is still stirring up people. He was no radical insurrectionist or polemic revolutionary. He was simply a man who knew the laws of God and lived so completely within their framework that his entire life was a litany of obedience and faith to God. He stirred up the people because he showed them what life could really be for them. He continues to do so today.”

    “This Jesus came to be called the Christ, meaning the Anointed One of God. It was a title he neither invited nor disclaimed. Yet what he did was even more startling. He inferred that each person was potentially a Christ. He claimed nothing for himself that he did not claim for his disciples. He called himself the light of the world, and he told his disciples that they too were the light of the world. He said he was one with God and prayed that the disciples would accept their oneness with God. He told them they not only would have experiences similar to his own, but would do even greater things than he had done. Rather than condemning people for their depravity, he sought to awaken them to the glory of their own intended divinity. The task he gave his followers is to realize the Christ within their own consciousness, and to know that the kingdom of God is within them. If they search for it outside themselves, they will never find it.”

    Some of that sounds very, very similar to things that Bill Johnson has said…..I bolded the parts that sounded especially like Johnson.

    Definitely the same spirit behind these doctrines.

  26. Craig says:

    You GOT it!

  27. Craig says:

    The very disappointing thing is that many have discounted Constance Cumbey, including the late Walter Martin who was especially rude to her according to Constance herself, as she stated somewhat recently on her blog. She was lambasted by prominent Protestants back when she initially discovered what was going on within Christendom and when she first wrote her first book. Today, most think she’s just a ‘conspiracy theorist’, a charge which has also been leveled at me; however, it’s abundantly clear to me that Latter Rain IS New Age, but within the “Church” – the very thing Bailey’s demon desired. Hyper-charismaticism IS New Age – or New Spirituality, as they prefer nowadays, though the point is really to help usher in the new age of Aquarius, as the “Piscean Age” is winding down, which means that New Age of Aquarius is most appropriate. However, as is their tactics, once a particular word or phrase has been found to be in any way negative, the term is changed, while the concepts remain the same.

  28. Arwen4CJ says:

    I’m sorry that Walter Martin was rude to her, as I like Walter Martin. I’m also sad that many prominent Protestants were rude to her.

    To me it seems that Latter Rain doctrine has the same source as New Age doctrine — demonic influence, and that the demons are teaching (or helping people come to the same conclusions through spiritual experiences and revelation), so that people in both camps pretty much have the same theology. There is definitely a conspiracy here — a demonic conspiracy — where the demons are conspiring.

    That much is at least clear to me.

    What isn’t so clear is whether or not, and to what degree there is human conspiracy going on. This seems to be the sticking point whether or not people are labeled “conspiracy theorists.” While I believe it is possible that there is human conspiracy going on, I tend to not believe it unless I see a lot of evidence.

  29. Carolyn says:

    Quote from above article: “The subtle implication is that Johnson himself is in this esteemed category as one so exalted, i.e. “ascended”, an “apostle” who is ‘bringing heaven to earth’. This point is made clearer near the very end of this sermon, as he reiterates this point using Ephesians 4:11 about apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers [35:27], until he gets to this climax, using false humility:”

    I watched the NA video again with this in mind. This really is pure illusion. Without the ecstatic spirits that accompany these teachings the illusion would lack “reality”.

    Just so with the hyper-charismatic crowd who are searching for a high. The spirits that empower these teachings of Bill Johnson are more than willing to reward the eager egos of his devoted followers…giving them what they are seeking for…pseudo reality…euphoria…which in turn strengthens the illusion.

    What are they really looking for? Well, besides equality with God…?

    John 5:18
    For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

    Jesus was the only one who could claim equality with God. For us to claim equality with God, makes us a blasphemer. Perilous times…

  30. Carolyn says:

    IWTT: Just wanted to make a quick reply to your comment and the question that many charismatics ask: “How can the enemny do this when we are asking the Father…”

    1 Peter 5:8
    Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

    How quickly we forget that we have an adversary. And how quickly we forget that the armour of our salvation was given to us for this very reason:

    Ephesians 6:13-15
    New International Version (NIV)
    13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

    A question also has been raised about whether Bill Johnson knows that he is deceived. If the sheep stray from God’s instruction guide, revealed Manual for Life (Word) and run ahead of the teachings of Christ, will the sheep know when he is deceived. Not a chance!

    Bill Johnson is out there is the land of experience, following the prophetic words just like all the other sheep, to his own advantage, he thinks, (and since Satan’s kingdom knows the Word better than us, his minions use a phrase here, a clip of it there…to back up the wild assertions they make). Pretty soon, the sheep is in unknown pastures, following unknown shepherds/gods/spirits who masquerade as angels of light.

    And they are still asking the Holy Spirit to guide them….but they have wandered from the Truth….

  31. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    My sheep hear my voice…

    That is what they claim–that they are hearing from God and know that it is He. However, they miss the whole context of that passage…

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

    God’s “voice” is in His Word. Johnson’s is the voice of a stranger–a hireling. Baaa, baaa, baaad! I’m not following!

  32. Arwen4CJ says:

    God’s “voice” is in His Word. Johnson’s is the voice of a stranger–a hireling. Baaa, baaa, baaad! I’m not following!

    LOL. Neither am I.

  33. Craig says:

    Carolyn, you wrote: A question also has been raised about whether Bill Johnson knows that he is deceived. If the sheep stray from God’s instruction guide, revealed Manual for Life (Word) and run ahead of the teachings of Christ, will the sheep know when he is deceived. Not a chance!

    I’d say you’re making this a bit too simplistic. I’ll explain by way of analogy.

    Businessman A is corrupt, having an investment scheme with which he intends to rip-off as many people as he can (think Bernie Made-off), using insider information to his advantage. Businessman A gets two partners – Businessman B and Businessman C. Bus. B has mixed motives, in it for the money and if he can make money off of others in the process, so much the better; while Bus. C is using it as a means by which to make himself legitimate money (so he thinks) and to help others who are looking for viable investments (so they think). A partnership is born.

    Both B and C actively find many different investors (Businessmen Dx). Everyone is quite happy until one day it is found out that the investment was a scam, with A laughing ‘all the way to the bank’.

    Is Bill Johnson Bus. A, knowing full well his scheme is corrupt, i.e., is he a tare instead of the wheat of Matthew 13:27-30 (not a Holy Spirit indwelt Christian at all, with the specific intent on deceiving others)? Or is Johnson Bus. B, just out for himself (not a Holy Spirit indwelt Christian, perhaps not really caring if he leads others astray or not, though thinking he himself may be on the right path to salvation)? Or is Johnson Bus. C, foolishly following A, quite unwittingly, thinking he’s actually selling a viable investment product to help both himself and others (a Holy Spirit indwelt Christian who has been taken in by teachings that he’s merely parroting, thinking they are Truth)? Or is Bill Johnson Bus. Dx, one of the many sheep taken in by following B and C, who in turn naively and in good faith trusted A?

    Continuing in what you wrote: Bill Johnson is out there is the land of experience, following the prophetic words just like all the other sheep, to his own advantage, he thinks, (and since Satan’s kingdom knows the Word better than us, his minions use a phrase here, a clip of it there…to back up the wild assertions they make). Pretty soon, the sheep is in unknown pastures, following unknown shepherds/gods/spirits who masquerade as angels of light.

    And they are still asking the Holy Spirit to guide them….but they have wandered from the Truth….

    If Johnson is A, then he knows full well what he’s doing as an unsaved worker of Satan. And certainly, though quite purposeful in deceiving others, A is himself unknowingly deceived, for who would turn down eternal life if they really knew and understood the truth?

    If Johnson is B, then he’s unsaved, yet is not doing this out of malice, though perhaps apathy. Either A or B can eventually be led to the Truth (think the Apostle Paul and other accounts of former occultists).

    However, if he’s C or one of the Dx, then he has the Holy Spirit indwelling, and though he’s certainly wandered from the truth, it’s certainly possible for him to come back (James 5:19-20; Jude 23).

    That’s not a perfect analogy, as there can be shades in between, but I think the basic message gets through.

  34. Arwen4CJ says:

    I was reading more of “Hidden Dangers Of The Rainbow,” and I came across this quote on page 174:

    Alice Bailey/Djwal Khul disciples were urged to keep a “spiritual diary” in which they would record the experiences gained through meditation and the other psychotechnologies. The diarist was to record such experiences as contact with “presences” or the “masters.” Illumination shed upon problems, telepathic happenings, and mystical experiences such as seeing a light in the head were also to be recorded.”

    * cited from Alice Bailey’s book “Discipleship in the New Age, Volume 1, pages 14-15.

    This reminds me a lot of what some hyper-charismatics encourage people to do. I’ve read accounts of people involved at iHop and at Bill Johnson’s Supernatural School in which the students are required to keep a diary of all of supernatural experiences.

    I know of quite a few Christians who keep prayer journals. I don’t think that there is anything in and of itself wrong with that. Or just keeping a diary of what God’s doing in a person’s life….but I do have a problem if the diary is to be focused on supernatural experiences people have. Because that is encouraging people to focus on experience, which can be very deceiving and dangerous.

  35. Craig says:

    I know for a fact that IHOP students are supposed to keep diaries; but, I have no direct knowledge on Bethel church, though I don’t doubt it for a second.

    When I was first introduced to hyper-charismaticism, my former friend (who had long ago cut off all communication with me) had told me some very bizarre things she experienced at a weekend retreat. I’m quite sure she keeps a journal as she wrote down a “vision” she had about me and wrote down a “prophetic word” that was “prophesied” over me at the one home group meeting I attended (that evening was among the most bizarre of my life). In our phone conversation about the retreat, I jotted some notes, which I’ve kept (along with my very general “prophetic word” that she wrote down for me, which frankly I’ve found bits in the Bailey books). Here are the notes (her perspective, not mine):

    The teaching was the “Revelation of the Throne” (Rev 2, 3, 4, 5). Lightning and peals of thunder. The scroll. Most people “drunk in the Spirit”.

    “His kisses are better than wine.”
    “Now I know how the Shulamite woman felt” (Song of Solomon/Song reference).
    “Lovesick”
    “The Lord romancing me”

    “Praise dancers were in the room. Dry ice, incense. Sought prophetic intercessors.”

    — When I mentioned to her the Carol Arnott account that her “bridal experience” was “better than sex”, I was told that her experience was similar to pent-up sexual frustration released. YIKES! I did not want to know about a “man’s” experience; but, then she says:

    “I thought, ‘what is it like for a man’? A man said, ‘Sucked through vortex. Sensed fear of the Lord. Waves of love. As if Lord was lion roaring.'”

    I recall this as if it were just a few weeks ago, yet it was 6 years ago. I was at work and she called me excitedly to tell me about it. She didn’t know of my skepticism, as I was collecting data at the time, and reading as much as I could on the internet, as this was all new to me back then. The one home group meeting I attended was for the same purpose. I was told the “Holy Spirit” was more subdued than usual, presumably because I was a newbie and wouldn’t be able to handle the full deal. Yet, I’m quite sure it had more to do with my persistent prayers….

  36. Arwen4CJ says:

    Wow…..that woman’s journal notes are scary :(

    People in this movement (as well as in blatant occult) are taught to view these spiritual experiences, to seek them out, to listen for impressions or feelings or sensations, to open themselves up to visions, to look for messages from angels of light, etc. All of this is encouraged through soaking and through “spending time with Jesus.”

    But they are never encouraged to test these things. They don’t think for a moment that what they are doing is dangerous, and that they might be opening themselves up to demons.

    No wonder Alice Bailey and hyper-charismatic leaders encourage people to write down their spiritual experiences and to look for them…..that is how they get deeper and deeper caught up in the experiences that feel so good.

  37. Craig says:

    After the one home group meeting I went to with her and her friend, I was told that there was nothing to worry about in the spirit realm because, with the Holy Spirit indwelling, God would not lead us astray. Yet, there are countless stories on the ‘net of folks with different conclusions. It’s sad.

  38. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yeah. Why didn’t the New Testament writers or Jesus say, “Don’t worry about deception. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, you will never be deceived. God won’t allow it, so don’t worry about testing the spirits. There will be no false prophets or teachers among you. You can never be led into error. Everything in the spirit realm will be good for you.”

  39. Craig says:

    The interesting thing is that, while the hyper-charismatics are quick to talk about the gifts of the Spirit (some even bragging about how they have most all the gifts), I rarely see acknowledgement of the gift of discerning between spirits (1 Cor 12:10).

  40. Craig, in that case you really are missing out. Have you not heard Cindy Jacobs or Patricia King talk about ‘discerning the spirits’? Remind me to send you a couple of links to Chris Rosebrough’s Fighting for the Faith program. I listened to Cindy Jacobs and James Goll the other day where he oozes flattery at how good she is at discerning the spirits. Unfortunately they have a very different meaning for those words. What they mean is literally discerning BETWEEN the various deceiving spirits/angels (ie. jezebel, angel of whatever takes your fancy etc.), not dicerning those spirits from the Holy Spirit of the Almighty God. They totally misunderstand the concept of discernment in this context. It actually makes my heart break to hear how utterly deceived they are. Satan is making fools of them all. James Goll reminded me of the passage in 2 Timothy 3 (ESV): (verse 6-7 in particular)

    3 But understand this, that yin the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud,barrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, ewollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to jarrive at a knowledge of the truth.

    Here is another example of how wrong they get it:

    http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/05/a-wrong-way-to-test-a-prophet-the-inner-witness-test/3228.

    I see them pay lip service to the ‘gift of discernment’ and can see that some like Cindy Jacobs really believe they have the gift. They refer to themselves as having a ‘seer anointing’ which is about as occultish as you can get, yet equate it with the biblical gift of discernment. Yikes.

    PS. I know I am preaching to the converted here, but appreciate the chance to join the conversation.

  41. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    Now that’s a new one on me! I have to admit that is pretty clever. In reading some of the Bailey material, or the Levi Dowling book The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, I can recall times in which I thought to myself “that’s a pretty clever way of perverting Scripture”. It can sound convincing to the undiscerning.

    I read through Holly’s post on how Bill Hamon explains this. His is the same old false dichotomy between “the spirit” and the mind.

  42. I agree, at times it is extremely clever. Far too clever for a mere mortal to have come up with all on their own. What I have noticed is that these women in particular (Cindy and Patricia) seem to be slowly losing their grip on reality. The demonic influences in their life seem to be literally separating them from any sense of reality. It is really destructive and so sad to watch. I know they are making choices in their lives, but I still feel compassion for them. What they say in public is so shameful. It is almost like knowing all the details of an affair…in fact is it exactly that, only a spiritual affair and they talk openly about their adultery. It reminds me of your recent post in relation to the woman’s diary. Such private stuff she willingly exposed for the world to see. :-(

    As for Bill Hamon, his assertions makes no logical sense. It really is a kind of insanity. No grip on reality at all.
    I just finished reading Kevin Reeve’s testimony in ‘The Other Side of the River’. I was so struck by how powerful and pervasive these false beliefs are in everyday churches around the world. I shudder to think how far these teachings have actually spread.

  43. Craig says:

    I’m assuming you’re aware that Patricia King (Cocking) is a ‘former’ witch (by her own admission)?

  44. just1ofhis says:

    “I see them pay lip service to the ‘gift of discernment’ and can see that some like Cindy Jacobs really believe they have the gift. They refer to themselves as having a ‘seer anointing’ which is about as occultish as you can get, yet equate it with the biblical gift of discernment. Yikes”

    I knew a woman in the word of faith church who believed the “gift of discernment” was her greatest gift. She believed that she could see “words” on people’s foreheads describing the “type” of spirit they had. My children also shared with me that one of their “teachers” put on a pair of “magic” glasses that he said allowed him to “see the spirits”. I questioned them repeatedly, because I thought he must have been joking with them. They insisted that he was serious. (although even if he had been joking, that is really bad fruit).

    I also know two men, one of whom is mixed up in Bill Johnson’s church now, who claimed the gift of “discerning between spirits”.

    The problem for all of them is that their “discernment” is entirely based in experience and thought and completely detached from the Word of God. People who claim these things are very useful in the cult setting of the Word of Faith, especially in controlling people who are newly converted or have a weak grasp of scripture. They do tremendous damage with their version of “spiritual discernment”, imo.

  45. Carolyn says:

    Bernie Made-off…with all the money. Funny.

    When I think about Business man A, I think spirit guide, ascended master, angel of darkness…

    When I think about Business Man B, I think New Ager/NWO whose specific agenda is to be a change agent for Lucifer. He is working for the benefit of mankind. He has been won over by Business Man A.

    When I think about Business Man C, I think about Bill Johnson who is similar to Business Man B except that he is a change agent for Christ. He is working for the benefit of the Church. He has been won over by Business man A.

    When I think of Business man Dx…he’s a follower of Business man C…who is plugged into Business man A. Dx is on his way to becoming another Business man C if he continues in the teaching and guidance of the spirit guide of Business Man C. And he will probably get his own “A level” spirit guide to follow in very short order.

    Anyone can become a change agent if they don’t remain in the teachings of Christ, if they pursue their own agendas of seeker sensitive, persons with purpose, builders of mega empires or succumb to the seduction of ecumenical universalism.

    How’s that for complex?

    Here’s the mathematical equation I’ve heard when it comes to change agents…2 + 2 = 5 because when you have change agents, there’s always an unseen spirit guide to make up the difference.

    Sometimes, I just prefer simplistic…good and evil. If Bill Johnson’s fruit is bad…can a good tree bring forth bad fruit?

    Have I won you over to simplistic?

  46. Carolyn says:

    Just one more comment for tonight. Reading over some of the other comments about Patricia King and following prophetic words, seeing words on people’s foreheads and discernment through magic glasses etc….

    By this time, I don’t believe these people have any idea about truth…they have been so brainwashed by revelation knowledge and have become so dependent on experiences from their spirit guides, that like someone said above…they have no more reality. I would say they have no reality of Biblical truth. In fact they have an aversion to it, if they are honest (and some of them are). They are far ascended and superior to the written word. They have advanced beyond the need for it. They’re like ducks in an ice flow getting further and further from the shore line with no way back.

    Change your frame of reference…change your reality. They have a different light on their pathway. They need to return to the Light…the ONE true Light that shines in the darkness.
    John 3:19
    And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

  47. Craig says:

    I encourage everyone to listen to the “Thinking from the Throne” podcast, in order to catch all that he is saying:

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

    Johnson confuses (fuses together) Col 1:17/Heb 1:3 (the Word continually sustains the cosmos) with Ephesians 1:23 (fills all in all – a figurative phrase) into panentheism (God is IN all) – an allusion to the divine seed/spark concept. This is at 7:28 – 9:30 (+ or -), 13:49 – 15:30 (+ or -). And, in the latter part I hear an allusion to outright possession (see also 16:22 – 17:00), another New Age goal:

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

    And the latter part of the above (“…kingdom has always been present…”) I see as the Johnson (and hyper-charismatic) idea that the spiritual is ‘reality’, with the goal to “bring heaven to earth” merely to recognize that heaven is ALREADY HERE – we just need to apprehend it.

    Also, at 10:16 – 17:00 (+ or -) Johnson is hinting at the fact that Christ will put all things under HIS feet means that ‘believers’ will do same. I always just dismissed this particular doctrine in hyper-charismaticism in general as a misreading of 1 Cor 15:23-25; however, it finally hit me – in hyper-charismatic terms WE ARE CHRIST! And this lines up with New Age ideology (see the last two quotes immediately preceding the Conclusion)

    Note also the Bailey language “man in incarnation, by the indwelling and over-shadowing soul” and compare that to Vallotton’s quote re: “incarnation” in the next article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/kris-vallotton-on-becoming-an-incarnation-through-holy-communion/

  48. Craig, I was going to email this link to you, but I think it might be slightly relevant here so will share it with you if you don’t mind. It is a post by Conrad Mbewe, an extraordinary pastor in Africa (likened to Charles Spurgeon!). His article lays out the reasons why he believes the modern charismatic movement is so successful in Africa:

    http://www.conradmbewe.com/2013/07/why-is-charismatic-movement-thriving-in.html?

    I think it is relevant to this discussion as it is essentially about syncretism, which is essentially what we have seen happen with Christianity and the ‘new age’ spirituality here in the West. He goes through the basic African worldview and how the charismatic practices fit right in. It might be useful. Some of the comments are interesting too. If not, just leave it.

    I encourage anyone who wants to read the article to stop and listen to a sermon (or 20) too!

    Oh, and why is it that these people are not terrified at the thought that we can be ‘Christs’ and save the world. Clearly, history shows us in every century since the world began that we are completely incapable of doing anything but destroying the planet and its inhabitants. It is willful, delusional self-worship to think that we are evolving. It is also an incredibly unscientific worldview as it flies in the face of ALL available evidence. Well, at least it seems that way to me. :-)

  49. Wait, whaaat? No, that bit of information about Patricia King must have escaped me. Wow, now I am really going to keep praying for her. Does she think she was ‘saved’ out of her involvement with witchcraft, not realising she is still serving the same master? :-(

  50. Spiritual maths. Lol.

    just1ofhis – yikes, you really were in the trenches weren’t you! What a blessing to have you here.

  51. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    I just now had a chance to view the link you provided earlier. Excellent article; thanks for sharing. Quoting from it:

    In the African Charismatic circles, the “man of God” has replaced the witchdoctor. He is the one who oozes with mysterious power that enables him to break through those two impregnable layers ["ancestral spirits" and angels and demons, which are between man and God], which us lesser mortals cannot penetrate. So, when blessings are not flowing our way despite our prayers, we make a beeline to his quarters or his church for help. This explains the throngs in these circles. The crowds are not looking for someone to explain to them the way to find pardon with God. No! They want the “man of God” to pray for them.

    And this really is not much different in the US in hyper-charismatic circles. Everyone listens to his/her own guru (Johnson/Vallotton, Joyner, Bentley, etc.) who will ‘work’ the spirit realm for them, or who will help them ‘work’ it for themselves.

    It is so very sad how these hyper-charismatic leaders travel the globe, infecting other countries and cultures with their pseudo-Christianity.

  52. Thanks for reading the article Craig. I agree, it is sad to see the poison spreading. I thought the article might help others see that the lies are all coming from the same source. It also puts into perspective the wild claims of the NAR of ‘a billion soul harvest’ being souls won to faith our precious Christ. It is an awful realisation to come to that there is not a worldwide revival going on, but rather a worldwide deception. I know there is genuine spiritual revival at times, and for that we can be truly grateful! However, the big, promoted, ‘newsworthy’ mass conversions are clearly based on false gospels. I am beginning to understand how the apostle Paul could warn, weep and pray so much…what an insight we can have into Paul’s heart through what we are seeing happening in the world today and how heartbreaking it is. It makes me ponder the anguish our dear Lord must have suffered when he was on earth, as a human with human emotions seeing so many reject his offer of salvation. And as God truly knowing the consequences for each and every one of them. Wow.

    It is also heartening to see true ‘men of God’ like Conrad not only spreading God’s word, but speaking out against false teachings and training up pastors and church elders around Africa. I though it would be an interesting reflection in light of our ongoing discussions here. There is a lot we can do even by just encouraging our brothers and sisters on other continents in contexts like this one, letting them know that we have them in our thoughts and prayers. Not all of us are called to mission, but we can actively care and pray for others from our lounge rooms! Like we do here :-)

  53. Pingback: Look what Bill Johnson is Feeding the Sheep Now | Wolf Tracks

  54. Excellent!
    Thank you.

    The “apostle” Billy Johnson?
    Satan’s apostle.

    Blessings

  55. Hi sherpherdguardian, welcome to the conversation at Crosswise! Are you able to complete your About page? Or contact me at my blog and let me know who you are? Would love to meet another believer, and always happy to link to sites of those who love the Lord Jesus and defend his Word. Blessings, Sherryn

  56. Oh, and if you have been here before, my apologies for missing you. :-)

  57. I just heard a similar teaching from John Crowder about being “in” heaven already, and having in us “the fullness of Christ.” got to say, he scares me more than ANY of these other guys.

  58. Hi jeffreydaniel, nice to see you again. I hope you are well! I agree. John Crowder is one bad dude. He makes my skin crawl.

  59. just1ofhis says:

    Why is it then, that those who openly decry the antics of John Crowder and his followers, are mainly to be found among those brothers and sisters in Christ whom Bill Johnson and his followers dismiss as being “dead in faith” or having an “anti-Christ/against the anointing” spirit?

    Doesn’t that say something about Bill Johnson?

  60. just1ofhis says:

    Looks like all that “gold dust” and “treasure hunting” is about to pay off BIG TIME!

    http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=12395

  61. just1ofhis says:

    “Johnny Enlow is a social reformer, international speaker, spiritual mentor, and author of The Seven Mountain Prophecy, The Seven Mountain Mantle, and Rainbow God. He and his wife Elizabeth are focused on awakening individuals to their call to provide practical solutions from the heart of God for every problem in society- until the real God of all of life is displayed in the 7 primary areas of culture in all nations: Media, Arts and Entertainment, Government, Family, Religion, Economy, and Education.”

    That was the bio provided for Johnny Enlow after his “word” on the Elijah list. All the tables are covered in vomit….

  62. just1ofhis says:

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

    “Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; BE DRUNK, BUT NOT FROM WINE, STAGGER, BUT NOT FROM BEER. The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); He has covered your heads (the seers). For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll…” (Isa 29: 9-11a)

  63. just1ofhis says:

    Sorry, Craig. The wrong video copied. This is the “revival bomb”.

  64. anyone have some good links on exactly how Crowder is teaching heresy? particularly in his new book, “Mystic Union”

  65. just1ofhis says:

    Jackie Alnor writing on “The New Mystics” in 2010:

    http://www.apostasyalert.org/REFLECTIONS/crowder.htm

  66. thanks, I am currently messaging back and forth with someone purported to be a close friend of Crowder, trying to convince them he is a false teacher. Right now I am addressing his claim that all of the fullness of the Godhead dwells in us just like JEsus. it isn’t going too well, as all the scriptures I use as an argument against that just seem to get turned around. The person seems to claim, if God is living in us, how can we only have part of a person? Well, how come PAul exhorted us to keep being filled with the Spirit? I am sorry, but we DO NOT have the fullness of God dwelling in us like CHrist did. But Crowder teaches this.

  67. The person I am talking to also points heavily to the fact that we are seated in heavenly places (already) and that we just need to “realize” where we live. OF course, Crowder and this person shares this with Bill Johnson. I know it is true, to an extent, and yet here I am on earth. I just want the balance of scripture on these things.

  68. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I’ve covered the “already but not yet” in the article previous to the one you are commenting on. Here’s theopedia on inaugurated eschatology

    http://www.theopedia.com/Inaugurated_eschatology

  69. Before I forget again, I want to thank all who prayed for me before I ministered at that church where all the manifestations were happening. IT was interesting what happened. God woke me up 3 times in the middle of the night a few days before, and the same scripture immediately popped into my head each time: 2 cor. 11:3. So, that is what I ministered on, even to the point of tears. I even prayed humbly before hand: “God if these manifestations are from you, I bless them, but if not, I ask you to forbid them from happening.” Only one woman at the meeting showed any signs of manifestation. It was a very difficult message to give, and I dont know how it was received overall, though I did get one FB message from someone there who said it was very timely. But by the next week, I could see on FB that they basically were back to the same exact mentality: Church is a bar of joy, and the HS is our bartender. All I can do is pray. I feel that I did what God told me to do.

  70. Craig says:

    Your comment reminds me of a passage from Kurt Koch’s book Occult A-B-C. I’ll just copy and paste verbiage from another article:

    Kurt Koch relates that [William] Branham was limited in his healing: “if my angel does not give the sign, I cannot heal.”42 The following, in his book Occult A-B-C, provides more indication of occultism:

    Another evidence [of spiritistic (occult) healing] is the fact that…Branham [was unable] to perform cures when faced with born-again Christians who had committed themselves to the protection of [Jesus] Christ…When he [Branham] spoke in Karlsruhe and Lausanne, there were several believers in the audience – including myself – who prayed along these lines: “Lord, if this man’s powers are from You, then bless and use him, but if the healing gifts are not from You, then hinder him.” The result? On both occasions Branham said from the platform, “There are disturbing powers here, I can do nothing.” 43

    This is not unlike an account as related by Constance Cumbey regarding New Ager Benjamin Crème in an incident after he spoke at a gathering. Following Cumbey’s praying aloud of the “Lord’s Prayer” while the other attendees were praying The Great Invocation – essentially a prayer to the New Age Christ, or antichrist – the expected “overshadowing” by ‘Maitreya the Christ’ did not manifest itself in Crème and he dismissed the crowd with, “That will be all.”

    Praise God that you were able to get the message out. I’m sure there was at least one in the audience who ‘got it’.

  71. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Jeffrey Daniel and Craig,

    I have also prayed the same way in my church situation. But be careful of the potential deception here. God makes it plain in 2 Thess. 2:12 and other passages that He Himself will bring a strong delusions so that they will believe a lie because they refuse the truth. I have prayed, but have heard the deception out of my pastor anyway. (I have also prayed that if the pastor speaks it, it won’t take root in the heart of the true sheep.)

    If you pray that way, and the manifestations occur anyway, it does NOT mean that they are from God in a Godly, glorifying way so that you are free to believe. No doubt God had mercy in your situation, Cumbey’s and Koch’s because it was not His timing. But the days are coming when He will allow the delusion anyway.

  72. Yes,

    Spanish town, I agree with you. And I also know not to read to deeply into it, because it could lead to spiritual pride on my part “look how powerful my prayer was.” I want to think with sober judgment of myself and these things. There are so many commands for us to be sober minded. I found a video yesterday of John Crowder teaching about a year ago at the same church where I ministered, and during that he is touching a woman I know innappropriately, IMO, and someone else in the meeting is also crawling around the floor during the service, while others are launching paper airplanes. It seems this place has no discernment and will allow anyone to teach there. That is humbling. lol.

    But seriously, it is frightening what is happening in these days. I am encountering so much false doctrine and weird things just in the last few months, from Hebrew Roots garbage to weird manifestations. As I said, I am a full time missionary in Latvia. please pray for me and my wife, as we are living daily trying to earnestly contend for the faith.
    Craig, thanks again.
    As I told some of you before too, I will potentially be meeting Bill Johnson with an opportunity to minister at the same event. I was contacted again by the person coordinating it. When the subject of him came up, I spoke honestly, and they seemed open to my opinion. Namely, that BJ was beginning to teach some dangerous things and that his school emphasized the supernatural way too much. Specifically, I raised issue with his Christology and about how dangerous this is to start to think wrongly about Jesus. They told me I would have an opportunity to ask him about these things. Please pray for me. I want to do this with the fear of God upon me.

  73. just1ofhis says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it will be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matt 10:19-20)

    When God starts speaking through you, you will see their fruits more clearly…whether they are good or bad.

    In John 8, starting at verse 31, Jesus starts addressing those Jews who “had believed in Him”.

    “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31)

    The true disciples of the LORD were NOT defined by those who “had believed in Jesus” but by those who “held to His teaching”. By the end of John 8, these people “who had believed in Him” tried to stone Him. When did they try to stone Him? When He openly declared who He is:

    “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8: 58)

    The last half of John 8 makes for a really good Bible study of what is going on in many of these “churches”. It helped me understand better how it is that people who profess to believe in and love the Lord Jesus really hate Him in truth. They hate Him, because they hate His Word AS IT IS GIVEN. They hate Him, because they do not want to learn from Him and be washed in His Word. They hate Him, because they love the world. They hate Him, because they love their own lives and want for themselves. They profess belief in Him, but they do not hold to His teachings.

    We all need to test ourselves against these words to see if we are really “in faith” or not.

    Praying for you and believing that God will supply all that is required….

  74. just1ofhis ,

    you don’t know how timely your word is. Just in the past few days I have been in a rather intense dialogue on Facebook. I noticed an event back in my hometown hosted by two young men who are advertizing, “Come get slammed by God’s presence” etc. When I looked into it, I found that one of them is a close associate of John Crowder. I questioned what they were advertizing from scripture, and one of them erased all I had said and blocked me.My heart breaks because I see people I know personally and love going blindly to this event. I do believe these two young men may actually be preaching the true gospel at this point, but are headed for deception. Once we start mixing paganism with God’s ways and lowering him to our standards we are headed for trouble and eventually will have another gospel.

    But I tried to sound the alarm. I raised my objections about Crowder and the witchcraft, sorcery and sensuality he promotes, and it all seemed mostly to fall on deaf ears. They could not understand how I could call him a false prophet, even though I clearly pointed out how he was teaching things completely contrary to the word. I was warning the young men who were holding the conference as well as my friends,. We cannot make the HS our bartender, for that is idolatry. We cannot worship God however we like, nor manipulate the Holy Spirit. The biblical ignorance and willingness to just ignore and even despise sound doctrine broke my heart. I came home just now from town in much sorrow, questioning everything I had written. Was it in the right heart? Did I show love? Did I use the right method? I don’t know how to answer all these questions, but I know I cannot get to worked up by the situation or people’s reaction. I know that my spirit is provoked within me at the idolatry just like it was in Paul in acts 17. I am zealous for God’s house and His truth.

    Anyways, your words brought me comfort. Anytime I try to bring a correction or objection I tend to get very worked up, more than I should. I am praying for more wisdom of such things. I know sounding the alarm was right, just not that I fully did it correctly, though I asked a brother on FB I trust to keep me accountable. He said he found nothing wrong with anything I had to say or the way I said it, and said it was very sound and solid, and said that their defenses of their actions and doctrine were very impotent.

    Still, I want more of God’s fear in me, and I want more knowledge of the Holy. I know I am called specifically into this sphere-God has made me and raised me to be someone who confronts wickedness in such ways, just as Paul did- but I struggle to carry it rightly. I know we are all called to expose the works of darkness, but I do feel a special calling I cannot fully explain. It is a constant struggle. I think of someone like Art Katz. If any of you know him, maybe you can identify with what I am saying. Thanks for the prayers.

  75. IWTT says:

    “…and during that he is touching a woman I know innappropriately, IMO, and someone else in the meeting is also crawling around the floor during the service, while others are launching paper airplanes. It seems this place has no discernment and will allow anyone to teach there. That is humbling. lol.”

    Probably the same issues with the church in Corinth that Paul had to speak to them about. They were being chastised for their foolishness…. nothing new under the sun..huh?

  76. IWTT says:

    Specifically, I raised issue with his Christology and about how dangerous this is to start to think wrongly about Jesus. They told me I would have an opportunity to ask him about these things. Please pray for me. I want to do this with the fear of God upon me.

    WILL I EVER BE PRAYING for you on that. It’s not the first time nor the last time someone has confronted him in person on these issues.

    When does this occur…

  77. Craig says:

    Sorry, the site has been down for the past 6 hours or thereabouts (at least from a management end), so I could not release any comments.

  78. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    …I came home just now from town in much sorrow, questioning everything I had written. Was it in the right heart? Did I show love? Did I use the right method? I don’t know how to answer all these questions, but I know I cannot get to worked up by the situation or people’s reaction…Anytime I try to bring a correction or objection I tend to get very worked up, more than I should. I am praying for more wisdom of such things. …

    I understand this completely, as that was me when I first started blogging about 6 years ago. I try hard to post comments in a neutral fashion, and I know I’ve generally gotten better over the years, even though there are times when I fall short of the mark. Confronting this stuff head-on is as difficult as it is necessary.

    You mentioned Art Katz. I only know OF him, by some of his words and the kind words of others. However, his discernment was certainly lacking, as evidenced by his enthusiastic support of Bill Britton in the Foreword to the biography Prophet on Wheels: The Life Story of Bill Britton. Katz called him “the Watchman Nee of the Ozarks”.

    Speaking of Britton, here’s an interesting quote. It’s the last few sentences from a booklet titled The Creative Word of the Prophetic Church (the name pretty much says it all) [p 16; emphasis added]:

    …So let me simply say that the word we are to speak will defeat every foe, and change man’s unbelieving mind. For you see, this word of God will be so powerful, and delivered with such great anointing, that men will not be able to resist it. Folks, the word of the Lord is in our mouths. We are walking epistles. Let us recognize the power of our words!

    Of course, I’ve also quoted, from another booklet, explicit MSoG in the article previous to this one.

  79. I think Art Katz was a true servant of God, and I believe his life and work reflect that. I would not want to be judged by all I have ever written, or said, and I am certainly glad God doesn’t refuse me salvation on that basis! We’d all be in trouble.

    While we must test all things, we also can do it without picking apart the saints of God. We just “hold to what is good” and reject what is not. Many Saints have weaknesses, and even those with very good discernment don’t always get it right. I don’t think even his quote about Britton is necessarily proof of bad discernment. Maybe just bad judge of character, etc. but who hasn’t been fooled by those claiming to be brothers. Even Paul had these instances as evidenced by the 6 or so people he mentioned in 2 timothy. Did Paul have bad discernment then?

    Anyways, how we deal with outright apostates is another matter. And you know this, but just a friendly reminder. Grace in all things. Keep up the good work.

  80. just1ofhis says:

    In 2 Timothy 1, Paul called out Phygelus and Hermogenes as having deserted him in his need. Paul saw fit to call out their behavior in unflattering light.

    In the same chapter, Paul spoke of Onesiphorus as one who helped him and was “unashamed of my chains”. He spoke very positively of this faithful brother in the LORD and prayed for blessing for him.

    In 2 Timothy 2, Paul called out Hymenaeus and Philetus as having wandered away from the faith by teaching that the resurrection had already taken place. Again, he spoke very unflatteringly of them, implying that they were “articles of wood and clay” in the house for “ignoble” purposes.

    In 2 Timothy 4, Paul mentioned a Demas who deserted him “because he loved this world”. He also warned Timothy to watch out for Alexander the metalworker who did him great harm and “strongly opposed our message”. The other people mentioned were simply not with him at the moment and there is not an indication that they had “fallen away” or were “false brothers”.

    The only one who had never been a believer was Alexander the metalworker.

    We don’t know if Phygelus and Hermogenes walked away from the faith or simply didn’t help Paul in the way that he thought they should. Paul was once very angry with Mark for not doing what Paul thought he should, and we know that Mark did not fall away from the faith.

    Hymenaeus and Philetus are listed as having “wandered away from the faith”, so we can assume that they were believers at one point.

    I don’t see in 2 Timothy any indication that Paul had been fooled by false brothers, or that Paul had shown poor discernment in his relationships with any of them.

    Paul called out bad behavior where he witnessed it, praised what was good and right, and named fallen teachers by name. It seems to me, rather, that Paul was using God-given/Holy Spirit led discernment to draw some important distinctions in both behavior and doctrine.

  81. IWTT says:

    “…I think Art Katz was a true servant of God, and I believe his life and work reflect that. I would not want to be judged by all I have ever written, or said, and I am certainly glad God doesn’t refuse me salvation on that basis! We’d all be in trouble….”

    I read this at a recent forum I belong to… it was in regards to judging especially between non essential and the essentials of salvation…

    Here’s a coupla problems.
    I hold folks who have been around for years much more accountable than poor brother Lemuel Dinsfritter who’s been saved for about 45 minutes. It’s not always a simple formulaic matter to discern how much somebody SHOULD know by now. That’s number one.

    I would also say that there’s a difference between questioning somebody’s salvation and whether they should be considered teachers that I would send somebody to sit under. Somebody might be actually regenerate and yet in enough error to disqualify them from ministry in some cases. I am not ready for instance to say that EVERY last proponent of theistic “christian” evolution is bound for the lake of fire just for that belief alone, but I sure do not consider them legitimate teachers of the gospel.

    What do we do with oneness people who fully proclaim the deity of Jesus Christ and have every other essential doctrine correct, but hold to a modalistic Godhead?

    How strict a view of inerrancy do we demand before somebody is considered a brother or sister? Must they be unqualified plenary verbalists before going to heaven? What of those believers who never saw a bible or even knew what books were in the canon before there was one or before the reformation when almost nobody had the scriptures except the clergy? What of those in Islamic countries or N. Korea who only know what they’ve been verbally told and believe in our Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, but wouldn’t know how to make heads or tails about a quiz of essential doctrines?

    It’s simply not possible to make list of essential doctrines and declare anybody not adhering to every point on the list to be a heathen. Of course there ARE some doctrines without which there is no saving gospel at all and that therefore MUST be held even by brother Dinsfritter or he is not a Christian. There are also some who should be barred form communion and shunned even though we may think they are true believers in rebellion.

    Also of absolutely primary importance is one’s ATTITUDE toward sound doctrine. I’ve known people for whom great pain was involved in admitting that their whole family was in heresy and didn’t’ want to do it. They must be dealt with differently than some who just want to “love Jesus” and couldn’t tell you which testament half the books were in though they’ve been in church for years.

    I am NO liberal. xxxxx will be shaking her head “no he certainly is not”. We just need to be careful is all I’m saying. An article like Patton’s that will clearly comfort heretics is not a desirable thing though.

    WHAT ABOUT SIN? How do we handle what sins in what degrees, at what levels of publicity and severity. Moral church discipline in other words.

    Ya know what the lesson is here? Only those called to be officers in the church better dare assume that responsibility in ecclesiastical practice.

  82. just1ofhis says:

    “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” (Eph 4:14)

    IWTT, I agree with you….I think it is important to distinguish between “sheep” and “shepherds” in this regard. It is also why it is so important that people become deeply rooted in the Word; and we need to, by example of our very lives, encourage this in every sense.

    I was tossed back and forth in the extreme when I was a babe in my faith. Praise God for His long-suffering and patience with me, even now, to give me time to grow in my faith. Even Jezebel in the book of Revelation was given a chance to repent. That is sobering, and it is a good thing to be reminded of.

    But Jezebel’s fate was not good, neither was the fate of those who “tolerated” her without repenting. Also a good thing to be reminded of.

    We, unfortunately, live in a day with many experts, books, cds, dvds, programs, doctrines, etc. etc. etc., much (not all) of it the very stuff of “cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” doing nothing but confusing and leading astray the body of Christ. Those who by the act of selling “stuff” in the name of Jesus have professed their own expertise. They have held themselves up, and we are right to hold them up to the light of scripture with all the Berean diligence that we can muster.

    How much more effective would the church be if folks simply gave people the Gospel, IN ITS SIMPLICITY, and held to it firmly as truth and through the example of their own lives?

  83. just1ofhis says:

    IWTT, I would add to that: The Bible tells us that God is faithful even when men are not. There rests my hope for many, many people who are sitting in fallen churches.

    I had a once dear friend who happens to attend a very conservative protestant church (WELS–the most conservative of the Lutheran churches, which we attended for a time) spend an hour on the phone going after me for the fact that we were not “taking communion” from the hands of a “pastor”. She did not believe that we would be forgiven our sins, unless we routinely kneeled at an altar and took communion from the hands of an ordained pastor. We are not “taking communion” from the hands of a “pastor”, because my children were bullied in that church.

    I don’t, for a minute, doubt her heart or her salvation; she, however, doubts mine on both counts.

    I will absolutely stand against a doctrine that says that I am only saved if I routinely take communion from the hands of an ordained minister. That would mean that my salvation depends on my works in some way. We take communion to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ until the day of His return.

    That said, I don’t believe that she is condemned because she believes this. I know her to be a very devoted follower of Jesus Christ. She just happens to have been schooled for years as to a particular “doctrine of men”. So what is the problem? She believes that I am condemned if I don’t follow this particular doctrine. And that has led to a separation between us.

    Do we put up with the doctrine to keep peace with men? I love this woman dearly, and the separation pains me greatly. Should I let my children grow up as she did, believing that they would only be forgiven if a pastor gave them communion routinely? Who determines how often is enough?

    If you want to look at a place to draw a line of separation, look to works. Works is the basis for or at least a part of every false doctrine and misleading lie told by men. There is always, always going to be a form of “DO” to the false teachings of men.

    imo, we can warn and teach against the doctrines, and love the people who adhere to them at the same time.

  84. Carolyn says:

    Craig: You quoted from podcast “Also, at 10:16 – 17:00 (+ or -) Johnson is hinting at the fact that Christ will put all things under HIS feet means that ‘believers’ will do same. I always just dismissed this particular doctrine in hyper-charismaticism in general as a misreading of 1 Cor 15:23-25; however, it finally hit me – in hyper-charismatic terms WE ARE CHRIST! And this lines up with New Age ideology (see the last two quotes immediately preceding the Conclusion)”

    I was just going over the podcast again.

    His premise…”God is always calling us higher”. BJ is telling us to “think” from the throne or rule from the throne or ascend to the throne but he twists it a little to make it a little more palatable for Christian consumption…Same old lie though:
    Isaiah 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
    14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

    I was taking notice of how he uses the Scripture in typical MSoG/Bill Johnson fashion…to exalt us in the present, before God has completed his work in us. He proposes to bring heaven to earth and earth to heaven before it’s time…before God’s conditions of enduring hardship have been met, before the the completion of obedience and suffering has had it’s perfect work in us and before our relationship with Christ has been established through walking the narrow road and giving up our lives on this earth to gain eternal life. Yes, he mentions death, but only gives it lip service. He’s really talking only of gain and glory in the here and now.

    Here are some of the Scriptures he misrepresents to bring the future into the present…before its time. What they actually say:

    Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

    Col 3:3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
    2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
    3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
    4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

    Your quote again, Craig: “And the latter part of the above (“…kingdom has always been present…”) I see as the Johnson (and hyper-charismatic) idea that the spiritual is ‘reality’, with the goal to “bring heaven to earth” merely to recognize that heaven is ALREADY HERE – we just need to apprehend it.”

    I agree…his timing is off and his reality is off. Contrary to what he says, the fact is that we are not there yet in real time. And that fact IS our reality. We are called to walk the earth, in humility establishing a relationship with our Saviour Jesus Christ, not projecting ourselves up to the throne of God. If we would just read the Scriptures above by the light of the Holy Spirit without the “spiritual”, imaginative guidance and spin put on by Bill Johnson, (and his spirit guide) we would never hear these sort of things from the real Holy Spirit. It’s another “big idea” from the corrupted mind of a false teacher…sadly…

  85. As a believer, and teacher, I want to encourage the weak, and absolutely destroy the confidence of the self assured. :)

    I stand by what I said about Art Katz. He had his faults, but was a man of God and a good teacher in many regards. I consider “Apostolic Foundations” to be a phenomenal book, and many of his sermons are also outstanding, particularly his teachings on the “Spirit of Truth.”

    Like Paul, he did not always get everything right in life. We see later that Paul asked for John Mark to be sent because he was useful in ministry. I think at first he was completely wrong about the man, and it took Barnabas encouragement to bring out what was good in him. IT doesn';t mean it wasn’t there and that PAul was using good judgment.There is a lesson in that. I think Paul’s discernment there was off, maybe the “anger” you speak about clouded his judgment. I think a similar case can be made about some of the people he mentions in 2 timothy. But let’s just move on. Paul had faults. That is clear. It does not change the fact that all the scripture he wrote was inspired, but I clearly recognize some faults he had from reading Acts, etc. He was a man, like we are. The word is about God’s grace, and in fact that is a major reason God chose Paul for the work, to show His grace that he could use the “chief of sinners,” a blasphemer and persecuter of the church.

    We know all this, but I choose to look at all the wonderful things Paul did, just like Art Katz. Of course, you can’t make an argument that Paul taught false doctrine while you could of Art. But just like I will imitate Paul as he imitated Christ, so will I do with Art or any other Godly man. Where they differ, I won’t. Having this view doesn’t mean I idolize the man. And I don’t think I do.

  86. just1ofhis says:

    Carolyn,

    “Isaiah 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
    14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

    Kenneth Copeland, “I am too”.

    Bill Johnson, “same Christ-anointing as Jesus”

    Word of Faith in general: “you are little gods/God begets gods”

    satan: “I will be like the most High”

    new age in general: “you are recognizing the god/Christ within”

    An old lie, indeed….

  87. Craig says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    I don’t for one second doubt your sincerity. Nor did I think that you are/were idolizing Art Katz. I was merely pointing out his lack of discernment in at least one area, specifically Bill Britton. I’ll return to this in a bit, but first I wish to provide two other examples of others who were similarly misled:

    1) Ernie Gruen. In the beginning of 1990, as the controversy between Gruen and Bickle/Kansas City Fellowship was coming to a head, Gruen suggested what would have been essentially a heresy trial. He suggested a dozen leaders within (hyper-)charismaticism, including Earl Paulk(!) and others with questionable doctrine to preside over this hearing. Paulk was one of the most blatant of the MSoG/Word of Faith/Latter Rain teachers in the history of hyper-charismaticism. I know because I have many of his books. I’ve quoted from Paulk’s books a few times on this site, including the most recent Kris Vallotton article. Yet Gruen went on to expose Kansas City Fellowship and all its aberrations, false doctrines, and outright heresies (see here: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/did-ernie-gruen-recant-his-%e2%80%98aberrant-practices%e2%80%99-document-regarding-kansas-city-fellowshipgrace-ministries/ ).

    2) Leonard Ravenhill. Many cite him as one who preached repeatedly and with fervency on repentance and holiness. I personally know of an individual who was at Bickle’s Kansas City Fellowship pre-1990 who remarked how refreshing it was when Ravenhill preached there and/or at conferences. Yet Ravenhill shared the platform with some of the worst offenders of false doctrine in hyper-charismaticism, including the likes of Paul Cain and Bob Jones. And he himself had stated some questionable things (I provided some videos of his promotion of Paul Cain, among other things here: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/your-assistance-requested-seeking-original-audiovideo-of-kansas-city-fellowshipgrace-ministries/#comments )

    Now going back to Katz and his endorsement of Britton. I didn’t wish to write at length what was written in the Britton biography foreword, as I thought the point was made well enough by providing examples of Britton’s very obviously false doctrine; however, now I’ll provide a bit more. In Katz’ foreword he admits he “was not among those who constituted an inner circle of friends, but rather of the thousands of younger men in the Lord who passed in and out of Brother Bill’s life in conferences, meetings and social calls who benefited greatly by his writings and personal warmth and interest…” By his admission, Katz was familiar with his writings.

    Was he familiar with Britton’s MSoG teachings? Yes, he was; or at least perhaps he didn’t fully understand MSoG. Later in the foreword, he praises some of his teachings including, “[t]he concepts of sonship, of Jesus as the Pattern Son, of corporateness, of Eagle Saints have found their indelible mark in the consciousness and walking-out of our generation through the pen of this anointed scribe, this (as I referred to him at this gravesite service) ‘Watchman Nee of the Ozarks’!” While there is, of course, a legitimate meaning of ‘sonship’, Britton used this in an MSoG manner, with Jesus as the “Pattern Son”, just as Alice Bailey (and Bill Johnson) had done.

    In Constance Cumbey’s 1985 book A Planned Deception (her 2nd book, a follow-up to the first), she specifically mentions both Britton and Earl Paulk as MSoG teachers noting MSoG’s similarity to Alice Bailey (see pp 172-174). Britton’s biography came out in 1987. She notes how many in the New Age Movement were straddling fences, appearing to be Christian yet working towards New Age goals. I would most definitely put both Britton and Paulk in that group, though I cannot be sure either way on Katz.

    While I don’t make the mistake of portraying the first century Apostles as sort of demigods who could practically do no wrong, I feel quite sure the Apostle Paul would’ve recognized the dangerous false doctrines of Bill Britton. That Katz obviously supported Britton, to the point of speaking highly of him at his gravesite service and writing the Foreword to his biography, most definitely speaks of his poor discernment in this regard – at the very least.

    ‘Nuff said.

  88. just1ofhis says:

    “She notes how many in the New Age Movement were straddling fences, appearing to be Christian yet working towards New Age goals.”

    When the ELCA voted to implement their very liberal and scripture bending “Doctrine on Human Sexaulity” a few years ago, there were many folks in that church (a few who I am related to) who were completely taken by surprise. Some of the very people sent to represent them had gone and voted with an agenda all their own that did not reflect the wishes of the people they were supposed to be representing. I have heard multiple testimonies of “plants” in the “church” put there to bring about “liberal (i.e., “new age”) ideas. While this is nothing but hearsay, I found it interesting.

    Some time ago I also heard an interview with a New Age Occultist who had a high position in a very large denominational church who called that “her assignment”. I long ago lost that link, but it also was interesting.

  89. Craig says:

    I’ll add that I have a copy of Britton’s booklet Jesus the Pattern Son. Opening the book ‘at random’ – I’m always amazed when this happens – I find the following:

    …This anointing of the two witnesses is when the Glory of God (Jesus) fills the entire Temple of God (Body of Christ, the Overcomer) so that Truth and Life may flow out of the Temple to edify, strengthen and comfort those that mourn in Zion, the City of God (the Bride of Christ, the travailing Woman). Oh, beloved, this is not fantasy or a play upon words – this is actually going to happen, and God is even now getting us ready for this glorious event. Picture, if you will, a group of people spread out across the world, sold out to Jesus, crying and travailing before God for the desperate need of the world. Suddenly, He appears! Not to everyone, but to those who are looking for Him. And, He appears unto full salvation! Not to run away with us to hide from the battle of the day of the Lord, but to anoint us and fill us with His glory and power and the fullness of His Spirit! And by the act of His appearance this group, of people are made one body, separated by many miles of flesh, but joint to One Head, and operating under the same divine command. Suddenly the world sees Jesus again in the flesh, as He manifests himself through these thousands of saints simultaneously around the world. And if hell was shaken, if thrones and principalities toppled and fell, in one body, then think what it will be when He manifests that same Life through thousands at the same time. Blasphemy? Oh no, it’s the promise of God’s eternal Word, and it shall not fail!…[p 37; all as per original]

    That is NO DOUBT MSoG, and it’s practically what Johnson was stating in his “Thinking from the Throne” message. The “travailing Woman” is the birth of the man-child teaching, which is MSoG speak for the simultaneous thousands of “Jesuses” all over the world.

    I also have a copy of Britton’s His Unlimited Glory!, a library copy from GRACE TRAINING CENTER, formerly a part of a Bickle pre-IHOP ‘church’.

  90. Craig,

    I don’t wish to belabor this point any more, but I also want to say, I may be “sharing a platform” with Bill Johnson in a few months. This in no way means I will be endorsing the man, it merely means I will go and preach to people the gospel if I feel God wants me to, under those circumstances. I may in fact, preach something that completely goes against what he teaches, I don’t know. For me the plan is simple-obey God. Of course I am concerned it could look like an endorsement of the man, so that will be a factor, but it is not in any way an explicit endorsement to me. Now, if I stand up and commend him for this and that, or if I consistently shared a platform with him, it would be another matter.

    Concerning something you wrote in this article, I want to say I was just debating one of John Crowder’s adherents about Collosians 2:9, my point was adamantly to assert that we do NOT have the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in us. I kept trying to point to scripture that affirms this, but the man kept saying, “are you saying God only comes as 10%? or 50%? No, God can only come as 100% God. You don’t get part of a person, when they come to you.” I kept asserting that sure you do, because the more we surrender in our lives, the more we make space for God. It is true of our possessions as much as it is of our spiritual matters. But I just could not get through to this person. Does anyone have any suggestions here?

  91. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    As to your first paragraph, of course, I agree. If you were continually “sharing a platform” with Johnson, it could look as though you were endorsing him. But, therein is the key, “continually”, and also, more important, would be if you were to actually ‘yes and amen’ what he said.

    As to Colossians 2:9, this pertains strictly to Jesus, as this is a reiteration of verse 1:19 (take special note of the immediate context). If one wishes to misconstrue the remainder of chapter 2 as if Christians are equal to Christ, said individual(s) should be reminded of Galatians 5:16-26, in which Paul commands us to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh, obviously pointing out that Christians still retain the human sin nature at conversion. (Of course, some may actually agree with this by positing that Jesus also had the sin nature, yet by relying upon the Spirit remained sinless.)

    Yet, we do have the fullness of God within us, as we don’t receive only a partial Holy Spirit; however, we yet still retain our independence, we retain our human sinful nature which can at any time rebel against the leading of the Spirit within us. While Jesus Christ was/is 100% God, yet 100% man (with no sin nature), we are most definitely NOT. This is where the lines get blurred in hyper-charismaticism and occultism. From a Christian orthodox perspective, the eternal Word began a new mode of existence as Jesus Christ, by taking on human flesh at the virginal conception. This in no way diminished His deity/divinity. From that point and forward, Jesus Christ was the Word made flesh. Yet, Scripturally, it appears He also had the Holy Spirit. Without waxing too theological, we must accept the most important fact, and that is that Jesus Christ is 100% God. We, on the other hand, are not, as we still retain the human sin nature we were born with. At no point do we EVER become “the fullness of Deity (Christ) in bodily form”, as if we are 100% deity and 0% humanity.

    To state another way, at conversion we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is 100% God/Deity. Therefore, at the very moment of conversion, the new Christian is indwelt with 100% of Deity (justification). Yet, of course, the process of sanctification is just beginning, as the new convert should make every effort (yes, his/her own effort) to submit to the Spirit. Theoretically, and hopefully, one who has been ‘in the faith’ for 10 years should be living a life more obviously ‘Christian’ than the brand new convert. However, and this is the key here, the Christian of 10 years does not become any more Deity than the convert of one hour, any more than even the non-Christian. While Christians receive the Holy Spirit, we do not actually become in any manner, shape, or form, actual Deity.

    Going back to Johnson, as per this article, the more ‘innocuous’ meaning of Johnson’s claim equating the Jesus Christ of Colossians 2:9 to the believer, would be that Jesus is ‘merely’ indwelt with the Spirit and not actually 100% Divine Himself. Given that, then the new believer would be equal to Jesus, as the new believer now has the same Spirit as Jesus. And given Johnson’s other teachings, this position makes the most sense. However, if Johnson (or Crowder, etc.) means that we actually become full Deity as Jesus Christ was full Deity (fully God and fully man), then, in my estimation, this is worse.

    I hope I explained this in a manner you can use. There’s no doubt it’s difficult to put into words.

  92. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    I suppose the most important thing to ascertain is just what the individual understands about the Person of Jesus Christ. I’d start there. See if s/he understands that Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, i.e., the eternal Word began a new mode of existence at the virginal conception as Jesus Christ. That is, the unique eternally divine Word added to Himself human flesh, thus the already (from ‘eternity past’) divine Word became God-in-the-flesh. Reiterate that fact that the Word became flesh at conception, and NOT, like the occultists teach, when the Christ Spirit descended upon Him following His baptism in the Jordan.

  93. Carolyn says:

    Just 1of his…yes, when I first heard BJ’s title “think” from the right hand of god” I thought, wow…sounds familiar. Since I grew through all the MSoG teaching, I’d recognize it quite easily. I also recognize how when you start listening to the interpretations and the logical twists of a false teacher, they can win you over…because to the mind it makes sense.

    So if someone likes Bill Johnson and “appreciates” his charm…they will end up with a relationship with Bill Johnson but not with Jesus Christ. Christ’s teachings are diabolically opposed to Bill Johnson’s teachings and if you put in the time to even study the parables of Jesus you will find out just how different. When Christ says to those who did miracles and prophesied “I never knew you” it will be because they ignored his teachings and went for Bill Johnson’s instead…or any other multitude of false teachers…take your pick…

    Jeffrey Daniels, hi…I’ll take a stab at your question about percentage of God in us:

    First…this is a perfect example of taking an isolated scripture and embellishing it:

    Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

    THEN: jumping to the logical??? conclusion that since Christ is in us, then the Godhead is in us

    whereas is context he is talking about our wisdom being found in Christ, who is God and so we should be subject to Christ and not the vain principles of men (flesh), the world, the devil

    Col. 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
    21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
    22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
    23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
    3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
    2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
    3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

    Secondly, God has put his spirit as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come. If we continue in our faith, we will reap the promise of eternal life. I picked up on what Bill Johnson said at one point, that there was so much of God in him, it must be must be leaking out of him *euphoria building*….what is that???

    God is a person. The Holy Spirit is a person. He doesn’t come in 50%….or 100%…he comes in nature and character and identity. To speculate on percentage is not even close to how we should be thinking. He wants us to know him, to experience who he is, what his will is for us, to understand his plans and purposes. He wants our submission, our obedience our trust. He wants Christ’s character to be formed in us. This is the knowledge that we should be seeking after, the knowledge that one comes to find in a close walk with God

    …not the chills and thrills that the average fleshly appetite pursues.

    Thirdly, if it is a relationship that God requires, then we must know the terms of the relationship we are seeking. We can know about God, but that won’t be what matters in the end. It is necessary to know God himself. All these strange teachings by leaders with Big Ideas is filling up our limited space, our time, our minds and we are not getting to know the teachings of Christ. We are being distracted, beguiled and deceived. Someone has said that “A profession of faith is to salvation, what an introduction is to a relationship.”

    We have been introduced to Christ. Now let’s progress in the relationship.

  94. Thanks, that is very helpful. I must concede that where a lot of confusion comes in for me is knowing the distinction between flesh and sinful nature (old man) I still battle with this, as scripture is not always clear. It becomes particularly important when contending for the faith against those with over-realized eschatology, and their thinking that we can do whatever we want, and nothing can break our union with Christ. It also can be difficult just to tell the average believer why they have to crucify the flesh if we have already been crucified with Christ.

    Anyways, I would like to know if anyone here has read “mystic Union” by Crowder, or knows of any specific error that is in it. This is where most people ion this camp seem to be getting this idea that we can “never do anything to break our union with Christ.”

    I don’t mean to step on the toes of any of you here who believe in eternal security, btw. let’s not go down that road. I am not a Calvinist, but I have respect for my brothers in Christ who are.

  95. Carolyn says:

    Craig, I also wanted to say that I liked what you had to say about 100% deity…
    “Without waxing too theological, we must accept the most important fact, and that is that Jesus Christ is 100% God. We, on the other hand, are not, as we still retain the human sin nature we were born with. At no point do we EVER become “the fullness of Deity (Christ) in bodily form”, as if we are 100% deity and 0% humanity.”

    …and the rest is good as well.

    I guess one point I think is being made is that we retain our own identity here and now until the revelation when we shall be like him. And another point is we will never be deity. We are not Christ. We are not Christ consciousness. We are not God. Our identity has been hidden in Christ. But when we see him we shall be changed, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.

    Going back to what Bill Johnson said about “leaking”…it may have been said half jokingly, but at the same time, he meant it because that’s the way they tend to think of the Holy Spirit…as a force occupying space rather than a person come to dwell in character and nature.

    One more point is that the Holy Spirit has come to point to Christ. Any time you have a “Holy Spirit” that is drawing attention to himself…that’s a big clue that it’s not the real Holy Spirit.

  96. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    The way I read Scripture, we never take leave of our sinful nature this side of receiving our imperishable bodies. That is, even though we have, in a sense, been “crucified with Christ”, we still retain that same old sin nature, and at any time we can choose to allow our sin nature to come out in any given situation or we can choose to submit to the Spirit. This is Paul’s struggle in Romans 7 (not, as some like to say, that Paul is contrasting his old self with his new self in Romans 8). So, the only difference between any true Christian and the non-Christian, with respect to the sin nature, is the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    I’ve not read any of Crowder’s works. For me, he is so far from Biblical Christianity that I didn’t feel the need to even give a cursory look at his books. But, what you are describing is what has been termed “hyper-grace”, that is, the idea that once we (presumably) receive the Spirit through our belief in Jesus Christ we can do anything we like and yet never lose our ‘salvation’. Yet, any true Christian will have that nudge of the Spirit guiding us back towards Truth and holy living. We can ignore Him (the Holy Spirit) for a time, but he’ll always be prodding us. The true Christian would never live a consistent lifestyle of sin. If one goes down this route, then one should wonder if s/he is really in the faith [2 Corinthians 13:5-10].

  97. Craig says:

    One other thing I’d like to add about the Person of Jesus Christ. His human nature/body never existed on its own, i.e., there was never a time when there was a human nature/body known as Jesus separate and apart from the Word, the 2nd ‘Person’ of the Trinity. Otherwise, we’d have adoptionism (or possession) in which the eternal Word assumed a human person known as Jesus. It’s important to conceptualize the Word becoming flesh at the moment of the virginal conception. That is, the ever-existing eternal Word joined a non-preexisting human nature/body (if one can call a human in embryonic stage, or as a zygote {whatever the proper biological terminology would be}, a ‘body’) at the very moment of the virginal conception. To state differently, while the Word preexisted, the human form did not, only coming into existence at conception, when the Holy Spirit ‘overshadowed’ Mary [Luke 1:35].

    With this in mind, one could rightly claim that Jesus Christ began His existence, as per our temporal realm, at a specific point in time because, while the Word, on the other hand, was/is eternal with no beginning and no end. Stated another way, the Word has unbounded eternality, with no beginning and no ending point, while the human part of Jesus Christ is eternal only as to never-ending, though there was a distinct beginning to His existence.

    I know this may seem heretical if one has not ever thought this through, but I assure you this is 100% orthodoxy Christianity. This also does not preclude what are known as Theopanies aka Christophanies, that is, OT examples of the preincarnate Christ, such as the fourth man in the fiery furnace [Daniel 3:25]. This is because of the relationship between the temporal realm and the eternal realm (see article previous to this one).

  98. I think much of what Crowder says is Biblical(that’s what makes him dangerous), but it’s what he adds that makes him a complete heretic-like praying for bi-location, etc. You would be surprised by how many people think he is completely orthodox in doctrine, though “unconventional.” A number of my friends back in the states have recommended that book lately, which is what floors me, and some of them would listen to no reason from me in trying to expose him as a false teacher. (which leads to another question: at what point should we consider someone apostate?)

    Regarding Crowder, I think it would behoove you to address some of what he has said/is teaching, particularly that book, since it is gaining so much traction, despite his other quite ungodly behaviors. I am scratching my head at how people don’t run the other way from him. But some of these people are sincere believers who I think really love Jesus, they are just deceived by this wolf.

    I am curious now though, how do you see him as “so far from Biblical Christianity” in particular? Because I would love some clear concise, cogent points to defend that position from. I am frustrated by the scenario, and maybe because I just don’t know enough about him to elucidate the position. But, I also see how hyper-grace like thinking leads people open to recieving MORE false doctrine, since you can just shrug off anything errant by thinking, “well, he’s still a brother in Christ!”

    Which goes back to my earlier point: when is someone apostate, and how can we clearly point this out from scripture? Some things are obvious, lie denial of Jesus deity, but what are the finer, yet necessary essentials?

  99. also, regarding still having a “sin nature”: if the “old man (sin nature?) was crucified with Christ, how is it we still have one? doesn’t that mean Christ’s work was somehow deficient?

    Or, is it that there really is a clear distinction between the flesh and the sin nature, even though translations conflate these two terms causing confusing? Could it be that the sin nature is completely dead-crucified-and it is the flesh (arguably where the soul-mind, body, will or some combination thereof) resides we contend with? If our sin nature is completely dead, then why are we contending with it, and why do we still sin? IF not, then how is it really crucified with Christ (we have a new nature the word says). And what exactly (the flesh) are we crucifying daily?

  100. Craig says:

    Re: sin nature, read Romans 8:9-13:

    9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

    12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. [NASB]

    As Paul so often does, his message is to encourage. That is, he is giving them the benefit of the doubt ‘surely you don’t live by the sinful nature’. Yet, verses 12 and 13 make it clear that we can choose to live by the sinful nature or by the Spirit – we have that choice. We must crucify (“you must die”) our sinful nature by laying it at the foot of the Cross, and choosing to live by the Spirit instead.

    This in no way means Christ’s work was insufficient. It’s not like we can just effortlessly live a perfectly sinless life at the point of salvation. If anyone thinks this, they are very seriously deluded. I’m reminded of my fallenness quite often.

    I prefer the NIV’s way of handling “the flesh” by calling it the “sinful nature”. Yet, keep in mind that other versions use “the flesh” (Greek sarx) instead, as the NASB does above.

  101. Craig says:

    As regards Crowder, I’ve a feeling he DOES deny the deity of Christ in the same manner as Bill Johnson. Moreover, as the videos posted earlier demonstrate, Crowder cannot actually worship the same Jesus that I worship by “tokin’ the Ghost” and all that nonsense.

    I’m not sure I could label Crowder “apostate” either, as I don’t see evidence of him ever actually adhering to what I’d call the Christian faith. Perhaps he did before his ‘rise to fame (infamy)'; but, I don’t know. The book of Colossians is all about a syncretism (or a plurality of syncretisms), and this would be Crowder, at best.

    If you’re question then is at what point do we deem a person not a part of the Christian faith, that is, by what criteria, I’ll first state that no one is saved by perfect theology. Yet, if one is outright teaching a false Jesus Christ, such as He could not be called Christ until Baptism (and the whole “anointing” teaching), then I wouldn’t be confident in calling said teacher a Christian. If one just tells me (as has been done on this site before) “well, Johnson is a brother in Christ”, I’ll just ask them how they know for sure. They CANNOT know for sure any more that I can be absolutely certain Johnson is not a Christian. However, with such heretical and seemingly contradictory teachings I WILL NOT affirm that Bill Johnson is a Christian.

  102. Carolyn says:

    JD – Although I’m not as articulate as Craig, here’s my little creative rant on the way to deal with the sinful nature.

    Paul had the perfect asset to deal with his sin nature. He regarded himself as the chiefest of sinners. That in turn kept his attitude humble enough to never be in denial of the potential for it to subvert his walk with God.
    1 Corinthians 9:27
    But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

    And then James has the perfect antidote for the sinful nature…in particular to humble yourself, roll on the floor if necessary, turn yourself inside out in repentance and ask God to set you free from that terrible albatross…that wretched old man that you cannot get free from:
    James 4:7-9
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
    8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
    9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

    And of course, suffering and submission is the perfect key to end to all sin-nature-syncretism, opposing belief systems and/or mixtures of truth and error, be it “tokin the Ghost”, sinking in a religious quagmire of self satisfaction, hitchin a ride in the pride parade, surfing the third wave into dangerous glory tides, doing the hokey pokey with the Emergents or singing the latest anthem with NAR prophetic zeal “Blow the trumpet in Zion Zion…”

    Hebrews 5:7-9
    New International Version (NIV)
    7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

    See how different that is to the gospel of ascending the stairs to heaven, coveting the throne of the Lamb and thinking that we are God’s favourite?? When we set our minds on eternal things, things in heaven…we are making a choice to leave the pathways of empty, temporal, sinful habitual lifestyles. We recognize that our sufferings are for the purpose of waking us up to call on a God who is willing to help us in our struggle to overcome sin.

    It’s not an easy walk. I agree with Craig on this point. It takes effort and choice. It’s choosing Christ over self until the end. But worth it. Sometimes we won’t choose what’s right and we’ll go with our sinful nature but if we are continually submitting ourselves to God, he will choose for us…he will make our paths straight. If we become angry and obstinate against his discipline, then we need to repent or things could get worse for us.

    What is an Apostate? How about one who has known the truth which is: faith in Christ as the only way of salvation… but who chooses rebellion against that truth, (such as Universalism) and continues down the path of wilful unbelief until they no longer have any honest regard for an absolute truth.

  103. Carolyn says:

    I woke up this morning, thinking about a few scenarios that I have observed over my time in religious circles. Considering the conversation about the sinful nature and it’s tendencies to religion, considering the lateness of the hour and the shaking that is going on, I have compiled a few sketches for practical consideration of what needs to change if we are to be counted worthy; if we are to escape being overcome by our sinful nature; if we are to be changed into the image of our Lord and Saviour as opposed to being absorbed into the Apostate Kingdom that is rising up in our midst.

    Parable of the mustard seed. The kingdom of heaven came in a small way but it has filled the whole earth like a gigantic tree. There are churches and movements everywhere on planet earth. The birds of the air (demons by biblical definition) have come to dwell in the branches of the spreading tree and are sowing religious pride and New Age thought, Nicolaitism, Purpose Driven, NAR Prophetic delusion, Baal worship, Luciferianism…and apathy. Did I miss anything (that’s a joke) No one seems to even have a clue what the true message of the gospel is anymore.

    Here’s a couple of scenarios that I have personally witnessed:

    The church elder stuffing himself into a crisp white shirt and tie, dabbing on some Old Spice and marching proudly into his “reserved just for him” pew. After listening to a wonderful legalistic sermon, he pats himself on the back and congratulates himself that he stayed awake for it and has absorbed just enough misery to last him for another week. Then out to a nice restaurant in his Sunday duds to be a testimony to the heathen that he was attendin’ church that morning and he smells good. While in the restaurant, not a foul word escapes his mouth and he’s polite to his wife. In the afternoon, he stretches out on the couch for an afternoon nap. The rest of the week he does his duty every morning by getting up and getting through his devotions so he can have the blessing of the Lord on his day. And now that he’s retired, he spends his time just puttering in his garage. He has a few projects on the go that keep him busy enough to ignore any little twinges of conscience. He is after all, the perfect example of a good living religious man. He does wonder at times why he feels so empty….but God is in his heaven and all is well with the world…at least his world….

    Second scenario – the average American/Canadian woman gets dressed for church, grabs a java on her way in to the sanctuary and gets caught up in the emotion of the praise and worship band for a little while, soaking in the “presence”…then as the sermon begins, her mind wanders on to other things like: who they are meeting for lunch or what’s in the oven. For the rest of the week, she spreads her time between work and more work and the boob tube becomes her solace for rest and relaxation, her time when she can numb her mind, fall into the Alpha state of brain sleep and enjoy and enjoy some “me time”. Before bed she opens the Bible (if she is a very devoted Christian) and reads a passage, says a hurried thank you for the day and slides under the covers in a state of weariness.

    Third scenario – the religious teenager. He’s seen it all from “the soup to the crackers with a generous sprinkling of nuts”. He’s prepared for change. He is buying into becoming ALIVE as he picks up the beat of the latest entertainer to hit the stage in his church. He is thrilled by the euphoria he feels, the emotional blurbs that shoot a little bit of “Jesus” into the mix between songs. He’s busy a lot in the church, setting up stages, attending youth camps, listening to pep talks, learning the language of Emerge and spending Friday night family time watching the latest Hollywood movie and eating take-out. He’s self satisfied because next month, he’s giving up his time to travel to Mexico for a missionary trip. What a busy Christian life, filled with dramatic influences and surrounded by “mostly” moral living. What an advantage he has over the poor unchurched youths that he goes to school with, who didn’t have a Christian upbringing.

    In each scenario, how much time has each individual actually spent getting to know God? Has there been any exchange of ideas? Any intimate conversation? Has there been any “real” truthful and honest communication between the two? Has there been much time, if any spent just meditating on the word, asking for insight, listening to what the Lord has to say and aligning our thinking with his, allowing him to search our hearts and expose our sin? In other words have we just been playing at religion (following a formula for success) or have we actually connected with the One we claim to serve? Have we been interested in knowing his plans, his purposes,…or have we been deceived into thinking that what goes on in our own little brain or in our peer group is what Christianity is all about?

    No wonder, God in his mercy has been shaking the tree of false Christianity. We’ve been asking, “What’s wrong with our youth? What’s wrong with our churches? What’s wrong with our government? What’s wrong with our country?” when the real question should have been “What’s wrong with me?” That’s the only question that will draw us out of our complacency and start us seeking a right relationship with our Creator.

    The Apostate Church…birds nesting in its branches. Will we see the deception of this scenario or will we invite the wrath of a holy God on our rebellion? Personally, I see that it’s too late to stop the train. Wrath is coming. So as individuals, will we cleanse and hands and purify our hearts? If not, we’ll have a lot of time to think about why we did not.

  104. Carolyn,

    I must say, your writing of those character sketches is top notch. I’d save that for later if I were you, and consider exploring writing some more on the subject, perhaps turning into a blog or even a book. You have a gift. It’s ironic though, as it actually reminds me of Art Katz preaching, as he would often make out similar sketches and rebuke the body of Christ for playing at religion.

    As for the sinful nature, I wasn’t so much concerned with how to deal with it, as to figure out if it is completely crucified when we become Christian, as Romans seems to imply. As such, if it is merely the residue of sin that carries on in our mind, emotions, etc. this has huge implications for our walk. One argument for this is the act that Paul spends so much of his time preaching about what Christ has already done for us.

    Practically, if I need to battle my sinful nature, I want to know! If it is just that I need to change my thinking, renew my mind, etc. then that is great news, and I can stop focusing on my old nature, since it is dead for good. You see what I am saying? I know to be led by the spirit, but sin has a way of creeping in, and I want to know where it’s finding residence (if it is) or where it is coming from (when not from Satan). In Short, do I STILL have a sinful nature? Paul says we have a new nature. so is it both? or is it just residue from sin?

    Craig, one last thing about Crowder. I don’t have any solid evidence on his Christology, and I can’t even seem to find any on the net. (maybe I haven’t looked hard enough) but I do consistently find evidence of some very orthodox statements, despite his heretical junk involving what I consider idolatry and sorcery, etc. So the question remains, how do I convince people he is a false teacher/believer and not just one who is practicing “immature” things, like “toking the ghost?” That is totally profane, of course, but I could see how a true, immature believer could get caught up in that nonsense for a season, though I also am not implying he is a true believer. I do believe he was at some point, however. Can you see the dilemma?

  105. concerning “hyper-grace”
    I think Hebrews 10:26-31 addresses it quite nicely:
    “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and ha fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, o“Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, p“The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

    Like I said, some who embrace hyper-grace seem to be setting themselves up to receive a lot of false teaching, since they can slough off untruth by merely thinking, “Well, he’s still my brother, no matter what he does.” He professed Christ once, so he must be, right?

  106. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    The best I can suggest is to try to acquire the Crowder book you mentioned earlier and look for his Christology in there.

  107. Arwen4CJ says:

    Perhaps the problem with people not seeing anything wrong with Crowder has more to do with people’s understanding of what the Christian faith is. If a person has been persuaded that the Christian faith is all about experience — how we feel at worship, what we get out of it, whether or not we feel entertained, weather or not we feel like we partied with Jesus, whether or not we experienced something spiritual — felt close to God, felt connected with Him, had visions, had signs, wonders, impressions, etc, then we might become so deluded that we think that Crowder experiences Christ and that his teachings are sound.

    When worship becomes “what can I get out of this” or “what blessing might I receive from God,” then we are in trouble.

    Worship should be focused on God and who He is, not on us or how great we are.

    I’ve talked to several different people and have observed some Christian events geared towards the younger crowd. It seems that they are trying to sell a version of Christianity that entertains people, makes them feel good, makes them feel special, and is utterly enjoyable. It’s the “Jesus loved a good party, so let’s party with Jesus,” mentality. So their worship might look like “partying with Jesus” instead of revering Him.

    I’ve said it before — there is not much real gospel that seems to be taught in many churches these days, especially in hyper-charismaticism. So if there is no real gospel being taught, people slowly forget that it should be emphasized, and they don’t notice that it is missing. They get to the point where they might not even know what sound doctrine even is, although they think their teaching is within its bounds. They might not even care about sound doctrine anymore, or even despise it.

    If partying for Jesus or partying with Jesus becomes our context for worship, then we know longer revere God for who He is. He is our Friend, but He is also our King and our God.

    John Crowder is on the extreme end of partying with Jesus….yet he is more and more being accepted by hyper-charismatics.

  108. Arwen,
    I think you made that lucid in a very simple and eloquent way. thanks. I may have to get Crowder’s book, though I am reluctant.

  109. Arwen4CJ says:

    jeffreydaniel,

    It’s all by God’s grace. Know that I admire you for your willingness to stand up for the truth among folks that may or may not accept your teaching. I will continue to pray for you. I am confident that God used you in that service to speak the truth, and in what you have spoken with conviction about on the Internet.

    People do not always want the truth, sadly. Some would rather be stuck in their sinful ways. Some people just don’t like being made accountable or to be confronted with the truth. So no matter how loving you come across, there are still going to be those who will reject the truth and instead want error. You have done what God has required of you, and you have been faithful to Him. That is all that anyone could ask of you.

    People rejected Jesus, and Jesus is the only person who has ever walked this earth with perfect love. Jesus said that if people rejected Him, then people will reject us to. We cannot be better than our Lord and King.

    So speaking the truth is not always going to make you popular, and you and your words will be rejected by people who are walking in darkness.

    I’ll keep praying for your situation, and that God continues to use you for His glory. :)

  110. Carolyn says:

    JD…nice build up…thanks for the compliment! Not so sure about comparing my sketches to Mr. Katz…but he can’t be all bad if he sounds like me. *skipping merrily*

    As far as “ironic” goes…anything can become religious if the old nature gets involved…

    Speaking of the old nature, you said, “As for the sinful nature, I wasn’t so much concerned with how to deal with it, as to figure out if it is completely crucified when we become Christian, as Romans seems to imply.”

    Yup…we’re stuck with the old nature that we were born with till death do us part. For some reason it doesn’t magically disappear…even with the passing of time. There is no formula for getting rid of it in three easy steps. If there was a “How to erase the sin nature for Dummies” book, it would be flying off the shelf. But then again, if we could achieve perfection by ignoring God’s input (his Word)…well, it didn’t work out so well for Adam and Eve.

    In Christ, the curse is reversed. But first we have to proceed through death.

  111. Carolyn says:

    Here’s a few thoughts that has come to my mind since reading the above article on thinking from the right hand of God…Bill Johnson misuses the Scripture of setting our minds on things above in that he encourages us to be thinking Big…taking charge in heavenly places, knowing our rights as Kingdom rulers, seeing great things accomplished for God, etc. (all works of the old nature)

    This is how we should actually be setting our minds on things above…by giving God 100 percent access to our life. By humbling ourselves. The sketches I drew out by word power were of people who went through the forms and rituals of religion but their time was their own. They were hurried and distracted when it came to times of relating to God.

    When we meet with God, it’s not to ascend to his throne, it’s to bow in his Presence and unhurriedly, give him our time and OUR presence. If we want His Presence, we must be willing to share our own presence without personal reservation. How many times do we actually live in the moment? Mostly we are thinking about strategies and agendas and future options. Same with religion. It’s become big business with personal goals, directives of demons, deceptive strategies and worldly principles.

    But living moment by moment in the Presence of God and allowing him to determine our steps and lead us and guide us…that’s a real challenge. That’s swimming against the current.

  112. just1ofhis says:

    Upcoming event at Bethel Church (note the overtly New Age message):

    “Lovely Women’s Conference

    700 Auditorium Dr Redding, CA 96001

    REGISTER NOW

    Gentlemen, please note: This event is an invitation for women only, viewing of this event is available on ibethel.tv.

    Knowing our identity will bring a higher quality of life! The more we realize how much we are loved, the better understanding we will have of our place in God. The more we know our place in God, the better we can help others do the same.
    We each have a Heavenly message inside of us, it says, “You are enough, you have what it takes”. Being lovely isn’t about having it all together or looking perfect. It’s about growing, changing, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us into the knowledge of who we are and what we are designed for.

    A woman who knows who she is has the power to bring Heaven to Earth! Her voice is stronger, she has more courage, and she lives life stronger no matter what course.

    Beni, Sheri and all the Bethel women leadership team, WITH GREAT EXCITEMENT, encourage you to join us for this up-coming women’s conference. There’s never been a better time to know who we are in Christ and where to direct our strengths. We hope you’ll come and have fun with us!!! COME JOIN US!!! ”

    http://www.ibethel.org/events/2012/12/lovely-womens-conference-700-auditorium-dr-redding-ca-96001

  113. just1ofhis says:

    “We each have a Heavenly message inside of us, it says, “You are enough, you have what it takes.”

    Alice Bailey could not have said it better herself.

  114. Thanks to all of the regular crew (Craig, JD, YesNa, just1ofhis, Carolyn, Arwen4CJ, IWTT and anyone else I have forgotten!) for the fascinating and helpful discussion underway. I am always so encouraged by the thoughtfulness and respect shown here, even when disagreeing or thrashing out finer details of an issue. I think it shows that Christ’s love is very alive in all of you, and I also believe it shows the orderliness that comes when believers allow themselves to be led by a man dedicated to defending the truth of the Scriptures and who submits himself to the Lord’s direction (that’s you Craig!). I can also see that it is not simply a place to bash the ‘crazy charismatics’. I hope any charistmatics who come here will find a safe place to raise and discuss issues!

    As for Beni J’s women’s conference, she is teaching the exact same things Anthony Robbins was teaching back in the 90’s when I attended three of his seminars. Imagine that. The world is the church and the church is the world and good is evil and evil is good and the whole world has gone mad. That’s why I enjoy the discussions here…there is sanity through life in Christ, and through fellowship with other genuine believers!

    This post applies for the other discussion going on over at the Kris Vallotten post! :-) Sherryn

  115. Carolyn says:

    Mattew 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

    This is for everyone, but in particular in response to what JD has wondered and questioned about a need to battle the old nature and in response to Sherryn’s comment.

    Let’s talk trees. In all my growth and development in my own religious world, there’s been little fruit, I mean real nature and character of God manifesting from my life. I don’t mean the Manifested Sons of God brand of fruit (that’s fruit that’s been poisoned by the occult source that it came from). I mean the kind of fruit that grows naturally from the life of the Spirit…the life of Christ in me.

    And since I was not producing fruit in keeping with repentance, my life has got worse, ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST YEAR. Much worse. The heat got so intense that I feared the tree(my natural life) would be burned up. Then I didn’t care if the tree got burned up (resignation). Then I prayed that the tree would burn up. (resolve) And finally, I understand that the tree must be burned up. (submission) in order for the Spirit to flourish.

    You may have noticed that on this site (where I have been planted by the Lord), I went from being a compliant, polite contributor to having a bit of an attitude. That’s because I am at times angry that I’m here. I want answers. I am desperate for why the Lord has stuck me in this plot of earth and then proceeded to challenge me to grow fruit. Where’s the fruit? My old nature keeps finding new and different sources to extend its root system into and just when I think I’ve found the option to bring the tree back to life…the roots get chopped, my source goes dry and I’m here. And everywhere I go, there I am. Just me and my dead lifeless tree, existing together in the waterless desert.

    JD, do we battle the old nature? What kind of effort do we exert to get rid of it? The answer is surprising. It is not in our own battle efforts that the old nature (tree) is relinquised. The effort we exert, the choices we make are NOT activities of the flesh. The effort we exert is simply to acknowledge Jesus in our situation…that goes against the old nature. The choices we make are not religious, they are relational in that we choose to follow the directives of the Spirit rather than the options/directives of our old natural/worldly man.

    It has taken me all this time to truly SEE and HEAR the Spirit. There have been times in the last year where I did exercise my old nature. And I’m speaking of being on this site, where I didn’t want to be but where the Lord planted me. Imagine if you will, that I have been in this stuff all my life. Do I want more of it? No. I can’t stand listening to more of this teaching.

    But alas, alas. That’s not why the Lord had me here. He wanted to show me something…that life in the Spirit not about me. Ha! I knew there needed to be a reason.

    The life of the Spirit, like the wind is something YOU can’t see. I can’t see. He works and grows in spiritual realms. He grows by our faith, our obedience to his Word. He produces fruit in keeping with our repentance. HE…HE makes his nature and character seen…and this is the answer to what Sherryn has alluded to here on this site. She has SEEN the work of the Spirit.

    The reason I’m still here is because the Spirit decided to do a work. He connected me to this little group of individuals for a time and a purpose, never to be duplicated or copied by any human being. It was a work of God. It was a tree that needed his improvements so that the fruit of the Spirit would become evident.

    Has he finished his work with me? Time will tell. All I can say is…wherever the Spirit leads…it gets interesting.

  116. just1ofhis says:

    Carolyn,

    “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.” (Psalm 23:1-2, emphasis mine)

    Our family went from persecutions within a strict, Bible-teaching, conservative church to persecutions within the word of faith church and back. I was exhausted from all the trouble. At the point that the LORD pulled us out and away from all of that, He gave me greater understanding of Psalm 23. He had ALREADY provided the green pasture for me in His Word, I just needed to stop striving and rest in it. Understanding that has brought tremendous healing, hope and peace to the lives of my family.

    The Bible teaches us that He will finish the work He has started in us. It is His from beginning to end.

    “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because the fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

    Certainly we are not “made perfect in love” by our own efforts. So how does one become “made perfect in love”? You already answered it. It is His work through faith in His Word which He puts in our hearts. God is love. He dwells in the hearts of believers, and He will finish His work in us; because His Word promises that to us. We stay in His Word, abiding in the vine who is Jesus Christ; and He wells up in us a spring to eternal life.

    “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.” (Phil 1:3-6)

    It is just a personal observation, but the more we rest in His Word, the more fruitful we will be for Him.

  117. Craig says:

    Referenced in this particular article is an older one on the subject of repentance:

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

    Here’s a portion:

    The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) is more thorough noting true repentance affects our intellect, emotions, and will. As to the intellect, “…human beings must apprehend sin as unutterably heinous, the divine law as perfect and binding and themselves as falling short of the requirements of a holy God…” As to emotions, repentance involves, “…an earnest appeal to God to forgive according to His mercy…” The most important element is the understanding that to repent is an act of the will; we must choose to turn from sin. Repentance is not a one time event but the constant choosing between alternatives. However, equally important is that God takes the initiative. It’s a paradox of sorts “reflecting the mysterious relationship between the human and the divine personalities”. The choice is to follow Him or not.

    In terms of how repentance relates to salvation, the ISBE notes:

    Repentance is only a condition of salvation and not its meritorious ground. The motives for repentance are found chiefly in the sinner’s experience of God’s kindness (Rom 2:4), love (Jn 3:16), and earnest desire that sinners be saved (Ezk 33:11; 1 Tim 2:4), of the inevitable consequences of sin (Lk 13:1-5), of the universal demands of the gospel (Acts 17:30), and of the hope for spiritual life…and membership in the kingdom of heaven (Mk 1:15).…A consciousness of spiritual poverty dethroning pride…surrender to God…spiritual hunger and thirst, are all part of the experience of one who wholly abandons sin and heartily turns to God who [alone] is able to grant eternal life.

  118. Carolyn says:

    Just 1ofHIs…I’m so glad to hear of your own personal experiences. The Lord is soooooo good!

    It’s kind of funny…you started with conservatism and flowed into charismatism. My family started with William Branham, Kathryn Khulman and I progressed through every wind of teaching before landing on the conservative trail, thinking perhaps I had found something. But then religion once again set into the mix and though I can talk with the best of religious adherents, I have no appetite for denominational dogmas…I can sniff them out a mile away. Still, I love the people and know that where there’s life there’s hope. And the Lord is always at work…in those who have an ear to hear….

    The Lord knew just how much religious pride I had to put off. I never had any problem fitting in with the popular crowd in a religious setting. I don’t mind voicing my opinions and especially after I got serious about my life with God, reading the Word, I became even more religious. Ugh!

    To say that the Spirit had a hard time penetrating my religious facade is an understatement. I could quote the Lord is my Shepherd, but to actually believe it…took some time. I have felt sometimes like a tumbleweed bouncing across the dusty fields following a line of tumbleweeds on our way to …oops…the fence. Stuck on a fence. And there to sit in limbo till doomsday.

    That’s just my weird sense of humour kicking into gear again….you’re a blessing girl…keep on resting in the good shepherd…

    Craig..good word on repentance. I read it slowly…as compared to my usual “skim and inhale” tendencies.

  119. Craig says:

    Here’s an interview featuring Robert Bowman, Jr., whom Bethel Church and Christianity hold in high esteem, in which he speaks on the Word-Faith Movement (and he’s written a book on this subject, being specifically critical apparently of D.R. McConnell’s work, at least in part):

    http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/2013/266-int025

    I’ve listened to this while doing other things this morning, but I was struck by his erroneous comments about WoF’s teaching on “Faith” and how it, in his view, differs from occultism. Specifically, he states (correctly) that occultism uses a separate force to achieve whatever ends one has in mind, yet Bowman claims (incorrectly) WOF does not. This is just before the 33:30 mark.

    Yet, here’s a typical quote from Copeland, as compiled by Michael Houke and posted by Kim over at DiscernIt ( http://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/heresies-from-kenneth-copeland-and-benny-himm/ ): God did not create the world out of nothing, He used the Force of His Faith. (Spirit, Soul and Body, #01-0601, Tape #1)

    This is the bedrock of WoF teaching. Bowman has it WRONG. Bowman claims that in WoF God personally has the power and so do we. As the Copeland quote above demonstrates this is not true, as God Himself used an external “Force of Faith” in creation.

  120. Craig says:

    …and this section in the following article explains this “force of faith” quite well:

    http://www.gospeloutreach.net/whatwordfaith.html

  121. Carolyn, a common denominator here seems to be that most (if not all) of us have been on a wild ride to get here…and are still on it to some extent. We are trying to make sense of the mess of our own rebellion, and what God has planned for our lives going forward, and it sure doesn’t stack up to the ‘big dreams’ both popular ‘Christianity’ and the secular world would have us believe in. It is hard work! Instruction in the Word, learning to identify and articulate doctrinal error whilst still feeling compassion for those who are deceived, plus genuine fellowship seems to be an invaluable combination here.

    Now, I don’t want to get into a ‘my history is worse than yours’ scenario, but I myself come from fine, conservative stock. ;-). An ex- missionary/pastor/Bible college teacher’s kid…I turned out perfectly. Right? Um, put it this way, the ancient Israelites and I have a lot in common. Except maybe the ADHD. So really, the last two years have been the only ones I could honestly say have seemed like I was really and truly saved. And yet in every other way they would seem to be two of the worst years of my life. Go figure. Lucky for my parents that a) I love them, b) my psychology degree was mostly rubbish, and c) my Bible paints a very different picture of my behavior…so I can’t blame them for my failings. They are most relieved. :-)

    My point? Not sure. Maybe just that it’s nice to be here.

    Sorry, I am off topic. Craig, it is interesting that you raise the erroneous commentary of RB Jr on the WOF teachings. I see this a lot, where respected church leaders provide some critique of aberrant teachings (or teachers), yet actually miss out on accurately critiquing one or more of the key heresy/ies involved. It is frustrating because at best it is confusing, at worst it fails to address the seriousness of the aberrant teaching or the unreliability of the particular teacher and in the end means people don’t take it too seriously. Therefore people in the WOF or emergent movements get to retain their “Christian” label despite denying critical aspects of the Christian faith relating to God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit or the Scriptures, or as often is the case…all of these things.

    I used to hear criticism of the ‘prosperity gospel’ from my former pastor who was at the very same time rapidly embracing and preaching dominion theology and NAR teachings. Yet he would never effectively deal with the core errors of those prosperity teachers. Now I know why…because it is at the core, the same error he was getting into. Is it possible that RB Jr also has impure motives for his error? It is interesting that in an earlier book, he said evangelicals should stop using the term ‘cult’ in reference to theologically aberrant Christian groups, as it had a negative link in the media to socially aberrant groups. Um, isn’t that what Bethel and iHop are…theologically AND socially aberrant groups focused around charismatic (pardon the pun) leaders? If it looks, walks and quacks like one… Sigh…

  122. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    Oh, you’ve read one of Bowman’s books? Which one, the one one WoF? I’ve been thinking about getting his book on the WoF in order to review it.

    Bowman also minimizes the extent of the “error” (I dislike that word for false teaching, but many use it) Christological teachings of the WoF teachers, claiming they affirm Christ’s full divinity yet that Christ chose not to exercise His divine attributes, instead relying on the Holy Spirit. That is NOT true!

  123. Oh Craig, as much as my intellectual pride would love to boast that yes, amongst the multitude of books I have read, that I have read Bowman. I am familiar with him, but alas, I have to confess the greater sin of Wikipedism.

  124. just1ofhis says:

    Yes, “faith is a SUBSTANCE” in the WoF. It literally isn’t enough to have ‘faith’ either, you must speak the words of your faith out loud for them to have any effect.

    That is witchcraft and sorcery, i.e., occult. It is the root of Bill Johnson’s teachings also. Bad root…bad fruit.

    It shipwrecks the faith of those who adhere to it. Their faith is no longer in a Sovereign God who can do anything and can intervene in any situation on their behalf; but their faith is in the SUBSTANCE of their faith and their ability to “speak” correctly and according to “Bible principles”.

    This type of belief system benefits their own “prophets” and “healers” tremendously. If you are given a “word” (almost always positive, mind you) and you don’t receive that blessing, well you just didn’t have enough of the “substance” called “faith”. If someone prayed for healing for you and you don’t receive it, you just didn’t have enough of the “substance” called “faith”.

    If you are sick, overweight, don’t dress fashionably enough, don’t have a nice enough job or car or house; it is because you don’t have enough of the “substance” called “faith”.

    It has NOTHING to do with God; because they teach an impotent “god” who always wants you to be perfectly healthy, beautiful, and rich. He CAN’T act on our behalf unless we use the “force” of our “faith” to break through the authority that satan has on the earth.

    The most blatant example of this that I was witness to (which came directly from a Kenneth Hagin teaching) was watching a woman “command satan to take his hands off her money right now”.
    This was not a prayer to God to supply for her and her family. It was a direct order spoken through “faith” to satan. She found a $10 bill on the sidewalk a few days later in response to her prayer, of course, indicating that this type of “prayer” works. She then went and gave this testimony to all kinds of people in the church along with the Kenneth Hagin teaching.

    There is a part of the “church” that has already completely been handed over to powerful delusion. People who follow “signs and wonders” without testing them against the Word are in grave danger.

  125. By the way, did y’all see Holly Pivec’s article on kids in ‘ministry’ a la Bethel Church et al. ?
    I just posted it on my blog or you can read it at Holly’s:

    http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/08/children-miracles-and-toilet-paper-mummies-oh-my/3795

    Also check out Bethel Kids’ Ministry http://www.bethelredding.com/ministries/children

    Look what we have in Australia: http://kidsinministry.org/kimi-australia/

    The links in Holly’s article are disturbing. Keep speaking out folks. This is bad stuff, serious enough when it relates to adults, as we have been discussing…it’s even worse when kids are being trained up to fill the ranks of “Joel’s end-times army”. One ministry has “Soaking with God” etc CD music for kids. Now I’m really mad.

  126. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    You are correct (of course, as you were IN the movement), yet, note (I’m reiterating here) how Bowman claims that WoF teachers make the claim that we are essentially ontologically equivalent with God and that God Himself retains all His powers in WoF teaching. That is NOT true, since God Himself, in the words of Copeland (as but one example) did not create the world out of nothing, He Himself had to exercise the (external, non-intrinsic to God) “force of faith”.

    It really angers me when one of Bowman’s stature distorts/misconstrues a very KEY teaching. WoF IS occultic!

  127. just1ofhis says:

    Craig,

    It is interesting, because in the WoF church they talk about God as being Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient. If you stop there, it sounds very orthodox. As you pointed out with Kenneth Copeland, they don’t stop there. And you are right, the “force” is something outside of God…that is always how I understood the “substance” part of the teaching. Clearly God wasn’t/isn’t a “substance”, so the “substance” had to be outside of God.

  128. just1ofhis says:

    Sherryn,

    I followed the links…scary, isn’t it:

    This off the Bethel site:

    “The Children’s Ministry desires children to encounter God, His works, and develop healthy lifestyles and relationships. Their mission is to have the children experience the presence of God by investing a considerable amount of time each week in worship, sharing and hearing testimonies, and learning to consistently pay attention to what the Lord is doing around them.”

    Compare that to Paul’s charge to Timothy:

    “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, CONTINUE IN WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED AND BECOME CONVINCED OF, because you know those from whom you learned it, AND HOW FROM INFANCY YOU HAVE KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 3:12-15)

    Paul says nothing about “encountering God”, “developing healthy lifestyles or relationships”, “experiencing the presence of God”, or “learning to pay attention to what the ‘lord’ is doing around them”. He prepares Timothy for persecution, warns him about imposters, and encourages him to continue in the Word of God which can make him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Oh, I forgot, ‘god’ is doing a new thing….

  129. Craig says:

    It is interesting, because in the WoF church they talk about God as being Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient. If you stop there, it sounds very orthodox. As you pointed out with Kenneth Copeland, they don’t stop there. And you are right, the “force” is something outside of God…that is always how I understood the “substance” part of the teaching. Clearly God wasn’t/isn’t a “substance”, so the “substance” had to be outside of God.

    Bowman DOES point out (correctly) that God Himself had to literally ‘speak’ the cosmos into existence, according to the WoF; but, Bowman sees this as ‘merely’ an over-literalization of the Genesis account. Then he (correctly) draws the WoF parallel that we are equivalent to God in that regard, i.e., that we can ‘speak’ things into being. Where he falls dreadfully short is in assuming that this is an intrinsic sort of God-power in WoF teaching. As you point out, the WoF teachers will make the claim that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, yet in actual practice God is portrayed as not a fully omnipotent being, having to utilize the “force of faith” in speaking the cosmos into existence.

  130. Carolyn says:

    Just a thought…God does not USE energy, he IS energy. God does not USE words. He IS the Word. God is before all things. He created all things.

    At About.Com: Definition: In Episode IV: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi explains the Force to Luke as “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.” Jedi and other Force users access the Force with the help of midi-chlorians, microscopic organisms inside their cells.

    In Starwars, the Force binds the galaxy together. In the Creator God’s Universe, Christ, the Word, holds all things together.

    Contrast The Force with The Word: Heb.1:1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 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.

    One would almost think that Hollywood created the force on purpose just to subvert Christianity. Who runs Hollywood anyway?

    I guess the logical question is how does the Force tie in with Bill Johnson thinking and living from the right hand of God?

  131. Carolyn says:

    I listened to the audio by Bowman. That is the first I have heard of him. A bit out of the loop, I am. Anyhow, he did a nice job of showing how it all got started. There wasn’t much I hadn’t heard before, but it’s always a good review and lends some perspective.

    Charles Capps was one of the first radio teachers on the subject that caught my attention. I would listen to him every day after lunch as I was cleaning up the kitchen(at least two lifetimes ago). And from there…I believed that if I could imagine it, I could have it!

    We can discuss this in different ways, I suppose…I did go back and read the part on Bill Johnson’s Christology and how it compares to Levi Dowling’s ideas about the Force and Thought and Alice Bailey’s occult/NA thought such as “The fact will appear that the Kingdom has always been present but has remained unrecognized, owing to the relatively few people who express, as yet, its quality….166″

    What comes to my mind, maybe because of what I have been thinking about lately…in the vein of religion, is that once again religion creates a god of its on imagining. He’s not the Creator God revealed in Scripture, but he certainly sounds good to them and can be fitted into their own agenda. They have little real obligation to their god, although he is very obliging to them and glaringly absent is any reference to submission or suffering. That is never part of their imagination. That was a point that became a big red flag and cause for pause, once I began reading the Bible on my own.

    Thought and Force…another creation for the religious mind, that allows God to remain in obscure realms, under our direction and on a throne that we can participate in…one who remains impersonal and unknown but still goes by the name of Christ.

    One more thought as I was reading through the New Age comparisons, is that the thinking is so veiled, hidden, shadowy and dark. They are truly “dark sentences”…
    Daniel 8:23
    And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

    Compare these dark sentences to the Word of God, which is the clear, concise, straight forward and absolute revealed will of God. Nothing hidden in dark, enigmatic sentences.

  132. Carolyn,

    You nailed it sister…only religion doesn’t do this. Sinners do. I wonder if any Christian has avoided this sin. I didn’t.

    A big clue as to whether God is being ‘re-imagined’ is one I finally learned recently….if you do not experience true biblical fear of the Lord, then you have a problem. I never really got that. I got fear of punishment and fear of hell, I understood God as creator and redeemer, but I didn’t ever get that experience of holy fear of the Almighty God.

    When we understand and believe in the true God as revealed in the Scriptures through the work of the Holy Spirit, we naturally fear God and rightly so. We don’t want to offend him, and we certainly don’t want to get anything wrong about his character, his Son or his Holy Spirit!!! (We do, of course, but we don’t want to…that’s the difference). Some wisdom from the past (see if you can spot the difference between the following and BJ’s teachings):

    “Such is the fear of the Christian now: a fear which reverence for majesty, gratitude for mercies, dread of displeasure, desire of approval, and longing for the fellowship of heaven, inspire; the fear of angels and the blessed Son; the fear not of sorrow but of love, which shrinks with instinctive recoil from doing aught that would tend to grieve, or from denying aught that would tend to honour. Religion is the grand and the only wisdom; and since the beginning, the middle, and the end of it, is the fear of the Lord, blessed is every man that is swayed by it.” —Robert Nisbet, in “The Songs of the Temple Pilgrims”, 1863.

    “If my God be pleased, no matter who is displeased: no matter who despise me, if he account me his. Though all forsake me, though my dearest friends grow estranged, if he reject me not, that is my only fear; and for that I am not perplexed, I know he will not.” A believer hath no fear but of the displeasure of heaven, the anger of God to fall upon him; he accounts that only terrible; but yet he doth not fear it; doth not apprehend it will fall on him, is better persuaded of the goodness of God. So this fear is still joined with trust:—”Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy”: Ps 33:18.—Robert Leighton, 1611-1684.

    I am reminded also of:

    Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

    Psalm 33:8 “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in
    awe of Him”.

    As for the ‘dark sentences’ I think I know what you mean, particularly the sense of a veil. A lot of words, but no substance, like toxic fairy floss it provides no nourishment and leaves one a bit queasy, or like shadows dancing but never staying still long enough to make out their shape. I definitely see it in ALL of the NAR stuff of BJ and co. I also see the same ‘dark sentences’ in the emergent church and contemplative mystic writings of people such as Ann Voskamp, Richard Rohr, Erwin McManus etc. I struggle to stomach them at times, even though I am only reading for research purposes.

    Like mercury, these ‘dark wordsmiths’ shift and shape change with words, never quite settling on the meanings of words and when challenged, always fluid with their denials that what they said actually meant what it seemed to mean. Over and over again, they set up false caricatures of faithful, orthodox Christians, then verbally assault them in the most insidious (and sometimes overt) ways. Worse yet, they toy with the Almighty God in this way too! Yet to them and many others it demonstrates great wisdom and spiritual maturity, and the Scriptures…well, they are merely a means to and end, something to be trifled with, remodelled and used for their own purposes. They have no fear of the Lord, and worship a god of their own vain imaginings, one that is made in their own image.

  133. Carolyn,

    I agree about how we deal with sin, through resting in God’s sufficiency, and not by human effort. Of course we co-labor with him, but it is by resting in the work and love he has done/given. One of those paradoxes, to be sure. My comments about the sin nature were more theoretical and doctrinal rather than practical. I have ran into many people recently who absolutely deny that we have a sin nature anymore, and cite this as so much of their previous failures in the Christian life. I fail to see how this doctrine is either correct, or helpful. And I am trying to discover if it has some damaging effects on overall belief.

    And to address others,
    I must say that I am quite charismatic, and always have been, and it wasn’t something that originated in what I was taught. Right from my first Christian days, miraculous supernatural things were happening, but they were always confirmed by what I read in scripture. Does this mean I have never veared off the path? Absolutely not. There are times I was given to emotionalism and maybe even some “charismania” but God has corrected me. I have even grown in recent days for my love of the word, and recognize it’s inherent power to correct error, maintain balance and even be the main instrument through which God speaks, and the measuring stick through which all experience must be measured.

    I also believe that many things in the “Charismania” camp are being thrown out because of the abuses, which should not be. I am not going to grind the axe here, however.

    I have been edified and exhorted here, and I choose to focus on that. I appreciate you all.

  134. IWTT says:

    FWIW… I personally have reached a place where to label myself charismatic or pentacostal just doesn’t seem to be where I want to place myself. I would rather say that I am bible believing. I believe that God the Holy Spirit can and does manifest the gifts as He wills when He wills.

    I believe that is scriptural and biblical. What I am getting at is that man has in the past put boundries, man made self imagination on this doctrine of the Holy Spirit and it has, not the only reason, but has brought about “denominations”. Hence we have labels about the things of God. Now I understand that this is a wide open statement I am making, but my point is 2000+ years ago Jesus went to be with the Father so that He could send the Holy Spirit and in the Gospel of John we are given the role of the Holy Spirit to the world. As believers we should understand that in our role as a believer, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, that He will as needed do what is needed at the time to hopefully convict the world (person) of sin and thereby they will turn from sin to repentence and believe and be saved.

    In reality there is NO CHARISMATIC CAMP biblically. IMHO… the whole camp needs to be thrown out and get back to the bible.

    The “church” has made such a big deal out of the “supernatural” part of the gifts, focused on the gifts, that now, we have groups of people who follow these man-made-vain-imagination programs, thology, doctrine and are leading others down a path of false teaching, false experiences and into daminable heresy.

  135. IWTT says:

    I think this is a good devotion for the day.. http://www.immutablewordministries.blogspot.com/

    The Grace of Spiritual Discernment
    J.A. Matteson

    Knowing apart from doing is worthless, and wisdom rejected brings many sorrows. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Pretense disguises insincerity and is known by its affect. Worship attendance, tithing, baptism, knowledge of scripture and ministry outwardly adorn the inner orientation of the sheep answering the call of the Great Shepherd. Love toward the Lord Jesus Christ and obedience is the source of their adornment. Sheep love the brethren, seeking their welfare, considering and acting upon their needs. Wolves love self and their desire for preeminence produces a markedly different affect upon the sheep. The disconnect between the wolves profession and reality is stark as its affect is clearly experienced by the sheep as bitter unprofitable humanism. Cloaked in spiritual adornment they are as clouds without rain, lukewarm water that neither refreshes or heals. Blessed is the the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, who protects His sheep through the grace of spiritual discernment to distinguish truth from error and sheep from wolves.

    Copyright (c) 2013 Immutable Word Ministries (“…the word of our God stands forever.” Isa. 40:8)

  136. Hi JD,

    I would be interested in what you think those things are (that are being thrown out), without it being seen as axe grinding at my end and without intending to argue or offend. I am familiar with the more traditional charismatic/pentecostal teachings and practices, and have had family and friends at the conservative end of that spectrum. However, most Christians I have ever known, over four generations have never even entertained the uniquely charismatic beliefs or practices. They are mostly doctrinally orthodox Baptists, Anglicans or Lutherans. Yet they have led genuine Christian lives, with deep abiding faith in the Lord, with the fruit of the Holy Spirit evident in their lives.

    It genuinely puzzles me how a branch of the church can teach that these people’s faith (and mine) is somehow less than what Christ promises us. It just doesn’t seem to add up with what I have witnessed in my life. To be honest, I never paid much attention to it until my brother had a very spiritually destructive time in a charismatic baptist church.

    In the end, it comes down to doctrine. What are the actual things that we (i.e. me the anglo/baptist/slightly Calvinist/complementarian views and you with your charismatic leanings) differ on? Is it only the interpretation of spiritual gifts and second baptism (including ‘tongues’) as a sign of conversion, or is it more? At some point that would be a helpful list for me to work through!

    The only personal experiences I have had with currently defined charismatic ‘gifts’ were with people who turned out to be in serious doctrinal error and I was anything but blessed by their ‘gifts’. Returning to the old preachers like Spurgeon, J C Ryle and Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones was a blessing, as well as current preachers such as Conrad Mbewe and my own pastors. I want to understand the charismatic version of Christianity but really struggle to see where it fits within orthodox bounds, in its complete form. I have read some history of the movement, and listened to some more conservative sermons but just can’t quite get a handle on it.

  137. just1ofhis says:

    Jeffrey,

    “I have ran into many people recently who absolutely deny that we have a sin nature anymore, and cite this as so much of their previous failures in the Christian life. I fail to see how this doctrine is either correct, or helpful. And I am trying to discover if it has some damaging effects on overall belief. ”

    Jesus had an answer for that:

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else (my note: does that sound familiar?), Jesus told this parable:

    “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

    The damaging effect of spiritual pride and beliefs that go beyond what the scriptures tell us is separation from God Almighty. The Pharisee, in this instance, is like all those “little gods” of the Word of Faith camp and “same anointing as Jesus” folks of Bill Johnson’s camp. “Thank you, God, that I am not like other men.” And just like that Pharisee, they look down on solidly Bible-based brothers and sisters in the LORD who humble themselves enough not to even feel worthy of glancing up to Heaven, much less believing that they have the power to bring Heaven to earth. They believe those Bible-clinging Christians to be a hindrance to the advancing of the “kingdom of heaven” and to be “anti-what they call ‘christ’ ” because they stand against a false and prideful anointing.

    IWTT stated it plainly enough.

    These folks shipwreck their faith, because their faith has become detached from the Word of God. We come to a Holy God on our knees crying out, “Woe to us, we are ruined, for we are a people of unclean lips who live among a people of unclean lips.” We lift up His Word, and He is our righteousness.

  138. You will no doubt have noticed my own tentative and slightly tongue-in-cheek use of such labels…anglo/baptist etc. It is tricky, as some labels help quickly identify a heritage or leaning. But I always cringe a bit at the same time. Complementarian…I learned that one this year. What a doozy!

  139. Sarah says:

    @jeffreydaniel Here is an article I wrote with references to John Crowder in it and a quote from his book: https://sites.google.com/site/reflectionsfromthewall/videos/follow-me/blog/thefruitofbrianheadwelch

    Doing research for the article, the book WAS online free via pdf form but when I went back to look for it again it was gone :-/ Instead of spending money on that garbage, you may be able to find it online.

  140. IWTT.

    I get your point, and I don’t typically like to “label” myself as anything, or put myself in one theological camp or another. I merely said what I did because it’s typically a good way to describe what I believe without having to go into a lengthy description, i.e. that I believe in all the gifts of the Spirit, and miracles and that they are in operation in the church. That’s what Charismatic means. And that’s all I mean by it, and only said it as a simple way of stating that, but now that I had to give this lengthy explanation, maybe it wasn’t so “simple” after all. I know this “distinction” is not in the bible, but personally, I don’t have that much of a problem with the word.

    Similarly, I would say that I am not opposed to Apostles and Prophets still being in operation, though I think there has been an unhealthy imbalance by the NAR, where elitism HAS been encouraged. I also know that people have taught this to a heretical degree. But I can no place in scripture where these offices are supposed to have ended. I know I am opening a can of worms here, but this is what I am talking about not throwing things out just because of many flagrant abuses.

  141. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn and Just1 – Judging from some of your comments to me, I think perhaps I have shocked you by saying that I’m feeling a little angry (with myself) and a little impatient (with God) and anxious about why I’m actually still here on this site. This just happens to be the time in my life where in this little group, God has chosen to do his best work in me…to humble me, show me what is truly inside of me and then to show grace to me. My frustration has not been subtle. But even frustration can be good…if it is submitted to God.

    There are times when I have learned to rest in the Lord and times he has shown me other extremely important principles, but this is for me, is a work of grace in my life. The end of a religious attitude that has had me in its grip. I don’t expect everyone on here to understand completely, because we are all on our particular journey with the Lord who is doing a unique and specific work in us “to will and to do of his good pleasure”.

    On this site, at first I was content to be part of the discussions and part of “discernment” but due to some personal desperation and adverse circumstances, I grew to find the practice of discernment of false teaching to be just one more religious perfunctory duty. I can “discern” religion and the unbiblical rules and rituals that others make up for themselves but have somehow failed to see the log in my own eye. Of course, I have come a long way from where I began, but still….

    Anyhow, you must be wondering by now why, if I am not enjoying myself…why do I stay? Simply because God was not finished with what he has started and it is the continuance in the endurance in the trials that God uses to teach us what we need to see. It’s been a process, sometimes even the boredom that is the final straw in pushing us to lose the “attitude” with God and others. In my personal life and on this blog, God has removed my options so that I can’t escape his penetrating light, his intention to show me the awfulness of my real nature.

    An escape artist at heart. I have used escape into personal and Christian interests to keep me busy and stimulated for most of my life…but lately my interests have all been dying out (a work of grace). That’s why I have been forced to get real with God on a whole new level. That’s why he keeps directing back here. And that’s why I am beginning to see the WHY of it all.

    Yes, Sherryn, I do have compassion for those who are in deception, but my compassions are limited. The compassions of the Lord do not fail and we ALL need them.

    That’s all I think should be said about this me. I’m sorry if I distracted from the discussion, but I felt that it needed to be addressed for the sake of the group. And my own stuff is no reflection on Craig’s work to build up the body and how the Lord is using him. His patience is outstanding!

    I wrote the above before reading the latest comments today by Sherryn, JD and IWTT.

    Good comments guys!

    Sherryn, I was in awe of your thoughts today. Well said!! Yes, the fear of the Lord is a really good thing!! I won’t even attempt to add to what you said.

    JD – I agree that to ignore the reality of the sin nature is to live in denial of reality period (and the Bible). Yes, I think it’s a strategy of Satan to keep us in the dark. No body…no case. No old nature? No judgement from a holy God, no need to deny self…one fallacy leads to another and then another…till we end up with the universalist mentality and the divine spark feeding our fancy that we don’t need the concept of a dark and brooding God, we have enough light to clear our own pathway and we will all “eventually get to the destination”. Obscure. No absolutes. That’s the destination of the damned. You are perfectly right to question it and to find resolution, at least in your own mind.

    As for your walk with God…it will still go through many twists and turns, you can count on it. But Jesus Christ remains faithful to those who trust him. We have been edified by what you have shared with us as well. Thank you. No judgement coming from this end…just walking down the same narrow pathway and sharing some thoughts on our way.

    IWTT – What you say is worth a lot. I have to say that I’ve come to the same place where I am just a Christian, a believer in Jesus, my Saviour. I’ve been so muddled by all the strange and the stranger manifestations/teachings. Sometimes, I no longer want to have an opinion. Just want to be normal for a while. I answer to God alone.

    And that’s all for now…my normal brain is shorting out.

  142. IWTT says:

    “Just want to be normal for a while… That’s it! That is what I have come to in a place in my walk. I will (hopefully) never take for grantid(sp) the miracles that I see everyday, whether in creation or what God is doing in mine or my families lfe, etc. I realized a long time ago (seems like now) that it was getting my head out of the clouds, getting my feet back on the ground and really allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me truth (be it through folks here or other sites) that I actually found my freedom AND deliverence through Christ. It was’t through the seeking of the “supernatural” things of God (so I thought) or the works based programs that man devises in the name of evangelism (church growth) but in the two things that God calls us to above all else, “Loving the Lord our God with all of my heart, strength and MIND” and the second of “Loving others as myself”…. that right there is what it hinges on completely.

    People such as JefferyDaniel who love people and feel called to Missions I have great respect for because ultimately it is the love for the lost that has motivated them. My father was a missionary so I get it.

    I truely have more freedom/peace in my life when I quite “seeking after signs” and just sought the Lord through His word and truth. I bet you probably feel the same way.

  143. IWTT says:

    @JefferyDaniel While I was responding to what you had siad and “to you” I think what I was sharing was on a generalized basis. I have been there, Baptist, Episcoplaian, Open Bible, Assembly of God, 4Square and delved a bit into things from the hyper-charismatic camp and while some have their good points, I just find that simple living, not taking scripture beyond what it says (for me I say this) has been more powerful in seeing the arm of God work, the power of His Love and the gospel, in my life and in th opportunities I have to minister to others.

    blessings

  144. Craig says:

    The following just showed up in the stats here as a search criterion:

    why do charismatic preachers hit or tap people when they are speaking to them?

  145. Carolyn says:

    IWTT: You bet it’s freeing. Whereas the body of Christ is meant to pull together for a common “life in the Spirit”, instead we find divisions in the body be it arguing over the hype in hyper-charismatism, the servatism in conservatism or the mentalism in fundamentalism. The fact that we are not all on the same page denominationally or experientially, (yet), coming from different backgrounds, has been the biggest dividing factor in Christian discernment blogsville that I’ve witnessed. I’ve ended up on the bottom of a dog pile on a couple of sites because I didn’t share some teaching that the core group believed in. It appeared that I was the instigator of division but in reality, I was just there to discuss Christianity. Suddenly up comes some element of a belief system that completely overshadows and obliterates the simplicity of the gospel.

    So while I know that our belief SYSTEMS are not all the same on this site, so far, there has been the ability to respect differences. Not saying that we should accept false teaching of eternal importance, such as New Age or Occult philosophy, but differences in denominational dogmas and doctrinal camps are inevitable. If someone says they are Calvinist or Once Saved Always Saved or Charismatic, I can tolerate their difference if they can tolerate mine, although from my experience, things seem to be getting worse in that regard. People are erecting discernment websites to backstab other discernment websites, hating and betraying one another and thinking they are serving God. What happened to “If anyone hates his brother, he is in darkness”?

    Yes, at this point, I am quite at peace to agree on the essentials of the Christian faith, work toward unity in the Spirit and leave the outer reaches of personal belief systems to change or mature as a person deepens their relationship with God. If someone will not receive you/me in peace, I think the principle of “wipe the dust off your feet and let your peace return to you” applies.

    And I agree with you, that miracles happen all the time. Perhaps not dramatic and sensational but completely and unmistakably we see the Father’s providential and protective care for us one day at a time. In fact, why do we fret so? I dunno.

  146. Carolyn says:

    Just a reminder why we are here on this particular site. The false teachings of Bill Johnson and the NAR prophets are not just mere abuses of authoritarianism or dogmatisms containing error…they are lies in direct contradiction of Christ. They are anti-Christ at the core. They have been identified as paralleling New Age and Occult doctrines.

    And this is our directive against such teachers, false apostles and disciples of deception:

    Ephesians 4:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

    To be tolerant of these guys, is not kindness. It’s a danger to the body of Christ to allow them to go unchallenged. We have a responsibility to detect their false light and expose it to the true Light. The Holy Spirit will give us discernment where needed.

    And now to repost the last two paragraphs of Sherryn’s post. Most intriguing wording…

    As for the ‘dark sentences’ I think I know what you mean, particularly the sense of a veil. A lot of words, but no substance, like toxic fairy floss it provides no nourishment and leaves one a bit queasy, or like shadows dancing but never staying still long enough to make out their shape. I definitely see it in ALL of the NAR stuff of BJ and co. I also see the same ‘dark sentences’ in the emergent church and contemplative mystic writings of people such as Ann Voskamp, Richard Rohr, Erwin McManus etc. I struggle to stomach them at times, even though I am only reading for research purposes.

    Like mercury, these ‘dark wordsmiths’ shift and shape change with words, never quite settling on the meanings of words and when challenged, always fluid with their denials that what they said actually meant what it seemed to mean. Over and over again, they set up false caricatures of faithful, orthodox Christians, then verbally assault them in the most insidious (and sometimes overt) ways. Worse yet, they toy with the Almighty God in this way too! Yet to them and many others it demonstrates great wisdom and spiritual maturity, and the Scriptures…well, they are merely a means to and end, something to be trifled with, remodelled and used for their own purposes. They have no fear of the Lord, and worship a god of their own vain imaginings, one that is made in their own image.

    Oooooo ‘dark wordsmiths’ shift…*smiling admiration*

    My idea of dark sentences are those of the Free-Masons, Jesuits and Luciferians like Manly P. Hall who speak mysteries and codes and live by something called “the craft”, esoteric teachings that are dark indeed. I agree with you, even reading these doctrines, it’s hard to pin-point specifics because they are fluid and disguised and hidden for the express purpose of seduction and snare.

  147. Yet again, you have nailed it Carolyn. The Freemasons et al do exactly as you describe, and their teachings are openly dark. That is why when I read the same lies dressed as Christianity, I have had a sense of creepy deja vu. Putting the pieces together of how these lies all connect in their serpentine nature and source has been a most unsettling but helpful process. I am glad you can see the dark stuff so clearly!

    As for the writing, it’s unusual for me to write the way my brain thinks. Usually I try not to or else I too will end up sounding esoteric and mysterious. This time it seemed to suit the topic. :-) LOL

  148. Carolyn says:

    Yes, well, I may be running out of nails soon…

    but the word that comes to mind, is UNSUSPECTING. Christians that think we must all play nice together with wolves are gullible sheep. Love is universal but truth is specific. To obey Christ’s/Paul’s directives is to be on our guard because something (wolves, snakes, evil) has been predicted to come creeping into our midst “unawares”. It’s not maybe, perhaps or sometimes…and it’s NOT Christianity.

    It’s ok to use our minds and say…like Craig. This is sounding like New Age and here’s the proof! And it’s ok to question ourselves on a daily basis…has the truth become buried for me in religion, impersonal or presupposed ideas about God, or is it based on a (refreshing) relationship with the Creator…a daily walk with the Word, increasing in our “knowing” Him personally.

    If we knew we only had a week left to be on this earth, would that change our focus?

  149. Craig says:

    If we somehow knew our time was short on this earth, then we should still preach the true Gospel message, and, in my view, we should still educate others on the false out there, so that those without a true conversion, those who’ve been adhering to teachings about a false Jesus, can realize such and actually come to a saving faith.

  150. Arwen4CJ says:

    Regarding the comment/question about many people in charismatic circles running into people who claim that Christians don’t have a sin nature anymore, or cannot sin, etc…..

    Isn’t that something that Bill Johnson specifically teaches? That Bethel teaches? That Christians cannot sin because they have no sin nature?

    So, if this is the case, given Bill Johnson’s influence, perhaps this is because of Bethel doctrine creeping into churches of all kinds. Or maybe it is something that hyper-charismatics teach, and it isn’t just Bethel. Or maybe it originated with Bethel or with another false teacher, and it’s just getting around to everyone else?

  151. Craig says:

    Bill Johnson has explicitly stated “sin and its nature have been yanked out by its roots”, yet he also at time speaks about sin (in the believer). Sinlessness, though, IS a part of New Age / Theosophical doctrine, as one approaches the “Crucifixion” aka “Great Renunciation” stage (the 4th initiation) and from all points thereafter (Resurrection/Ascension and fully gloried Ascended Master status).

  152. Carolyn says:

    I remember a video I posted on here a while back that was comparing Randy Demain’s tuning fork, vibrational healing methods to the vibrational “adjustments” of a witch from Ephesians 5:11 blog. She specifically said that she didn’t like the word healing because that would be starting from a premise that she was not perfect to begin with. In fact she said that she needed to believe that she was perfect and this vibrational tuning was just an adjustment to return her to her perfect state of being. Emphatically…no sin nature.

    It’s another example of the New Age ideas being borrowed, copied and assimilated into Christianity. And along with all that comes the impersonal, pantheistic god/divine seed/oneness of mankind qualifications…like it or not.

    Here’s another instance. I have just been reading on Herescope, this article by Gaylene Goodroad
    the http://herescope.blogspot.ca/2013/08/without-attribution.html
    Frankly, I am in shock and am planning to reconsider your scenario of Business Man A,B and C in the light of this blatant omission of Attribution. What a waste of time, reading all this garbage that pours forth from the mouths of these guys!!!

    FYI: I used the skim and inhale method for her article, because I have come to process garbage in and garbage out in a different way than I used to. I can still get the main themes without having to digest the garbage. Why do I need to digest all the quantum theories of physicists? That way I can glean what the Holy Spirit want me to glean and when he says, “Stop…I have something important to show you here”…I’m ready and willing.

    Yes, I agree with you Craig…I wouldn’t change a thing about what I’m doing if I knew time was ending in a week. Hopefully we all think the same way…to keep following the leading of the Spirit. Just heading out in the car this morning, I heard that a 19 year old had been killed in a motorcycle accident last night in Vancouver….no fault of his own, no speed or alcohol. Just a car turning left in front of him, didn’t see him, and his life was over. So life can end for any of us in a moment. But it’s interesting to raise the question…especially for the youth who think they have never ending time.

  153. Craig says:

    I saw Goodroad’s article the other day. It was quite a find for her, comparing Missler’s ‘work’ with the New Age one he blatantly plagiarized, in part. Kenneth E. Hagin much? (What I mean is that Hagin plagiarized some of Kenyon’s work.)

  154. Carolyn says:

    Ya, well, I know I’m whinin’ here but there’s just so much to get through these days. Evil men will wax worse and worse…we’re seeing it. I studied the works of Kenneth Hagin and Kenyon and Copeland, with great diligence; studied and trusted and believed. As a took a look back at the past the other day, after listening to Bowman’s audio, I listened to Charles Capps on You Tube. Man…what a perversion of the gospel!

    Yes, plagiarizing is just the icing on the cake for Chuck. His connections with Tim Lahaye who is connected to Sun Myung Moon, all scratching one another’s backs…got me to thinkin some time ago, that all is not right with these “shared” platforms….it’s called discernment….

    And Christ said, you’ll have trouble serving two masters…either you’ll cling to one and despise the other or you’ll love one and hate the other…God and materialism…will a wolf invariably choose money over serving God? …we’ve been warned!

  155. Arwen4CJ says:

    Bill Johnson has explicitly stated “sin and its nature have been yanked out by its roots”, yet he also at time speaks about sin (in the believer). Sinlessness, though, IS a part of New Age / Theosophical doctrine, as one approaches the “Crucifixion” aka “Great Renunciation” stage (the 4th initiation) and from all points thereafter (Resurrection/Ascension and fully gloried Ascended Master status).

    I’ve read several coming out of hyper-charismatic testimonies, and most of the ones I’ve read have stated that there was no real gospel, no confronting real sin, no conviction, etc. in this movement. I’m fairly certain that some of these dealt specifically with Bethel, and that they learned in the Supernatural School that Christians could not sin because that was what was taught at Bethel. I could be wrong, though, and maybe I’m thinking of IHOP instead.

  156. Craig says:

    No, I think you’re right. I just wanted to point out that he does specifically mention sin at times, such as in the following:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Tb3RIz2txzQC&q=sin#v=snippet&q=sin&f=false

    Check out page 44.

    But, I also note that to Theosophy, the only “sin” is the Evil of Separatism:

    http://www.lucistrust.org/en/arcane_school/talks_and_articles/descent_and_sacrifice

    Yet sin and evil do exist on Earth. We are told by the Tibetan that the only true evil is the sin of separatism. And in this sense we gain some understanding of how Lucifer became identified with evil, for the awakening mind which characterises the stage of advanced humanity today is, as we know all too well, our means both of liberation and of further separation and imprisonment. The mind, functioning and powerful but devoid of soul, can be the great crystallising factor which builds powerful barriers of separation. “The mind is the slayer of the Real. Slay thou the slayer”, the disciple is commanded. In this sense the mind in its concrete and analytical element becomes the refuge (and the unrecognised prison) of the ideologue, and is indeed capable of the sin of separatism through prejudice and hate and the wiilingness to accept the distortions of half-truths.

    ..Or as the Buddha said, “Love is the deliverance of mind”…In this we are reminded that the solar angels who chose to descend to Earth submitted to the Law of Duality so that the evolution of the human being could be dependent upon the development of mental discrimination and free will, and thus upon the capacity to make choices and to choose the higher way. There is always a choice of two paths, and it is a choice which must, for the human being, be guided by free will.

  157. Craig says:

    If you read the Johnson book referenced above in context re: sin, you’ll find the idea of sinlessness on page 45: “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 teaching is that if one wants ‘more heaven right now’ one has to “renew” one’s mind through “repentance”. More “repentance” = less and less sin, and (page 44):

    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…

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

    Note the term reality and how it is also used in the article we are now commenting on (the easiest way is to search “reality” by using the ‘control F’ function, i.e., hit “ctrl” button simultaneously with the “F” key and place “reality” in the box). The more we “repent”, by contemplative prayer, “soaking”, “intimacy with the Father”, etc. the more our minds are “renewed”. The more “renewed” our mind, the more we progress spiritually towards MSoG, culminating in thinking and living at the right hand of “god”.

    This is not inconsistent with Bailey’s teaching.

  158. Craig says:

    Here’s a large portion of a comment I had made on the “New Age Repentance?” article:

    Here’s another quote on renewing the mind from Face to Face with God [© 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL]:

    Through Christ, God has made it possible for every person to see the kingdom. Our conversion experience gives us access to that realm, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3, NKJV). However, it is our responsibility to develop this capacity, to train our senses to perceive God through renewing our minds and feeding the affections of our hearts on the truth. Otherwise, we will have no internal paradigm to keep us in tune with truth amid the prevailing cultural attitudes that surround us. [pp 89-90, emphasis added]

    This sounds not unlike ‘expanding our consciousness’ a la New Age. If Johnson wants to explain Biblical concepts he’d do much better by using terms accepted in Christian orthodoxy. In this case, “sanctification” would be in order. However, claiming we “train our senses to perceive God” is not in Scripture, but again, it’s in New Age. By “feeding the affections of our hearts on the truth” Johnson is speaking of the ‘truth’ of experience rather than the Truth of Scripture as the larger context of his quote makes clear. Here are his next words in the book:

    In the Western world this is a challenge, because we live in a culture that has embraced an almost entirely materialistic worldview. This worldview rules out spiritual reality and makes the physical, material realm the definition of reality…. [p 90]

    Once again, we have a false dichotomy. Research actually shows a growing interest in spirituality in the West. Yet, notice how Johnson pits the spiritual against the material. The truth is that we live in both. With Johnson’s emphasis on the spiritual, he’s stressing the spiritual in opposition to the material.

    This is a good opportunity to point out something in Craig Keener’s excellent commentary on John [The Gospel of John, A Commentary: Volume One. Hendrickson, Peabody, MA]. He states, like this article, that Jesus’ words to Nicodemus were regarding the consummation; however, he points out there is a current application:

    John plays here on more than one sense of “see”…[which] could refer to their future experience as in 3:36, but in John can also refer to spiritual perception… [p 536]

    A Johannine motif closely related to “knowing God” is “seeing God”; vision functioned as a natural metaphor and analogy for knowing…John follows closely the figurative language of the prophets, often developing the motif with double entendres… [p 247]

    So, this is to be understood in a figurative sense and not literal as Johnson (and other esoterics) has done. Keener goes on mentioning the mystics of the time:

    Some early Jewish interpreters in the more mystic tradition may have also understood “seeing God’s kingdom” in terms of visionary ascents to heaven, witnessing the enthroned king. Many pagans took for granted the postmortem ascent of the soul, but some sought various forms of visionary ascents while alive…If John considers such mystics at all in this passage [3:3], however, it is only to polemicize against them… [p 538]

  159. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    It almost seems like what Johnson is really saying is this:
    1.) Those who are not saved yet sin and have a sin nature.

    2.) Those inside the church may still sin, but if they do, it is because they are ignorant of the fact that their sin nature is gone, or because they do not have the anointing yet, or they don’t recognize the power (supernatural, signs and wonders), or are not walking in the “truth” (they are not exercising their faith or making enough declarations, or they don’t believe they have been set free from the ability to sin).

    3.) Once a person starts moving in the supernatural, then they can no longer sin because their mind is in agreement with the reality (they have no sin nature).

    This is almost identical to what Theosophy teaches, as you noted above in your comment.

  160. Craig says:

    Keep in mind also the hyper-charismatic push for unity at the expense of sound doctrine in conjunction with the Theosophic idea of the only real sin as one of “separatism”.

  161. Carolyn says:

    What I’m hearing is that there is a real and a counterfeit repentance. The counterfeit is a cause and effect formula and can be done in a mystical way but not from a personal relationship.

    If you read the Johnson book referenced above in context re: sin, you’ll find the idea of sinlessness on page 45: “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 teaching is that if one wants ‘more heaven right now’ one has to “renew” one’s mind through “repentance”. More “repentance” = less and less sin, and (page 44)

    And as stated somewhere above, any New Ager can benefit from the exercise of repentance. It’s good for the soul.

    However, the difference in Christianity is our repentance involves talking with a personal God. When we confess our sin, it is to a personal God. If we say we have not sinned (witchcraft coming from an origin of perfection, the divine seed concept), we make him out to be a liar, and the truth is not in us.

    1 John 1:9-10
    New International Version (NIV)
    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

  162. Craig says:

    Please read through this article:

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

    You’ll see that “repentance” is effected by centering prayer, contemplative prayer, “soaking”, or “intimacy with the Father” (as in the current article/post we’re commenting on), or even the title of one of Johnson’s books – Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence – which is nothing less than expanding one’s “Christ consciousness”, as the quotes from Cynthia Bourgeault (as one example) exemplify:

    …Jim Marion’s wonderfully insightful and contemporary suggestion is that the Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns the world into a different place. Marion suggests specifically that the Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus’s own favorite way of describing a state we would nowadays call a ‘nondual consciousness’ or ‘unitive consciousness.’

    And:

    …It doesn’t mean feeling sorry for yourself for doing bad things. It doesn’t even mean to ‘change the direction in which you’re looking for happiness’…The word [ED: repentance] literally breaks down into meta and noia, which…means ‘go beyond the mind’ or ‘go into the larger mind’I sometimes joke with my Centering Prayer students that when they sit down to do their twenty minutes of meditation, they are really engaged in an exercise in repentance. It’s true if you take metanoia in this alternative sense. They are going beyond their minds, into the larger mind. And Jesus, the master of repentance, is leading them there.

  163. Carolyn says:

    I’d like to read that again when I have some time, although sometimes breaking it into smaller bites works better for me.

    For now, just something that came to my mind. Rob Bell when he encountered God, really encountered God…he began to see his world in colour. Reminded me of Jim Marion’s suggestion that the Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness. “It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns the world into a different place.

    Again…the reality is mystical reality. It begins from a place of perfection. And since Rob Bell is now a Universalist, the fruit of his encounter is different from Christianity.

    When you read Jeremiah and the prophets, when they have had their encounters with God, they have become self conscious of their sinful state. When the mystics become Christ conscious they are lifted up into a god-consciousness where sin has no bearing.

    One is humbled, one is exalted.

  164. Craig says:

    Could the “awareness that literally turns the world into a different place” mean that this new reality is recognizing the spiritual rather than the physical, i.e. the concept of maya as described in both the current article and “Learning Etymology” article? Or, as Bill Fawcett stated of Johnson’s “Thinking from the Throne”: “the main doctrinal thrust of the message is that we live in a spiritual universe, and the present world is just an illusion.”

  165. Carolyn says:

    I suppose that’s where all this leads to. living on a different plane….If the church is running parallel to the world, we are being brought into a different reality of holograms and the quantum theories of physics, energy systems, etc. We’ve been being conditioned for years, without realizing the context of Satan’s ultimate plan. The esoteric details being hidden in plain sight but not available to the average citizen.

    That’s how the New Age crept into the world scene and then the church. Piecemeal, something new here and something new there, nothing you could really put your finger on, but something a bit off. Like leaven, it worked its way through the batch.

    Now, it’s the norm.

    And what does that mean for our relationship with God, if we live in a spiritual universe and the present world is just an illusion? What happens to the doctrines of sin and holiness? Have they been superseded by hologram thinking?

    Therefore, you can’t live in two realms at the same time. So that must mean that you have to make a choice. God has allowed the creation of a delusion so that we will have to choose between his established truth and the apparent reality of illusion. I think.

  166. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yes, it is very possible.

  167. Carolyn says:

    Just reading a bit in Isaiah today. Since we’ve been talking about WoF, here’s a reality check for those who live in the luxury homes with celebrity lifestyles, who have drained the bank accounts of the poor…

    “Isaiah 3:13 The Lord takes his place in court;
    he rises to judge the people.
    14 The Lord enters into judgment
    against the elders and leaders of his people:
    “It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
    the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
    15 What do you mean by crushing my people
    and grinding the faces of the poor?”
    declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”

    In context of what we are talking about (and hopefully I’m in the same book as you, even if not on the same page, giggle)…HOW, I ask you, will illusion help these guys when it comes to actual and real judgement of the sins they have committed against a holy God? The illusion of a spiritual universe will not save them in that day.

    Further to this sentence that I wrote in the above post…”We’ve been being conditioned for years, without realizing the context of Satan’s ultimate plan.” I can remember thinking at one point…my daily reality is the show(s) I watch on TV. The Bible is the fiction. And I thought, “I would like to change that”. That was the choice I made to ditch the illusions that have become the normal everyday realities for most of us.

    Everything from Star trek to Batman, from virtual video games to alien encounters, ad infinity, has been designed and planned to prepare us for the final illusion. People won’t even notice that it IS an illusion because most, including Bill Johnson and a thousand and one other worshippers of God have already bought the total package of illusion. For them the “normal” has become living by illusion/delusion.

    Our discussion on the physical reality of a sin nature is relevant in today’s paradigm of grandiose illusion. To believe that we even HAVE a sin nature to deal with, has set us on display as creatures of extinction, dinosaurs from another age.

    However…in my Bible, we have not yet ascended to the spiritual plane. We are still in the natural plane, with a natural body, with a natural bent for evil, making natural choices to choose Christ’s life in us over selfishness. At least last time I pinched myself, I was still here.

    I AM NOT A DINOSAUR! I AM A HUMAN BEING!

  168. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    The concept of maya is not such that the physical world is not really there. It’s more like the spiritual is the superior reality, such as Johnson implies here (quoted in the “Learning Etymology” post):

    …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…

    So, it’s not to be conceived as a sort of hologram. And, while there are those who are pushing a quantum this or a quantum that as New Age (or pseudo-Christian) doctrine, there IS a real scientific discipline known as quantum physics.

    Those who adhere to the concept of maya (the various sects of Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) see the spiritual as the desired goal in order to escape the physical/material, and the method used to attain this is TM. Similarly, Neoplatonism (see 2b and 2c here) uses contemplation for a very similar, if not same, goal. And, similarly, Johnson uses CP, aka “soaking”, aka “intimacy with the Father” towards the same end. Moreover, holiness and sinlessness are attained BY this same method. The more one practices CP, aka “soaking”, aka “intimacy with the Father”, the more one becomes “one” with “God”, such that one can ‘think and live at the Father’s right hand’.

  169. To give you an idea of what this teaching looks like in the secular-spiritual world, Katie Byron is very popular in alternative circles:

    http://www.thework.com/index.php

    Warning: this stuff is REALLY appealing. She is a master at making it seem like what she is teaching you is to get in touch with and love reality, not your own illusions. When I first read it a few years ago, it seemed like such deep wisdom. In part, I am not in disagreement. We can to an extent choose how we feel and respond to people in life. That is part of emotional AND spiritual maturity.

    But after a while, I realised that what this lady was doing, and was teaching others to do, was essentially to create an illusion in the mind…to let go of all attachment to everyone else and what they do. To not judge anything or anyone, but just float free not allowing others to impact us by creating our own reality in our minds. All of a sudden it seemed like madness to me, and no more ‘wise’ than Tony Robbins teaching that if you visualize yourself as a child and hug them you will be healed of past hurts. Oh, and just visualize a Ferrari and a great life and believe you can attain it and you will. Whaaaat? (Sound familiar?)

    It is fascinating to me now, especially given the conversations we have had here of late, that I always ended up rejecting these paths I went down at the same point every time…when I reached the realization that these people just want to live in delusion. Not reality. I felt the same when I looked into Buddhism (not that I even one, but I did read it out of genuine interest), watched Oprah and read emergent stuff. To be honest, I had the same experience in my psychology studies…there was very little actual science, but a lot of grand delusions. It became unpalatable to me. Reality is hard, but it’s the only place we find God!

    Hmmm…I wonder if the Lord has been protecting me all of this time (and you guys too, in your own journeys) ?!!! What a wonderful thought. :-)

  170. *eek, incomplete sentence…I meant that I didn’t want to become a Buddhist…

    Also, I raise this because there is so much similarity to BJ’s stuff.

  171. Craig says:

    As I like a variety of music (though I’m very picky), and I have a particular affinity for the Munich-based ECM label, I picked up David Torn’s Prezens a while back. I like the fact that while it comes from essentially a jazz idiom being improvisational, Torn did something that is anathema to purists in jazz: he manipulated the sounds of his band in (post-)production. But, I digress…

    The reason I bring this particular release into our current discussion is the piece titled “rest & unrest”. I was initially perplexed by the lyrics (well, really just a phrase that was repeated throughout the piece), as I had no idea of its meaning nor from whence the idea came. The phrase is “rest and unrest derive from illusion”. To my way of thinking, “rest” would seem to come as one would escape the illusion of the physical world. The mystery was solved as I read an Amazon review of this release in which the reviewer mentioned this came from the Faith Mind Sutra.

    Looking this up, I found that this was part of Buddhism, and following is the remainder of the phrase:

    Rest and unrest derive from illusion;
    with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.

    Then it made more sense to me. The concept of maya is such that once one is fully enlightened, one just IS. There are no feelings or non-feelings, no awareness nor unawareness. One just IS.

  172. Carolyn says:

    Sherry-eeeeeek!! Here are some Katy-isms from her blog:

    “Who is The Work for? It’s for everyone who wants to end their own suffering and whose mind is open to questioning what they believe to be true. If you’d rather be free than right, I invite you to The Work of Byron Katie.

    ~ ~ ~

    Not wanting to change what is comes a state of mind that is literally unimaginable. There’s no sacrifice in it, no deprivation— quite the opposite, in fact. It means to gain everything, the everything that is already yours, and the effect is peace. People who use The Work at home as a practice tell me that they find their own freedom. There is such joy in that, such peace, and it’s a story that can’t be told.

    ~ ~ ~

    The enlightened mind is the mind that you can find no valid reason to shut down. The mind is a seeker. It just wants to know what is real and what isn’t. It’s fascinated by itself. So if you love everything you think, you love everything everyone thinks, and you love everything people say. It’s all mind.

    So if someone says, “You’re unkind,” I might say, “Oh my goodness, really? Tell me specifically where I was unkind” (if I haven’t already noticed it, I want to hear what I have missed). I apologize and make it right with that person and to myself where I’m able to. And here we both are, working on my problem, both working on me and not separate. The enlightened mind is never separate from another mind, as there really is only one mind (if any). Not ever. The open mind always understands its own nature and is always open to more understanding, in the ever-shifting expansion of its own creation.”

    We are all One Mind…No Buddhist or Hindu or New Ager, or Christian Contemplative could have said it better. She is redefining Biblical terms of repentance, forgiveness, faith, love, etc. Like I said, this thought has become the norm. It’s an illusion but without God, illusion is better than the alternative…reality.

    Craig said: “Then it made more sense to me. The concept of maya is such that once one is fully enlightened, one just IS. There are no feelings or non-feelings, no awareness nor unawareness. One just IS.”

    A highly passive state, lulled to sleep, no need to make choices…meanwhile everyone else is making choices for us…the media, Hollywood, the government and masters of illusion.

    And Christ said, “wake up”! I wonder why!

  173. Carolyn says:

    As for Bill Johnson’s new thought, perceived redefinition/ of repentance:

    You said, “So, it’s not to be conceived as a sort of hologram. And, while there are those who are pushing a quantum this or a quantum that as New Age (or pseudo-Christian) doctrine, there IS a real scientific discipline known as quantum physics.”

    I was just meaning that the stages in imagining or illusion have been stepped up. They must “prove” something to be true and are going to the particle levels to so so.

    That’s where holographic and quantum theories come in (IMO)…trying to prove realities of thought/force and energy systems through the understanding of what is actually happening at the sub-atomic level. Trying to rationalize illusion to make it more real and ultimately the thinking of God’s Word/ theBible less real (with the intention of disproving it).

    These are the advanced stages of unbelief…where the realities of aliens, the use of robotics, the execution of omnipresence through technology and the worship of an image will be more tangible, more believable than reality itself, more deceivable…if you will.

  174. IWTT says:

    Enlightenment – It still all comes down to that “secret knowledge” that these folks seem to be enamoured with… But

    Secret things belong unto God. (Matthew Henry)

    Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews’ rejection, just as St. Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled, Ro 11:33. We are forbidden curiously to inquire into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek into that which God has made known. He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all Divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed. This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably, and be happy for ever.

  175. @ Carolyn. You nailed it again with “These are the advanced stages of unbelief…where the realities of aliens, the use of robotics, the execution of omnipresence through technology and the worship of an image will be more tangible, more believable than reality itself, more deceivable…if you will.”

    After too much of that stuff (Katy-isms, Oprah-isms etc.) I began to realize that they were completely and utterly deluded. I couldn’t understand it. Seemingly intelligent, caring people were actively and purposefully rejecting reality. And they were proud of it. In my experience, people who did that mostly had psychiatric disorders and didn’t seem to proud of their delusions at all.

    In the last couple of years I have often found myself embroiled in maddening conversations that go something like… ‘well, gender is just a social construct and wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for misogynistic patriarchal societies like ours’ or ‘I think it’s fine for people to believe whatever they want, as long as we all get along’ or ‘I love that idea that we all have God in us, and are just part of a bigger consciousness’. Whaaaat? We have different bits. I know. I have given birth twice. My husband hasn’t. We also have separate minds. How can we be accountable for our actions if we don’t? Can I go to court after committing a crime and say, well don’t charge me…I am actually becoming God, and by the way it was the collective conscious that made me do it? As for us all getting along, you ask these same people if they are happy to get along with people who believe that female circumcision is an essential part of maintaining a moral society and all of a sudden they don’t want to play with those people. Or anyone who disagrees with them. Which is us.

    um, hello…sanity. Are you still there?

    When I started researching emergent church/new age stuff as false teachings, I read a lot about post-modernism and its impact on the church and the world. There, finally, was the description of everything that had been driving my science-fond brain crazy, and eroding my confidence in the existence of reality for so many years. The madness that had started with Philosophy 101 in my first year of university was finally exposed!!!

    No wonder I am saner than ever…I am now firmly grounded in the reality (that’s God’s reality, of course) that I have strongly suspected was there all along, and at times valiantly defended! I wonder if you know what I mean? :-)

    A tree is a tree is a tree. We can call it a ‘socially constructed environmentally biased delusion of botany’, but crash your car into it and you will still need to call a tow truck.

  176. @ Craig. So do you get to call yourself the resident nerdy Christian jazz guy? Cool. :-) So what are you going to with the album now? This is where is gets tricky, I find.

    Also, you wrote “The concept of maya is such that once one is fully enlightened, one just IS. There are no feelings or non-feelings, no awareness nor unawareness. One just IS.”

    Am I the only one the finds the thought of what this describes as hideous (and a teensy bit stupid…as if One just ‘IS’)? It is actually describing utter annihilation of the mind…what is the purpose of existence without these things? Sea cucumbers could probably tell us, only.. well…they just ARE. What a heinous lie to sell to people, as we know all too well that there is nothing of the sort waiting for unbelievers after this life. The consciousness of eternal punishment is what people are being deceived about here…that it doesn’t exist.

    @ IWTT – great comment! What would be laughable if it weren’t so serious is the utter folly of human beings even thinking that they CAN understand the things of God without his illumination. Or that they CAN access the secret things of God without his permission. Oh, how the mighty have fallen…

  177. Just for laughs, although it really isn’t funny…one of the search terms on my site today was’ is pastor carson pierson part of the new age movement’. Curious, I googled him (I had never heard of him before).

    It would appear that they meant Carlton Pearson. Here is the Wikipedia link….decide for your self (I’ll give you a clue…he is the fruit that grows from the Oral Roberts tree):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Pearson

    I sure hope this searching person can see what I see.

  178. Craig says:

    The actual goal in “enlightenment” or whatever one calls it, through the vehicle of contemplative prayer, aka centering prayer, aka “intimacy with the Father”, “soaking”, etc. IS to dissociate from the mind. The mind is seen as the ‘problem’. This goes all the way back to Platonism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, and of course, all the Eastern religions. In her second book Cumbey relates the story of a piano tuner with an Eastern ‘mindset’ who could not effectively tune her piano.

    What will I do with the David Torn album? Why, I’ve been listening to it in the car the past couple days. I think it’s very good, very interesting. Actually, the piece “rest & unrest” is the least engaging (though some of the studio trickery is interesting). After wrestling with the issue of secular music and my Christian walk for quite a number of years, I’ve determined that it’s OK for me to listen to most of the music I’d listened to prior to my conversion. I liken it to eating meat sacrificed to idols. If a given artist wishes to adhere to a religious belief different from mine, that’s his/her prerogative. It doesn’t have to influence me.

    Music by itself, as distinct from lyrics, has no intrinsic religious value, as I see it. I find it interesting that Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” is associated by some as demonic solely because it was used in the movie “The Exorcist”, yet the music is actually very tame. For those who don’t know anything about it, the first little bit here is the basic theme:

    Now, the repetition could possibly be trance-inducing to one so inclined to use it as a vehicle for such; but, this is no different than a lot of other music.

    As to your (probably rhetorical) question, “So do you get to call yourself the resident nerdy Christian jazz guy?” I like all different kinds of jazz, and all different kinds of rock, and mostly modern classical (though not exclusively so). With a collection of over 2500 LPs, over 500 cds (used to be more like 3000 and 700), it’s quite eclectic. If you want to get an idea of how much so, check out this “anthology” of Bill Johnson articles (at that time):

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/anthology-of-bill-johnson-articles-so-far/

    The music I hyperlink to is stuff I either have, have had, or at least know something about. Most of it I like. And the rock music stuff I reference, I’m well acquainted with. And, I had some fun with the article itself!

  179. :-) I reposted in full on my blog. Fantastic, don’t know how I missed that one. Don’t get me started on Donald Miller OR Joseph Garlington. It is way past my bedtime and it will just get ugly if I start now. Kenny G…jazz? LOL, still liked him though!!

    Nice to meet a fellow collector. I collect books. Real ones, Kindle ones, and PDF’s. Theology. Parenting. Education. Global Politics. You know, the light stuff. The good, the bad and the ugly. I have actually started collecting documentaries and audiobooks. I prefer reading but realize that some people don’t, so if I want share information, visual and audio mediums seem to be a helpful addition to my collection. And sometimes I read and watch something at the same time. :-)

    Having said that, I think you are in my Dad’s league as a more highly “evolved” (lol) collector than me. :-) I am guessing you have your music catalogued, possibly also arranged in a very specific order (including your digital collection)? That’s the bit I didn’t inherit. The organizational skills. I never collected music for some reason, but you should see my wishlist on iTunes. It has every album I have ever liked on it. Talk about a crazy range of music. Now I just have to get around to buying them. Maybe we could set up online swap meets via the blog…books, music, documentaries?

    I also listen to some secular music. For starters, most of the classical music I listen to falls into that category. As I am not a ‘detail’ person, half the time I wouldn’t have a clue about it except maybe who wrote it. I also like quite a few singer/song writer types (rock/bluesy/homegrown) and enjoy hearing about lives different from the one that I live. It has helped me understand other views and experiences, and appreciate my own. Having said that my most played album in the car at the moment is a classic hymn album – Chris Rice “Peace Like a River”. An outstanding way to teach my kids sound theology too!

    Ok, I am officially off topic. Have a nice day crew…zzzzz

  180. Craig says:

    This commercial does a good job at describing Kenny G (“that story’s horrible”):

    http://tvcommercialssongs.com/snickers-cards-commercial-song-silhouette-by-kenny-g/

    Yup, my LPs are catalogued (mostly), though the cds are much less so. I used to be very anal-retentive about that, but not so much any more. Singer-songwriters? Yep, got those, too (70’s era mostly). Joni Mitchell had a fantastic voice and some really good, clever lyrics (though very secular). I started out with rock music, and added jazz later. Actually, I know quite a bit more about music and trivia than theology, as it’s been such a part of my life for so many years.

    I’m now collecting books. REAL ones; ones I can hold in my hand. I have NT commentaries in each book of the Bible; at least two of each, with about a dozen on the Gospel of John (my favorite book in Scripture). I have a BUNCH of NT Greek books (lexicons, study helps, textbooks, etc.). Now I need a bigger apartment. And more hours in the day to study…

  181. Carolyn says:

    In response to” “Or, as Bill Fawcett stated of Johnson’s “Thinking from the Throne”: “the main doctrinal thrust of the message is that we live in a spiritual universe, and the present world is just an illusion.”

    I suppose the spiritual is closer and more real than the physical. But God has separated us by a veil and we are not to cross it without endangering ourselves. Hence the occult means hidden, veiled.

    Hopefully, I’m not repeating myself too many times, but isn’t the real goal of all this spiritual perception, to become perfect, to reach heaven, to transcend the physical world, to realize immortality and to harmonize with perfection thereby overcoming the need to deal with a sin nature without going through the process of death? God said to Adam and Eve…you shall surely die. Satan is still saying to mankind, hath God said….?

    The secret doctrines have been conditioning their initiates in these “truths” for as long as they have existed. They imagine themselves enlightened because they have knowledge of the secrets of spiritual reality.

    When I look at Baphomet or the Snake encircling itself, I personally get a gross feeling. Ephesians 5:11 “It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Even researching these things, to touch them periodically gives one a feeling of contamination as you have said, Sherryn and I agree with.

    Ephesians 5 instructs us how to live before God and it is not by crossing the barrier before our time. God sees such imaginations as disobedience. Sure, when we believe in Christ, we have crossed from death to life. But that remains in the context of faith. Biblically speaking, it’s the “fear of death” that has been overcome. We are no longer fearful of dying because in Christ, by faith, the barrier of sin that separates us from God has been broken down in Christ. Once we cross through death from the physical into life, all things promised us in Christ will then become reality.

    Achieving sinless perfection and immortality by any other means, and if we buy into the quantum leap theory or any other such secret knowledge…if we pull back the veil of physical/spiritual separation before the end of time, we WILL endanger our eternal state.

    Last night I had sort of a spiritual experience, I’d say, in that the word “subatomic” kept riveting in my brain (when I was trying to sleep). There was something I was missing, I had to get up and look up some things. And sure enough…I got it!! …but the occult something is something I don’t wish to pursue. It’s leading me into paths of unrighteousness. So I’ll stick with the Word of God and leave the “secrets” for those who wish to eat of the tree of forbidden fruit and be “enlightened”.

    IWTT: I loved Matthew Henry’s admonition to be content with the the Word of God.

    Colossians 1:23 “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

    Can we say it often enough???

    Sherryn and Craig…reminder…off topic guys….. :-) I’m totally kidding…you know it!! Just being a brat.

  182. Craig says:

    I suppose the spiritual is closer and more real than the physical. But God has separated us by a veil and we are not to cross it without endangering ourselves. Hence the occult means hidden, veiled.

    I’m not sure I’d phrase it like that. God’s creation was “very good” according to Genesis 1:31, yet it’s now tainted with sin of The Fall and the sins of us all. Additionally, I wouldn’t state that the physical is separated by the spiritual by a “veil” as this sounds very New Age-y.

    Hopefully, I’m not repeating myself too many times, but isn’t the real goal of all this spiritual perception, to become perfect, to reach heaven, to transcend the physical world, to realize immortality and to harmonize with perfection thereby overcoming the need to deal with a sin nature without going through the process of death? God said to Adam and Eve…you shall surely die. Satan is still saying to mankind, hath God said….?

    While I know what you’re getting at, from the perspective of the esoteric, one does “die” in order to live. Bailey calls it “The Great Renunciation” or “dying to self” (really the “not self”, which is the physical). This is because we are, like Sting of the band The Police sang about 30 years ago “spirits in the material world”, according to most occult doctrine. That is, our being is strictly as a spirit, while the physical is not really us at all. This is why the goal is for the outer material “shell” of the body to “die”, releasing the formerly encapsulated soul/spirit to life eternal.

    As regards the sin nature, esoterics are so deluded they actually believe they CAN overcome their sins through self-will, through overcoming their ‘lower, human nature’ by allowing the divine inside to overtake it.

  183. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn: “Can I go to court after committing a crime and say, well don’t charge me…I am actually becoming God, and by the way it was the collective conscious that made me do it?”

    Is that a rhetorical question? LOL

    “A tree is a tree is a tree. We can call it a ‘socially constructed environmentally biased delusion of botany’, but crash your car into it and you will still need to call a tow truck.”

    Yes, reality sucks! Hard, cold facts of truth…vs. unverifiable lies of fanciful imaginations.

    Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.

    Craig: …”This is why the goal is for the outer material “shell” of the body to “die”, releasing the formerly encapsulated soul/spirit to life eternal.”

    Of course, what immediately comes to my mind is Lady Gaga and the egg…the whole death and rebirthing process. Strangely, no mention of sin.

    If you don’t like the word “veil”, how do you define what we pass through to get to the other side of reality? If it’s not a veil or a curtain, some sort of separating partition that is meant to keep separate the heavenly dimension from the earthly physical dimension, what is it? We are told not to pass through something occult/hidden. What it is? Only knowledge? The occult calls it portals, time warps, vibrational frequencies, etc. Are they just making this stuff up? Have I succumbed to the seduction somehow, myself, in thinking that there is some truth to these terms? Like when I was mentioning a while ago that the Kundalini was something we have come to believe as a fact, when it is actually, a perception of the occult, a fallacy, a doctrine of a demon. Yes, the evil energies are real, but the blueprints are contrived.

  184. Craig says:

    I’m not sure if your questions are rhetorical or not. I’ll assume not. There’s an idea that the esoteric can effect a “thinning of the veil” between this world and the spiritual/supernatural. Some believe that Sedona, Arizona has a “thin” veil, and that Mt. Shasta has same. That’s nonsense. There may be more demonic activity, but there’s no “‘thinner’ veil” in these places than anywhere else. Scripturally, I don’t think we have any evidence of such a thing as a portal/veil, etc. There’s spiritual activity around us, as per Scripture; but, I’m not sure it’s described as realm we can ‘break’ into. We are to steer clear of accessing the demonic realm, but this doesn’t mean we could conceivably go through some portal/veil to access, thereby breaking God’s command.

    A witch ‘merely’ conjures a spell by speaking forth the words. A WoF adherent does essentially the same by “commanding” God (or Satan) to do thus-and-such. In neither of these cases do the practitioners actually go from the physical realm to the spiritual realm. And, those who think they can break free from the physical in going to the spiritual are similarly deluded. That is, not until the eschaton, anyway.

  185. Carolyn says:

    No, not rhetorical questions. Honest questions about the veil. We’ve talked about the error of the New Age idea of the “thinning of the veil” in past posts. In fact I did a double take when Gary Stearman mentioned the thinning of the veil in a matter of fact statement in one of his daily updates at one point within the last year.

    While I have doubted the reality of portals and poked fun at the concept, I still tend to think in terms of a veil of separation in my own mind. Maybe it’s from my past heretical thinking…but here’s a perfect example of the New Age belief and why – this guy thinks there should be no veil…we can just pass in and out talking to our spirit guides at will and experiencing the spirit life.

    http://spiritquest-panama.blogspot.ca/2011/09/veil-that-separates-us-from-spirit.html

    excerpt: “Today a veil still separates us from the spirit realms. To most of us, this veil seems impenetrable. It seems to block us from direct, conscious contact with Spirit. So we often refer to it as “the veil of separation.”

    In fact, no actual curtain, wall, door, or mist exists between us and Spirit. The veil is a metaphor representing our belief that we are separate from Spirit. It is an illusion we created for various reasons. But even though it is an illusion, it holds our perception of physical reality in place. Most of us still believe the physical “reality” is the only reality that exists, because the veil blocks our view of the spirit realms that lie beyond it.”

    …..Indeed, we can walk in both the physical world and the spirit realms. We can maintain a viable relationship with our guides, friends, and loved ones who dwell in Spirit. We can relate to them just as we do with friends and family here in the physical world. It is not only possible — it is normal and natural to do so because we ourselves are spiritual beings, even if we are temporarily encased in physical bodies.
    There are various ways to penetrate the veil. For example, millions of people have had near-death experiences in which they died temporarily but were revived and returned to tell us about their experiences. But we do not have to die physically to make contact with “the other side.” There are other less drastic means such as out-of-body experiences, meditation, visualization, hypnosis, mediumship or channeling, after-death communications with loved ones, and automatic writing. Many people are surprised to learn that we leave our physical bodies every night and travel beyond the veil to the spirit realms when we are dreaming.
    The veil seems to have become thinner now, and gaining access to “the other side” seems to be easier than before. I believe this is a result of our accelerated spiritual growth in recent years — along with our desire to create a closer relationship with Spirit and our faithful adherence to spiritual practices such as meditation. As the veil has thinned, our feeling of separation from Spirit has diminished. Meanwhile, our ability to see beyond the veil and even travel beyond it has grown.”

    This would be a perfect example of your “witch” scenario. And I concur.

    The true spiritual realm(God’s realm), I believe the Bible term is third heaven….
    2 Corinthians 12:2
    I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.

    the third heaven….is out of reach for any human being unless by direct intervention of God, but then only for his specific purpose and definitely not on an ongoing basis. But the second heaven, which is Satan’s realm of activity is what we are experiencing. And any of the powers and realities of that dimension can be transferred to us through the activities of transcendental mediation, psychic phenomenon and the guidance and influence of demons/ spirit guides in their craft of illusion and deception. The more open to it, the more we can be deluded.

    Ephesians 2:2
    Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

    1 John 5:19
    We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

  186. Carolyn says:

    The more I talk the more I answer my own question. I should have just asked myself in the first place, but that mode of communication never seems to work as well. I’m seem to learn best by thrashing it out with someone who can pose some objective objections.

  187. Carolyn, I believe the fancy term is a ‘verbal processor’. Me too. Poor Craig. ;-)

    In your quote the guy says we leave our bodies and go to the spirit realm every night when we dream. Um, whaaaat? This is nonsense. (I miss science. Real science.) What if I take a sleeping tablet and don’t dream (which I do many nights)? Does that mean I stayed home? I have soared over the cliffs of Dover (those amazing white cliffs in England). Have I been there? No. Was I asleep and dreaming? No. Did I go there ‘in the spirit’? No. I was just on acid at the time. Taking mind-altering drugs in my foolish youth taught me a lot about how easily deceived the mind is, and how eager people are for false experiences. Then studying neuroscience and cognitive science at university helped confirm that observation. Actually, my own life is a living example of this. The experience-driven delusions of the new age, NAR and mystics we discuss here have the same quality as the thrill-seeking delusions of those in underground rave scene. Hardly Christian.

    Clearly, if anything, the spirit world comes to us. Which again reinforces what I gather Craig is saying…there is no actual, tangible veil or pathway to God that we can control. We may invite spirits in to deceive and delude us (after all, the Bible shows that God allows and/or wills people to be deceived at times), but never the other way around without God’s intervention. Again, my mind boggles at humanity’s vanity that they could even handle being in God’s presence or understand the secret things of God.

    Also, it occurred to me that it isn’t a tangible, measurable, penetrable veil, is it? Surely it is the fundamental qualitative and quantitative difference between the eternal creator and the created creature, between the pure and the unclean. It is so beyond some ‘barrier’ we can understand, quantify or penetrate somehow against God’s will. It is the immeasurable difference between God and us. An unbearable darkness of not being God vs. the unapproachable light that God our Father, who is spirit, dwells in. You see, the BIble never tells us we will become like our Heavenly Father. Only that we will become like the resurrected Christ, the last Adam, and will be able to fellowship with God the Father. But it NEVER says we will become like the Almighty God.

    This seems to be an important distinction, but I am just thinking out loud and open to correction. Were it not for our mediator, Jesus Christ, we would not even be having this conversation. For those who reject Christ, they have no mediator and therefore dwell in the darkness and speak of things they know nothing of. Even we see things through the glass darkly. Oh, how it makes me weep for those souls.

  188. Craig says:

    Now that I consider this further, I suppose an easy way to reconcile the “veil” thing is the example of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, like all the Godhead, is omnipresent. God is spirit, incorporeal. At the moment of conversion, the new Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Certainly, there was no “veil” for the Spirit to go through. And the Holy Spirit in one Christian is the same Holy Spirit in another.

    Sherryn, you wrote:

    …You see, the BIble never tells us we will become like our Heavenly Father. Only that we will become like the resurrected Christ, the last Adam, and will be able to fellowship with God the Father. But it NEVER says we will become like the Almighty God.

    This seems to be an important distinction, but I am just thinking out loud and open to correction…

    We must bear in mind that Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh; that is, the eternal Word, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity began a new mode of existence as Jesus Christ, with the eternal Word adding to Himself a human form. Yet, ontologically, the Word remains co-equal with the Father (and the Holy Spirit). There is not a hierarchy within the Trinity. Theologically, it is 100% correct to state that Jesus Christ is equal to the Father (“I and the Father are one” – John 10:30). Yet, Jesus Christ also stated, “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). A contradiction? No.

    Jesus was/is the unique God-man – fully God, yet fully man. While on earth, Jesus Christ was to submit to the task He Himself chose, namely to die on the Cross to atone for the sins of mankind, thus providing the means by which mankind can be reconciled to the Triune God. We are to submit to the Spirit in order to emulate the life of Christ, that is, His humility, faithfulness, servanthood, etc. (Phil 2:3-8). And we who “run the race” (1 Cor 9:24; Heb 12:1) will receive the “prize” of resurrection, culminating in the privilege of spending eternity with the Trinitarian God.

  189. Thanks Craig, that was helpful. I knew I was on thin ice, but couldn’t put it quite how I wanted to. I guess what I am trying to say is this…there is a quality of God (including Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as co-equal ) that is so beyond us that we clearly will never be identical to Him. However, there is some aspect of Jesus and his adding of humanity to his Godhood, and his resurrected body that I don’t quite understand, but it seems to point to how we will be after this life, in the eternal one to come. My thoughts were half formed around this, but it had to do with the way NAR, emergents and new agers dichotmise Jesus and God the Father. It was not my intention to do so as well.

    Anyway, perhaps my point was mainly that the difference between us as sinful humans still in corruiptible bodies and God in heaven is immeasurable, and the deadly folly of man is to think we can understand or access beyond what God has revealed and the Holy Spirit illuminates for us.

    Wow, and it isn’t even that late here.

  190. Craig says:

    The early Church had difficulty with the Person of Jesus Christ, His relation to the Father, and the doctrine of the Trinity. It wasn’t until 451 AD with the Chalcedonian Definition (Creed) that this was worked out (this will be in a future article). And Chalcedon has become the touchstone of proper Christology.

    The way I see it, Jesus, as sinless man, is a model to attempt to emulate, yet we will never actually attain sinlessness in this lifetime. However, to the extent we fully submit to the Holy Spirit, we will be without sin; but again, with our sin nature we just cannot do this for long periods of time. How long? I dunno. Yet, in the eternal life to come we will be without sin.

    We also follow Jesus in that we will receive a new glorified body upon resurrection. My assumption is that it will be the same kind as Jesus’ body. However, of course, we will never be ontologically of the same essence as Jesus Christ, the Father, or the Holy Spirit.

  191. Thank you. You nailed it. Therefore, only those in darkness could think they could attain anything like Godhood. I think that was my point. Thanks for making it clear to me. :-)

  192. VQ says:

    Is there a site or person that succinctly gives info on the heretical teachings of Bill Johnson and his “affiliates” or even just a list of those individuals and ministries? His teaching has found its way into the church we have attended for the past year and I find it so grievous that other members and even leaders of the congregation have the attitude of “Leave the bad. Keep the good.” There is so much bad but the bad I am most concerned about doesn’t have to do with secondary issues. I would like direct quotes or clips to share with others which clearly expose the fact that Bill and his cohorts are preaching another gospel and worshiping another god. I regret not having hours and hours to gather all of the information myself. I am caring for an elderly parent which requires any spare time I may have (which is none). However, I feel called to be a watchman and sound the alarm to protect those I love from being led astray. My heart is so troubled and burdened about this recent development in the church we no longer attend but still have friends who do.

  193. Craig says:

    VQ,

    I’ve done extensive work on Bill Johnson’s teachings here on this site. With your limited time, perhaps you could start at the Bill Johnson’s Christology Explained section here:

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

    …and then this article, beginning with the section Bill Johnson Redefines the Antichrist Spirit:

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

  194. Arwen4CJ says:

    VQ,

    I know what you mean about trying to find clips and quotes to show people so that they will hopefully understand that these individuals are false teachers.

    First off, anyone listed on the Elijah List is pretty far out there, and these individuals are all associated with each other, including with Bill Johnson:

    http://www.elijahlist.com/links.html

    If you look at their main page on any given day, you will see false prophecies with bad theology in them. Why would anyone sound want to be associated with this website?

    Secondly, Bill Johnson and many others anointed Todd Bentley at a special commissioning ceremony in Lakeland, Florida. If you go to youtube and do a quick search, you should be able to find the commissioning ceremony clips. Search specifically for Bill Johnson anointing Todd Bentley, and you should find a short enough clip.

    Also search for videos involving John Crowder. Bill Johnson supports Crowder and is friends with him.

    A quick search on Bob Jones will reveal that he used his position in a church in order to have people undress in front of him. Jones is way off the deep end, and Bill Johnson has had Jones speak at his conferences and at his supernatural school.

    If you or the people you know have more time, here is a half hour video that Bill Johnson calls the gospel:

    I think it might be the same one I listened to when I was trying to gather evidence for people that I knew. If this is the same one, then you can clearly see what Johnson’s gospel is about, and that it is a false one.

    For Johnson, it seems that Jesus’ entire reason He came to earth was so that we could be just like Jesus, and so that we could be powerful and do supernatural things. This seems to be his gospel.

    My guess is that the people you know have already been exposed to his false teachings, but do not recognize these things as being false. My advice to you would be to ask your friends questions to try to get them to think and to pray about these things.

    Unfortunately, unless God is working on these people’s hearts, they will probably dismiss you. They will think that you don’t get it because you’re not spiritual enough or whatever :( However, by God’s grace, some are pulled out of the movement, and you don’t know which ones God will pull out. So yes, please do warn.

    Craig has some quotes from Johnson’s books where Johnson says things like Jesus emptied Himself of His deity.

    Craig, perhaps you can find some of the quotes you’ve used for articles, as it sounds like VQ doesn’t have time to read through the actual articles. Maybe you could e-mail VQ some of those quotes? The ones that you find especially heretical?

  195. Carolyn says:

    Craig, Sherryn: So we are to understand that the mind never goes anywhere. The delusion comes to the mind. The spiritual acts on the physical and makes it experience things as though they were real. As well, the body never goes anywhere.

    Even the so called “out of body” experiences are not somewhere else. They are here on the physical level. As a Christian this is what we are to believe, rather than the astral travel, etc.

    Further thinking about the veil:

    1Cor 3:14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

    So would you say this veil is literal or a metaphor for blindness to spiritual things? It does seem to be literal because we can actually see the gospel clearly when we believe in Christ, whereas the world remains blinded. They literally have some kind of veil (spiritual blindness) covering their minds.

    2 Corinthians 4:4
    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    Could we define “spiritual” then, as something outside the physical body and mind that acts on the physical life making it experience the spiritual conditions as though they were real. But in actual fact, the unbelieving person is still dead and has no inherent spiritual life.

    Could we define a Christian as actually becoming alive spiritually, having their spirit brought to life.

    Romans 8:9-11
    King James Version (KJV)
    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
    10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
    11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    If there are those in the Christian culture who appear to be alive spiritually, but they are not…then how do we tell the difference? By their profession? By their fruit? By their endurance? By their interest in spiritual things? By the miracles they do? By the confession of their sin? By the good works the do? By the fact that they obey the teachings of Christ?

    I guess this is where the tares and the wheat grow together. You can’t always tell, at least not at first. As time goes on, it becomes more apparent, through lifestyle, false teaching, rejection of the true gospel and unrepentant idolatry.

    Well, even if you didn’t learn anything, there are some things that got cleared up for me. Thanks for your input. So no veil of separation….*sheepish grin*

  196. Carolyn, those are all valid questions and relevant Scripture references. Thanks for putting in the effort, it is very helpful to me.

    Everything I have ever studied about the mind seems to indicate it stays where it is, and vision, dreams, hallucinations and other forms of delusion come to us. But obviously I can’t prove it, and don’t deny God’s direct intervention. I also can’t guarantee that we never go elsewhere bodily. Even Paul did not know if he went to the 3rd heaven bodily or not. I do know that the brain is capable of being deceived into believing almost anything. Consider this…the mind can be ultimately deceived into thinking that God doesn’t exist. And that we are God. Wow. And that is while body, mind and spirit are in the one place.

    I think perhaps the core issue here really is what is the true nature of the spiritual experiences being claimed by those in the new age movement and in the aberrant movements within the visible church. The claims are so against Scripture that I cannot see how they are ‘God encounters’ as BJ and co. are so fond of calling them. Jesus tells us himself that no one has seen the Father, yet Stacy Campbell and many others claim they have. In fact, Stacy Campbell’s Jesus has super stretchy arms. Patricia King’s Jesus has an office and sews beautiful robes for her with gemstones each representing the godly women of our history. Beni Johnson’s god sends the sounds of heaven down to her office, and lets her wake up his angels by shouting at them from the Grand Canyon. Why are they sleeping, one has to wonder. Another person in that camp claims to have seen God the Father, who literally took his heart out and gave it to her (maybe that was Stacy too, not sure).

    I really don’t know if there is a literal veil. It seems that if there is, it is something placed there by God which only he can remove. Therefore, the claims being made by people who say that we can initiate the breach or lifting of this veil (or find its thin places, what…like God needs to repair it?) must necessarily be false. When people make contact with evil spirits, are they breaching the same veil, or is that different, as it is something that people can initiate?

    Thankfully, God’s heavenly realm seems to be by invitation only…which is in direct contradiction to the false teachings of all those who claim to go (or worse, take people) on trips to the 3rd heaven, or who initiate (through meditation, fasting etc) and have conversations with Jesus in visons etc. Are their spirits going somewhere outside their bodies? I don’t know, but it just doesn’t seem so. If that were to happen, then we have to ask questions like…can the spirit be separated from the body and yet the body still be alive. It certainly doesn’t happen the other way around…at death, the spirit departs. What if it happened by accident? What if you had a stroke while your spirit was away somewhere, and got brain damage? Could your spirit return? What would your existence be like?

    I know these might sound like dumb questions, but outside the miraculous intervention of God, these are questions people should be asking if they believe their spirits can travel away from their living bodies and are seeking the experience for themselves!! More concerning to me is how far does this deception go? It would seem to me that no deceiving spirit, much less Satan himself is bound to do the bidding of some channeling ‘new ager’ or deceived pentecostal. Therefore, any perceived power over the spirit world must be part of the deception.

    Anyway, I am not making a biblical case for my arguments. Perhaps I will stop rambling and go away and read up on it in the Bible. I guess in answer to your musings about the wheat and tares…I think the Holy Spirit does give us wisdom and discernment in that area too, when we see his guidance in confidence and prayer. Often it is subtle clues that tell us. Other times we have to step back at look at the bigger picture and suddenly we can see clearly where a person is at. I guess it is just important to remember we may be able to discern where they are at, but not where they will end up!

    I have experienced this with much greater frequency this past year. Ironically, apart from being rather cross at false teachers, it actually has been very humbling and made me able to witness more to people who on the surface seemed like they were fine in their Christian walk, until I could see that they weren’t actually grounded in Scripture at all. So it didn’t make me judgmental, but more compassionate and patient. I take that as the Holy Spirit’s promised spiritual fruit, and not just my fabulous personality. I find it hard to talk about such experiences of growth in a world of pseudo-spirituality and false humility. But I think we should share our stories of growth and spiritual maturing, boasting in Christ alone if you will, but not ignoring the ‘experiential’ aspect of genuine faith in Christ for fear of ending up like spiritual experience-junkies. That helps us learn what the real fruit of the spirit looks like, in ourselves and others. xx

  197. Craig says:

    I think Carolyn pretty much answered her own questions as to the “veil”. The “veil” is spiritual blindness, just as Paul mentions the Jews in Romans 11:25 (“blindness” in KJV; “hardening” in NIV, NASB). Be sure to check different translations for the word “veil”, etc.

    The unbelieving person is “spiritually dead”, that is, they have no eternal life (keeping in mind the “already but not yet” in Eph 2:6/Col 3:1-3); but, this does not preclude said person from experiencing spiritual things. In fact, this is what Paul speaks of in 2 Thess 2:9-12.

  198. Yes, I have read it, thanks for reminding me as I will repost it on my blog!

    Oh wait. Are you saying I am a heretic? ;-)

  199. Craig says:

    I only mentioned it in regards to your comments:

    …Ironically, apart from being rather cross at false teachers, it actually has been very humbling and made me able to witness more to people who on the surface seemed like they were fine in their Christian walk, until I could see that they weren’t actually grounded in Scripture at all. So it didn’t make me judgmental, but more compassionate and patient…

  200. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn, Nevertheless, thanks for the ramblings.

    If God tests the heart, through what he allows….even the veil of blindness is allowed by God

    …he allows these delusions, false prophets and Pharisees (I mean, he could just wipe out the lot of them with a sideways glance)…

    what is he looking for in us? Are we willing to ask ourselves, “how can I personally be deceived?”

    For instance, why were the Pharisees deceived? They knew the Scriptures like the back of their hand and yet Christ told them they didn’t know God. Why not? What was the veil of blindness that kept them from knowing Him?

    Why are those who follow the more Charismatic Christian culture today, deceived? They know the Scriptures well enough. They get excited to hear about God is doing. Many of them are masters at apologetics, as were the Pharisees. But they will be told by Christ, “depart from me, I never knew you”.

    Scripture tells us that our hearts are deceptive. How can we escape the deception of our own hearts? What will keep us from delusion? What stops us from choosing our desires for something else besides God?

    I submit that for most of us, pride in one form or another is at the heart of deception. We have the truth at our disposal but the majority are still missing it.

    Christ tells us about those who thought they were secure in their knowledge. And it turned out they didn’t even KNOW God!!! Something to think about for those who are caught up in following their leaders who SEEM to be on target.

    I’m thinking of what is happening right now with some of the big conventions and assemblies …both in the Pharisaic camps and in the Charismatic camps.

    I think in both cases, the “individual” has to separate from being swept up into the “herd” mentality and come apart with a sincere desire to know the real God.
    …see what happens next:
    First there should be a feeling of intense unworthiness (consciousness of sin)
    Then there should be the understanding that God gives you personally (Jesus is your righteousness)
    Then there should be the humbly accepting of what he tells you about yourself. (humility)
    Now the barrier/veil of religion should have been removed…making way for:
    ….a seeking after God with all our heart (relationship)

    In the end…individual, personal, honest relationship with God is our only guard against deception. One will never get this from the group. Sorry to disappoint..but it’s the absolute truth! God requires a one on one relationship with each of us, a pilgrim’s journey on a narrow road.

  201. Craig says:

    I wanted to comment briefly on heaven, 3rd heaven, etc. The Greek word (transliterated) ouranos means either heaven or sky. With this in mind, obviously context will determine translation. In Luke 4:25, for example, it is translated as “sky”:

    I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.

    Here the term refers to the earth’s atmosphere. This is the 1st heaven.

    And, given that Paul stated he went to the 3rd heaven, which is the place where God dwells, there must be a total of three, as it would seem as though there cannot be a heaven higher than God’s dwelling place! Since God created the cosmos, the universe, then it follows that He dwells outside of it, for would God not have had a home prior to creation?

    Mike Oppenheimer had done a study, focusing primarily on the Hebrew text (he’s Jewish), and in the following is his conclusion:

    http://letusreason.org/Biblexp130.htm

    Note that the 2nd heaven includes the cosmos beyond the earth and its atmosphere, as per Oppenheimer. Makes sense, no?

  202. Brilliant, thanks Craig and Carolyn. I think this stuff is making my brain hurt. I am struggling to know what to do with all of the information in my head. That is partly why I set up my blog, to be a clearing house for my brain, and hopefully for others! I find it hard to process information by reading from a screen, without face to face dialogue. Hence I end up tangled and thinking I don’t understand things when actually I do. Still, it is great to be able to have other believers to ‘talk’ to, as many people I know are just not interested. My pastor is going to sit with me and God through my blog, then I think I will start sharing it with people from church. Maybe I can find some ‘kindred spirits’. Just to be clear…I mean people. lol

    Craig, I have been meaning to head back to Mike’s site and this is a good start. His work has been hugely helpful over the past year or so, and he has been very encouraging to me. My Dad first recommended him and started reading his articles about 15 years ago! Also, I really appreciated your article ‘Am I a heretic’. I reread it this morning and can see why you sent it to me.

    Carolyn and crew, if you haven’t read Mike’s stuff, I highly recommend it. He has covered the full gamut of false teachings in the church over the past 20 years or so.

  203. Carolyn says:

    Yes, that outline by Mike O. makes sense. It’s hard to imagine that God lives outside of heaven because it’s already so big, I have a hard time getting a perspective on just how great He is.

    Today when I turned on the tele, there was a canoeist talking about his near death experience. Since we had been on the subject I listened. He had the experience of seeing everything in beautiful colours, the energy was vibrant, wonderful feeling of peace and happy voices. He didn’t want to come back.

    He says he’ll never be the same. He’s not afraid of death anymore. He’s content to just live life and when death comes, it will be like birth, just passing into some other reality.

    Like Maya…we just are.

    It’s hard to argue with experience. His was a very powerful delusion…if I didn’t have a Biblical worldview, I could easily be moved by his experience to believe that all that’s required of us is to pass from death to life. No expectations. That was his conclusion.

    So many false experiences these days.
    Deception…an illusion given for the purpose of misleading.
    Truth…revelation to lead to eternal life in God’s home (3rd heaven)

  204. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn, Craig… thanks for the discussion. We’ve put a lot out there. And yes, I’ve read quite a bit in the past on Mike’s site. He’s great. I agree. I’m gonna take a little break and go sort my thoughts a bit. The wiring in my brain is smoking. But it’s been interesting and challenging.

  205. Enjoy and may the Lord bless you as you seek his truth. Thanks for the conversation, encouragement and great questions. Perhaps we will see you for Craig’s next article?

  206. Craig says:

    Interesting. A while back I bought a lot – as in more than one in a single listing – of books from a seller on eBay, and in this lot was an older (NA25) Novum Testamentum Graece – Greek New Testament. I prefer the formatting of the UBS Greek text; however, I kept the book (I bought the lot for other reference works). Anyway, I decided to look up John 3:13, and I find that the previous owner made the following remark in the margin:

    Clear allusion to gnostic redeemer myth – man who comes down goes up to make salv. [salvation] poss. [possible]

  207. It’s weird to see the view from the other side. Gnostic redeemer myth? Oh, the bitter irony.

  208. http://new.livestream.com/bereancallconference/gibson-1

    Pastor Keith’s book Wandering Stars (about the NAR movement) is excellent. This talk from yesterday is also excellent.

  209. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    I’m listening to Gibson at present (about half, as I do other things right now). At about 41 minutes he talks about “Christians” exacting end time judgments – did you see this post? I quote Bill Hamon here and compare to Barbara Marx Hubbard (among other things):

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

  210. Thanks, I just reread the excellent article you linked…the threat is rather unveiled, isn’t it? Amen, brother….may the Lord have mercy on us.

    I wasn’t sure if you had read Keith Gibson, but thought you might be encouraged by a fellow brother in Christ speaking out about the very things you do here on this blog. He does not go into the new age aspects, but has some great pastoral advice for people. He also preaches the Gospel throughout his message. If you can take the time, listen to the Q & A at the end facilitated by T A McMahon.

    Also, BJ’s son Eric has a new sermon reviewed by Chris Rosebrough on Fighting for the Faith this past week. I thought you might be interested. I haven’t listened yet, but the last one I listened to (from the Bethel site) was a combination of his Dad’s teachings plus some self-help/motivational ’10 steps to a better life’ kind of false teaching. Mostly he just talked about himself. (From memory, it took about 23 minutes into a 33 minute sermon to actually talk about the Bible, which he then mangled. I think that’s some kind of record).

    God bless you, Craig. :-)

  211. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    Keith Gibson and another gentleman had a blog titled “Sign of Jonah” some six or so years ago (it has been marked “private” for a number of years now). That was one of my first forays into the blogosphere – commenting, that is. I learned much from Keith and the folks who contributed over there. IWTT, who posts here, was one of those frequent commenters.

    I have Keith’s book.

  212. IWTT says:

    Well, glad to see some of you brothers and sisters watched the stream. I was in my office watching and texting with my daughter, lwho ives in Des Moines, while she was watching. Technology, gotta love it. I think she finally saw what I have been talking to her about all these years, After the session was over I was able to leave my office at 2:30 went to the conference and ended up having dinner, e mono, e mono, with Keith Gibson. We spent about 3 hours together and it was a wonderful time. He is a great man and very down to earth and is a boat load of fun.

    I will be watching some of the other sesions this morning and then will go to the conference center later to hear Keith in person. Some of the other sessions were very worth it as well.

    If you get a chance, keep watching…..

  213. Craig says:

    Glad to see your daughter may finally understand the truth about those in the hyper-charismatic movement.

  214. Great to hear you know Keith and his work. I will watch a few more of the talks tonight. They will be available until Monday so if you miss one you can still watch it until then. With the time difference here, it is a bit tricky to watch live so I am glad they have made them available for the whole weekend!

    IWTT, so glad to hear you have been tuned into this for a while, and that your daughter can see the lies for what they are. What a blessing for your both. Thanks for your contributions here, they are a great help to me.

    Blessings to you all. I am off to church now. Time to hear the gospel preached twice in a day, but first, breakfast at my favourite cafe with my lovely mama. Bye. :-)

  215. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Hey…this off topic, but I would like your help… I need to know about Dr. Michael Brown. I see that he speaks at Bethel, leader at the Brownsville Revival. He’s of the hyperCharismatic variety. I would like to know if anyone has any specific quotes. I just listened to a radio show question that he fields on the NAR, but he skirts the real issue: http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2009/11/24/november-24-2009/ Bill Fawcett commented on that page.

    Thanks, folks!

  216. Craig says:

    Brown at times seems balanced, yet, as far as I know, he’s not done very much in terms of critiquing IHOP, Bethel, etc. In fact, it seems he’s lending them some credence, if nothing else by his reticence.

    Is there a particular subject you are interested in re: Brown? Are you speaking about the Manhattan Declaration?

  217. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    I answered your question by email.

  218. Funny you should ask, YesNa. One of the ways I research is to find interesting sites (good and bad) and subscribe to their email comments. I then notice thing of interest and may go and read things on the website.

    I recently subscribed to Dr Brown’s email newsletter (perhaps from his radio program or his ‘ASk Dr Brown’ site) thinking he was okay. Then I received a couple of emails that really disturbed me. I wish I had them, but deleted them. Then I saw him advertising in Charisma online, which we all know has no discernment whatsoever!!!

    Then I saw this:

    About Dr. Michael L. Brown
    President, Professor of Practical Theology. B.A (Queens College), M.A. (New York University), Ph.D. (New York University). Dr. Brown served as a leader in the Brownsville Revival from 1996-2000 and birthed FIRE School of Ministry in 2001. He has preached throughout the United States and in more than twenty nations and has written twenty books on revival, holiness, radical discipleship, and Jewish-Christian issues, along with scholarly works in Old Testament and Hebrew studies.

    I checked out the Fire School of Ministry (like that wasn’t setting off alarms bells!), and promptly unsubscribed from his emails. I want nothing to do with the poisoned ‘river’ of this brand of revival, except as part of my research. I can see the same lanugage on his ministry site…birthed, fire, radical etc. The Brownsville revival was a false revival, so how can this guy be okay?

    Anyway, it seems like the same, um…stuff, different window dressing. Better than BJ, but then who isn’t?

  219. IWTT says:

    And one of our fellow bloggers in deep with him and frequents the radio show/blog often. No wonder some think the statements made by BJ on the hypostatic union are seen as orthodox. As I stated before in a private e-mail, a fellow aquaintence says “no” to that statement that was tweeted and states that you have to look at the “whole package” and what he teaches/preaches to truely know where the man stands. Besides, he can’t make that statement and be WoF or Dominionist follower.

  220. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    I just watched the Keith Gibson presentation. Absolutely excellent! He says things that I’ve been saying and seeing. It is probably the most succinct and carefully laid out presentations I’ve heard (or read) yet. I’d like to get his book. Can’t believe I’ve missed it. Thank you, Narrowing Path!

    And thank you also for your comments on Michael Brown!

  221. Not sure where to put this Craig…

    http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/

    Notice the clever deception…put lots of ‘discernment’ articles that expose the lie of ‘Christian’ yoga, then make up ‘Praise Moves’ and sell it around the world.

    Arghhh, making merchandise of our children (well ok, not mine). I think I feel an article coming on.

  222. Pingback: Five Years On: Todd Bentley and Bob Jones Teaching Manifest Sons of God in 2008 | CrossWise

  223. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn, I listened to Keith Gibson…I was surprised when he said how in one service the youth were seated across the front and the adults came and washed their feet, not to show them the path of humility, but rather to initiate them as the chosen generation…the one that will bring in the kingdom. It’s a very seductive, positive outlook for a bright future, except as he says, a kingdom without a king. (And of course the reality that things are not getting better).

    Today, I was listening to a couple of Documentaries on the fantastic capabilities of sharing technology through the internet and travel.
    Daniel 12:4
    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

    There’s an interdependence rather like socialistic mindset which is bringing specialists together from all kinds of different fields in order to invent and increase knowledge and it is being called science. It is a generation that does not care so much for money as “becoming one”, advancing hope for mankind, integrating ideas and working together for the betterment of one world. A very seductive philosophy is being promoted for a bright future. God has been placed on the outside looking in…he is no longer necessary in the equation for success. However, when you read the Word, it gives a very different picture. God is very involved with his creation (like it or not).

    I also appreciated what Keith said about recognizing counterfeit money. Not just knowing the real but the necessity of comparing the two. Of course some counterfeits look pretty close to the real one… but is being “close enough” acceptable? False faith will buy you about as much in God’s economy as the recently counterfeited fake Canadian $100 bills will buy in the Canadian economy.

    YesNa…funny enough, I was just looking at Dr. Michael Brown’s website the other day. In addition to what Sherryn said about the catch phrases, I was already thinking Dominionism at “Voice of Revolution” and “director of the Coalition of Conscience”.

  224. Craig says:

    From here re: Gnostic Redeemer Myth:

    Gnostic Redeemer Myth? Bultmann offers this handy summary, quoted in Neill and Wright:

    The basic elements in the Gnostic myth of redemption, the concrete features of which can very in details, are as follows: A heavenly being is sent down from the world of light to the earth, which has fallen under the sway of the demonic powers, in order to liberate the sparks of light, which have their origin in the world of light, but owing to a fall in primeval times, have been compelled to inhabit human bodies. This emissary takes a human form, and carries out the works entrusted to him by the Father; as a result he is not cut off from the Father. He reveals himself in his utterances (‘I am the shepherd’, etc.) and so brings about the separation of the seeing from the blind to whom he appears as a stranger. His own harken to him, and he awakes in them the memory of their home of light, teaches them to recognise their own true nature, and teaches them also the way of return to their home, to which he, as a redeemed Redeemer, rises again.

    Bultmann, Article on the Fourth Gospel in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart

    Of course, Bultmann thought the gnostic redeemer myth helped to explain John’s Christology. But, as Neill points out, the evidence for a pre-Christian gnostic redeemer myth is non-existent…

    In pre-Christian Graeco-Roman religion there was no redeemer or saviour of a Gnostic type…The most obvious explanation of the origin of the Gnostic redeemer is that he was modelled after the Christian conception of Jesus.

    R M Grant, Gnosticism (1961), 18

  225. Carolyn says:

    So is this just Satan creating confusion?

  226. Craig says:

    Not sure what you mean exactly. Certainly, confusion is Satan’s primary tool. Can you be clearer?

  227. Carolyn says:

    See? When I try to be brief (probably my shortest comment on record) no one understands :-)

    Well, as I was reading this I was trying to understand who was behind the message. Conclusion…Satan. He is trying to bring confusion to the plain truth of the redemptive message of Christ by creating more of the same. He seems to do this all the time.

    I had this same feeling when the group I was with the other day was producing religion upon religion that made promises and proclamations that disappointed the follower, thus intentionally making the real one just one of many and thereby diminishing its relevancy.

  228. Craig says:

    My overriding point for posting this Bultmann quote was to illustrate this viewpoint as a possibility for Johnson’s own viewpoint. Take note that the Redeemer here comes from heaven, yet still has direct access to the Father (i.e., heavenly realms). However, apparently because he’s taken human form, He’s now, like all other humans, entrapped as a “spark of light” in a human body (recall the dualism of ‘spirit is good, matter is evil’). Therefore, He Himself needs redemption. He then teaches them “the way home” by making them understand their “true nature”, and He Himself makes it “home”, thus providing the example for all others.

  229. Carolyn says:

    Ah. I see the point now. But is there an answer to this great mystery?

    That whole division of soul, matter, spirit, etc. gets tricky. The question becomes “WHY” are you trying to separate them, doesn’t it? Is it for righteousness, or for mystical reality? for dealing with the sin nature apart from the prescription of Christ’s death and resurrection life?

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    Why is the message of the hypostatic nature of Christ so important to the message of the gospel…or is it? Can we still be saved apart from believing this doctrine?

    The only answer I see so far, is that it is a set-up for how we relate to God…as submissive subjects or as equal partners…

  230. Carolyn says:

    The Redeemer Myth is a myth, not even close to the truth. It’s clearly a Old Age story with a New Age resurrection. The whole thing is fictional and foreign to Christianity. I don’t think we need to twist Bill Johnson’s thoughts into a strange fictional form. He does that well enough for himself.

    Bottom line is that if we do not believe Christ is who is said he was…God come in the flesh, then we have the wrong Jesus. He is not an ascended master, he is not someone with a divine spark (light) within him, he did not need redeeming for himself, and he is not merely a model for us to follow.

    The Scripture is clear…He (not us) is the spotless lamb of God who came to take away our sin.
    Colossians 1:22-24
    New International Version (NIV)
    22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

    If anyone brings a different gospel…i.e. MSoG, Bill Johnson, NAR or New Ager…
    Galatians 1:9
    As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

  231. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    You wrote: …I don’t think we need to twist Bill Johnson’s thoughts into a strange fictional form. He does that well enough for himself.

    I’m trying to understand your words here. Rather than me misunderstanding and responding incorrectly, please rephrase. The point of posting the recent Bultmann quote was to illustrate that Johnson’s words may well spring from this mindset. Are you agreeing or disagreeing?

    My aim here is to untwist Johnson’s words, exposing the underlying core. Do you think that’s a wrong goal?

  232. Craig says:

    While Gnosticism is most certainly Biblically inaccurate, it WAS and IS still very much alive. There are overt Gnostics right now, those who believe Gnosticism is the true Christianity, such as Elaine Pagels and James M. Robinson, who are teaching that the Church is the one which subverted the “true faith” of Christianity, i.e. Gnosticism. Gnosticism was written about extensively in the early church by individual apologists such as Irenaeus, and this is also being done today.

    Craig A. Evans, whom I’ve referenced here before, actually was a student of James M. Robinson, and he would end up writing his work Fabricating Jesus over against the beliefs of his former teacher (and others). In the preface to the book he recounts his time under Robinson and learning much about his perspective. This apparently would help him in his defense of the faith.

    However, at least the likes of Pagels and Robinson are approaching this honestly – they actually believe Gnosticism is the truth, and they overtly state this in their various works. Bill Johnson on the other hand is much more dangerous. Johnson is presenting himself as a true Christian, all the while subverting the faith and leading untold tens of thousands or more to the broad road of destruction. It appears that Johnson believes Gnosticism to be the truth and is dishonestly persuading others by his pseudo-Christianity under the veneer of (at least quasi-) orthodox Christianity.

  233. Carolyn says:

    Craig…Your last post does clarify things a bit…I’m going to think about it some more.

    The reason I wrote what I wrote is because it seemed like the Redeemer Myth was a speculative argument. I believe Bill Johnson is using the actual Word to twist and distort and we can draw from his actual writings to prove that he is teachings New Age concepts(divine spark light within, cosmic consciousness, as above so below) which you have proved masterfully by your writings to date.

    I didn’t mean to sound so tactless in what I said…but it’s my charm…what can I say.

    It just seems like you are bringing in a new element that I find more in the realm of speculation but perhaps that is because I’m narrow minded and uneducated. Or maybe I want to treat Bill Johnson’s teachings with a little more factual representation. I know if I was Bill Johnson, I would not like someone to be comparing my teachings to a Gnostic Redeemer Myth unless they had hard, cold evidence. And perhaps you do. The jury is still out.

  234. Craig says:

    I did understand you correctly, then. I suppose it’s a good thing I severely amended my comment before actually posting it, in any case.

    Carolyn, you wrote, I believe Bill Johnson is using the actual Word to twist and distort and we can draw from his actual writings to prove that he is teachings New Age concepts(divine spark light within, cosmic consciousness, as above so below) which you have proved masterfully by your writings to date.

    New Age doctrine is drawn from Gnosticism – as well as other occult traditions. “Divine spark/seed” is expressly Gnostic (though it may have been present in Platonism and certainly was/is in some forms of the Kabbalah). “As above, so below” comes from Hermeticism. I’ve noted this in the 2nd part of BJ, New Age Christ:

    As noted in part I, Bailey’s words were channeled through her by a demon known variously as “Djwhal Khul”, “the Tibetan”, or “Master D. K.”. Bailey was essentially a disciple of H. P. Blavatsky, one of the founders of Theosophy. Formed in 1875, Theosophy itself is an amalgamation (uniting) of occult doctrines with some roots in 1st/2nd century Gnosticism. These Theosophical teachings form much of the basis of the New Age / New Spirituality.

    I’ve got a post in the works more fully explaining this one:

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

    If Johnson is teaching that Jesus had a divine seed/spark, as I think this section of his ‘sermon’ illustrates, that’s step one. I think you’ll agree that the “Christ anointing” teaching illustrates a Gnostic influence, as evidence by this direct quote from the 2nd century Gnostic text The Gospel of Philip (as I’ve used now twice on here in two separate articles):

    The chrism [ED: should be chrisma, i.e. anointing] is superior to baptism. For from the chrism we were called ‘Christians’, not from baptism. Christ also was (so) called because of the anointing. For the Father anointed the Son. But the Son anointed the apostles. And the apostles anointed us. He who is anointed possesses all things. He has the resurrection, the light, the cross.

    To be clear, the above quote is making a distinction between Jesus’ baptism by John and the subsequent anointing when the Holy Spirit came as a dove upon Jesus.

  235. Craig says:

    I should add, as well, that 2nd century Gnostics specifically distorted the Person of Christ in their doctrine, as the comment above makes clear:

    In pre-Christian Graeco-Roman religion there was no redeemer or saviour of a Gnostic type…The most obvious explanation of the origin of the Gnostic redeemer is that he was modelled after the Christian conception of Jesus.

    R M Grant, Gnosticism (1961), 18

  236. Carolyn says:

    You said: “New Age doctrine is drawn from Gnosticism – as well as other occult traditions. “Divine spark/seed” is expressly Gnostic (though it may have been present in Platonism and certainly was/is in some forms of the Kabbalah). “As above, so below” comes from Hermeticism. I’ve noted this in the 2nd part of BJ, New Age Christ:”

    You also said: “While Gnosticism is most certainly Biblically inaccurate, it WAS and IS still very much alive. There are overt Gnostics right now, those who believe Gnosticism is the true Christianity, such as Elaine Pagels and James M. Robinson, who are teaching that the Church is the one which subverted the “true faith” of Christianity, i.e. Gnosticism.”

    The Gnosticism of the Kabbalah and that of Elaine Pagels does not line up with my understanding of Christianity.

    But…..Is there not TRUE gnosticism and false? Is there not TRUE esoteric and false? Not to start a heresy here, but what started me along this thinking was a brief exchange with Stewart Best with regards to his use of the term Gnostic Jesus.

    in this respect there does seem to be an esoteric knowledge which remains hidden from all who will not receive the words of Jesus as a little child.
    Luke 10:21
    At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

    Have the writers of history hijacked the word gnostic for their own theories when in fact it is a word that has also much truth in it?

    This is just to get me started…I am not endorsing the site, just this page but it makes me understand why there is so many new fabrications of the real Jesus. Because they are trying to understand him by worldly means, by the operation of the mind apart from the hidden understanding that one gets as one follows the path of understanding and knowledge that the Lord brings as one continues to diligently walk IN THE WORD.

    [ED: link deleted]

    “So then, once again we find references to some HIDDEN and UNKNOWN truth, that once searched out and found, releases the human soul from the ignorance of the world at large, and transfers that soul into a whole new existence – and a whole new perception of what this world is really all about – and it appears to be a “testing ground” of some sort, to sort out who will and who will not believe the Lord as a little Child and do as told.

    Now having said all that, what does that have to with BEING A GNOSTIC or any esoteric teachings of the Lord? We have already seen some very esoteric comments, but most people would never know it and those that do know it, are hiding it for whatever reason. Let’s take a look at the actual definitions now for gnostic and esoteric “knowledge”.

    “Gnosis – knowledge of SPIRITUAL THINGS, MYSTICAL KNOWLEDGE.”

    “Gnostic – 1. Pertaining to knowledge. (2) possessing knowledge especially ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE OF SPIRITUAL THINGS. (3) pertaining to or characteristics of the Gnostics (4) a member of of any certain sects among the early Christians who claimed to have superior knowledge of spiritual things and explained the world as CREATED BY powers or agencies arising as emanations from the Godhead.” – Random House Dictionary of the English Language 1967 Edition.

    Let’s take a look at several of these definitions. The first being having ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE OF SPIRITUAL THINGS. This is of primary importance to this debate. Did Jesus Christ state that He had superior ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE OF SPIRITUAL MATTERS that no one else had? Yes or no? OF COURSE HE DID, OVER AND OVER. That leads us directly to the word esoteric, for its meaning in crucial to understanding what the word gnostic really means:

    “Esoteric – 1. Understood by or meant for ONLY THE SELECT FEW who have special knowledge or interest. (2) belonging to the select few. (3) private, secret or confidential.”

    Now when we combine the two meanings it is obvious that it means that ONE WOULD HAVE A SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE ONLY GIVEN TO A SELECT FEW. We could say this knowledge is given to those who have a special interest and who search the matter out with all due diligence. And further, we could say this SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE, THIS ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE is hidden away from the world at large. There are hundreds of verses to prove all of this.”

  237. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    1) Gnosticism is not a part of Kabbalah. The two are wholly separate.

    2) Short answer: NO, there is not a “true Gnosticism”.

    The word mystery (Gr: musterion) is almost always used in the NT of a secret once hidden but now revealed IN JESUS CHRIST. It’s used as an apologetic against the so-called mystery religions, which had ‘secret knowledge’ that was purposefully withheld from outsiders, of the NT era. These secrets are the means by which adherents ‘progress’. Christians are to evangelize, not hold on to “secrets”. Yes, those outside of Christianity who do not possess the Holy Spirit cannot understand Christian spirituality; but it’s not withheld from them.

    The word gnosis simply means knowledge. Paul uses this in 1 Timothy 6:20 for example as “what is falsely called knowledge”.

    Words have meanings. It is accepted that Gnosticism applies to those who accept the term in the way in which it is typically applied – and that is how it used here. Christians never self-identified as Gnostics. That smacks of elitism. And, Jesus was not a Gnostic in any sense; He was God in the flesh.

    Esoteric knowledge is associated with the occult. Divination as mentioned in the OT is occult/esoteric.

    Please, let’s stay focused on 1) the articles themselves, or 2) the comments in the posts. Tangents are OK, but I don’t want to have spend my time trying to refute someone else’s pet theory. It’s quite time consuming to do the articles themselves.

  238. Carolyn says:

    Sorry, I thought I was replying to your comments on gnosticism, because I truly was confused about the whole thing. I had two completely different opinions and couldn’t reconcile my own thoughts on the subject. When I hear the word gnostic, I think of gnosticism.

    Your reply makes sense. However, if you say I am off topic, I will rest my case.

  239. Carolyn says:

    correction – when I think of the word gnosis, I think of gnosticism.

  240. Craig says:

    Yes, that’s correct; however, my point is that from a NT perspective it’s used simply as “knowledge”, and the like. This is the literal meaning of the Greek word, and it’s current use today (see here).

    Gnosis, when in reference to Gnosticism speaks specifically of the ‘secret knowledge’ that one needs in order to progress spiritually. This is akin to the hyper-charismatic “present truths” or “new revelation”, i.e., those who receive more ‘new revelation’ are thought to be more spiritually mature. And, how does one acquire this ‘new revelation’? Through mystical practices. See the correlation?

  241. Carolyn says:

    Yes, I’m beginning to see the correlation.

    I would never fall for gnosticism from a perspective outside the context of Scripture, i.e. extra biblical texts or New Age teachings, but could I fall for it inside? Having read Stewart Best’s Dark Light(abridged form) and his Gnostic Jesus, I thought it was mostly good, but there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on that was a bit troubling. He keeps saying (my paraphrase), that we need to go to the pit. Sit there till the Lord comes to you. When he comes, you will know him. I interpreted that to mean that in seeking God with our whole heart, we get alone and come to know him. Having read what you have written today (which got me thinking), and a couple of other articles, I need to do some comparisons. Perhaps because of his own experience in how he encountered Jesus, he has projected that into his gospel, almost making a new law out of it. Or it could, as you say, be acquired through a mystical practice. Or it may be just a metaphor.

    His use of Scripture is accurate and I suppose I have interpreted anything that I didn’t quite understand, through my own subjective knowledge. In reading the Gnostic Jesus material, I may be using a bit of cognitive dissonance, ignoring certain aspects in order to create a more consistent thinking. To say it another way, I may be guilty of “seeing things through my own perceived reality”, rather than hearing what is actually being said.

    Wherever there’s a little weirdly different or even seemingly insignificant departure from the original gospel, it’s worth looking into. I’m not saying anything yet.

  242. Actually…this is probably a worthwhile revisiting of the definition of Gnosticism and gnosis. I will share my understanding below, and welcome correction. Obviously, I know y’all know this already, but bear with me…

    The knowledge we have through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (i.e. to understand the Scriptures) is knowledge we have no right to be elitist about, or to boast about as something we have achieved through our own ability. It is (and should be!!) a humbling experience that true believers are grateful for, recognizing that we did nothing to deserve the gift of open eyes and ears.

    Gnostics on the other hand, (both old and new) obtain their secret knowledge through their own activities…through meditation, contemplative prayer, fasting, and other means. This naturally breeds spiritual elitism, and the necessity to teach others ‘the way’ to achieve this secret knowledge. In this respect it is no different to other ‘works-based’ false gospels and spirituality, and opens people up to deceiving spirits. This type of ‘spirituality’ is expressly forbidden by God as are all esoteric/occult practices. Therefore, it seems logical to conclude that whatever spiritual experiences people who indulge in these things are having are not of God (except of course, for those being called out of these beliefs into faith in Christ). Ironically then, ‘knowledge’ is actually a misnomer in these cases.

    The reason this is helpful to the discussion (at least to me) is it highlights what is occurring with BJ. He is seeking spiritual experiences through means that God has declared forbidden and worse, encouraging countless others to do the same (how conveniently these people ignore this fact, yet its so clear in Scripture). It is therefore reasonable to believe with a significant degree of confidence that there is a spiritual process of ‘revelation’ and ‘learning’ that BJ is genuinely experiencing, only he is being instructed in the doctrines of demons. As Craig then points out, it is doing this in Christ’s name that makes it particularly heinous.

    There is definitely a core, cohesive (but false) doctrine being handed down to certain deceived people, century after century. It was happening in the earliest Old Testament times and it is happening today. I think what we are grappling with here at Crosswise is seeing the doctrine (with some variations) in its entirety within the Christian church, thanks to BJ and many others. Rather than just one or two key areas of error, we are seeing the corruption of ALL biblical doctrines by teachers such as BJ, Rick Warren, Brian McLaren and others. Combined with that, they are ALL promoting mystical spiritual practices and experiences. In fact, experience (and therefore, they) are the god being worshipped. Previously, such people were excommunicated from the church to become cults or separate false religions. Now they are remaining in the ecumenical/interfaith web of deceit…still being called the “Christian Church’. This seems unique in our history, but I could be wrong. Again, I would be interested in your thoughts.

    Also, perhaps for the first time in human history, we have the most complete documentation of the beliefs of other false religions (and their aberrations) that have existed. Therefore, we can see with great clarity the body of demonic doctrines, and the underlying coherence of its teachings. What we see is that every religion has its esoteric/gnostic version, which is now pervading that religion openly. I have read articels by Muslims, Jews and Catholics denouncing the mystical practices and teachings of their own versions of Gnosticism/esotericism. Combine that with the open enthusiasm with which Wicca, new age teachings including theosophy (note how popular Steiner schools are!!) are being embraced. What a wicked web.

    I was struck while writing this response how all of this shows the terrible depravity of man that they covet even the divinity of the Lord Jesus himself. Now that is taking coveting to a whole new level. No wonder this is an abomination to our holy God.

    Craig, that Gospel of Phillip quote is eerily like BJ. Had you said it was a BJ quote I would have probably believed you (I am too tired to check my own sources tonight!)

  243. Okay, on a more pastoral note…iit seems that my (and our) response to this situation should have several aspects to it. One is it highlights our need for ever increasing dependence on, and obedience to Jesus Christ. Through the Holy Spirit we need to regularly seek the Lord’s insight and guidance in ALL matters, through prayer and the reading/hearing of the Word. Second is for us to cultivate (with the leading of the Holy Spirit) a sense of urgency to learn the Scriptures and be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ to those who are still lost. Thirdly is a continued commitment to speak out against what the Holy Spirit has so clearly led us to learn and understand about false teachings in His beloved Body…whatever the cost. Supporting each other in this is so important, and encouraging (which as you know, means to give courage…how appropriate). In saying this, there is no implication that any of you are not doing these things.

    It seems therefore, that the fellowship here (even when there is disagreement) is a worthwhile activity when we allow the Lord to lead us through his Spirit. I know in all these things I just mentioned I am but a baby in some areas, and perhaps a toddler in others. I therefore appreciate the time you all take (and you in particular, Craig) to research, read and learn so you can share with the rest of us. Keep it up! :-)

  244. To illustrate my point of the convergence of mysticism in all religions:

    http://www.themysticheart.org/links.html

    It is all there. No discernment. Buyer beware.

  245. @ Carolyn – the reference to the ‘need to go to the pit’ seems no different to me than the ‘dark night of the soul’ taught by St John of the Cross. Hmmm. I have avoided his books because they have stupid, stupid names (seriously, what in tarnation is ‘Dark Light’) but might have to have a peek if either is online. Be back in a moment ;-)

  246. Craig says:

    Constance Cumbey noted that when she told those in Christian leadership what she uncovered, she was given lip service and indifference. Later, some even expressed hostility. Can this account for the universal Church’s relative reticence on the subject of false movements within the Church?

    By the way, in the body of this article I hyperlinked gnosis as it applies to Gnosticism- here’s the url: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gnosis

    Going back to the Gnostic Redeemer Myth @ 8/30, 2:57pm (which is not a myth as in fictitious, it was truly believed by Gnostics; it’s like the parenthetical note before I quote Bailey’s 5 initiations: note that “myth” is defined earlier here as “a fact which can be proven”), compare that to Johnson’s words in the body of the article at footnote 7 AND footnote 7 itself with its additional quote.

  247. Just reread the article and footnotes. Johnson is in deep, dark water. And not the good, baptism kind. As for the gnostic redeemer myth, I do see parallels with BJ. Only the myth doesn’t seem to indicate the redeemer giving up his divinity (ironically, if so then it is a more accurate representation than what BJ teaches), but maybe that is just my reading of it. I also see strong parallels with the redeemer myth and the core story of many the Disney, Pixar and other adult Hollywood movies over the past 30 years. Is that any coincidence?

    Craig, I have many texts in PDF form if you are looking for source materials. I am finishing a list of my PDF books (about 200), including excellent Christian theology, as well as books on theosophy, other new age teachings, freemasonry, Catholicism, emergent church, NAR, Islam etc. If you are interested, I can email it to you. If you ever want a book off the list, just let me know and I can email it to you as an attachment. I do have a few gnostic-related books, as well as Alice Bailey, Many P Hall etc. Bad stuff. Ughh.

    I only buy ‘real’ books if they are good ones! Plus my Dad’s library is huge and spans about 80 years so I am slowly pilfering my inheritance early. The false teachers get purchased as Kindle or PDF formats only, and even then only if cheap, free or important to read. Happy to ‘lend’ them. Same goes for the crew.

  248. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn, thanks for your commentary. Beautifully stated, as always. It’s quite extraordinary how we get off into elitist grooves. And though true that sometimes removing ourselves from “religion”, we then become enmeshed by that very same elitist mindset because we are now the only ones who have it right. It seems we need each other in order to be continually brought back to the pathway of true Christianity because “we are always being led astray by our own deceptive hearts”. I will be reading over what you said and doing some heart searching today.

    Craig, what I meant was that I saw your point about gnosis being knowledge and Gnosticism being a very different thing. Words do have meanings and we don’t always get to redefine them ourselves. I didn’t get that across in the way I put it. But just to establish the fact that I understand the concept…here’s another example: “Pentecost” is much different than Pentecostalism. Just because they have the same root word does not bear out that they are the same. As my own experience has demonstrated, in Pentecostalism, there have been many additional teachings and traditions worked into the “ism”.

    More later.

  249. Carolyn says:

    Would it help to see the similarities if we put these side by side?

    Bill Johnson – Bringing Heaven to Earth (Part 2 of 2). Aug 20, 2010 3:10 – 4:30: “He forfeited everything because He owned everything; literally all that exists was His. And, He gave it all up to become a man; and, then He re-inherited everything as a man so that you and I would have an inheritance – the absolute mercy of God. So, now He stands after His triumphant Resurrection. The defeat of the power of death, hell and the grave – all that stuff was defeated, the power of sin. And, He stands before humanity and He says, ‘I got the keys back. That which was lost in the Garden, I’ve got it back. Now, let’s get back to plan A.’ And, he makes this profound statement; he says, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus did not make that declaration as God. Now, na – He’s eternally God; he’s not a created being, He didn’t ascend, ya know, to some position. He’s eternally God; but, He did not make that statement as God. How do we know? Because He said, ‘All authority’s been GIVEN to me.’ There’s no one higher than God to give God authority. When Jesus made that statement, He made the statement as OUR elder brother.”

    Bultmann, Article on the Fourth Gospel in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart:
    The basic elements in the Gnostic myth of redemption, the concrete features of which can very in details, are as follows: A heavenly being is sent down from the world of light to the earth, which has fallen under the sway of the demonic powers, in order to liberate the sparks of light, which have their origin in the world of light, but owing to a fall in primeval times, have been compelled to inhabit human bodies. This emissary takes a human form, and carries out the works entrusted to him by the Father; as a result he is not cut off from the Father. He reveals himself in his utterances (‘I am the shepherd’, etc.) and so brings about the separation of the seeing from the blind to whom he appears as a stranger. His own harken to him, and he awakes in them the memory of their home of light, teaches them to recognise their own true nature, and teaches them also the way of return to their home, to which he, as a redeemed Redeemer, rises again.

    What jumps out at me from the Redeemer Myth is the “redeemed Redeemer” comparing that to BJ’s declaration: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus did not make that declaration as God…”

    In both cases Christ Jesus is deposed of his divinity. In the very next sentence Bill Johnson contradicts what he just said, but that’s the point. You can’t have it both ways…his identity has to remain constant…doesn’t it? Biblically speaking, his identity is not redeemed Redeemer…since God did/does not need redeeming.

    Here’s what Scripture says: Revelation 1:18
    I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
    Here’s what Bill Johnson says: And, He stands before humanity and He says, ‘I got the keys back. That which was lost in the Garden, I’ve got it back. Now, let’s get back to plan A.’

    Is it just me, or is there a bit of embellishment going on here?

  250. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    In Gnostic Redeemer Myths, the Redeemer Himself is known as a “redeemed Redeemer”, implying a need for redemption. Yes, the statement indicates a remaining connection with the Father; however, implied also is that, in becoming human, He Himself was ‘trapped’ in a human body. This would seem to indicate a loss of divinity, as certainly the Divine can easily extricate Himself from a human body. It is because of this that He needed to be redeemed. By providing the example of one “going home”, He became a model for others to follow.

    Thanks for the offer on the pdfs. I’ll consider it.

  251. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    What I meant by the comment @ 8:58am is that there are two definitions for gnosis: “knowledge”, and the understanding of how Gnostics used it. If you’ll click on the link @ 8:58 and/or in the article itself, you’ll see that definition.

    Your comment referencing Johnson’s getting “back to Plan A” is also congruent with 2nd century Gnosticism. I should probably write a short article on Gnosticism for reference.

  252. Carolyn says:

    Last word on this subject from me:

    Quoting Craig: “The word mystery (Gr: musterion) is almost always used in the NT of a secret once hidden but now revealed IN JESUS CHRIST. It’s used as an apologetic against the so-called mystery religions, which had ‘secret knowledge’ that was purposefully withheld from outsiders, of the NT era. These secrets are the means by which adherents ‘progress’. Christians are to evangelize, not hold on to “secrets”. Yes, those outside of Christianity who do not possess the Holy Spirit cannot understand Christian spirituality; but it’s not withheld from them.”

    Quote from Sherryn: “The knowledge we have through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (i.e. to understand the Scriptures) is knowledge we have no right to be elitist about, or to boast about as something we have achieved through our own ability. It is (and should be!!) a humbling experience that true believers are grateful for, recognizing that we did nothing to deserve the gift of open eyes and ears.”

    This is the crux of the matter…this is what was giving me a sense of something not being quite right. The mystery has been revealed. It is hidden only to those who have their minds set on other things, the world. Whether or not I am misinterpreting what is being said in Dark Light or the Gnostic Jesus, there is nothing hidden. I DO believe that there ARE conditions for us being able to hear clearly and see clearly as laid out by Jesus in:
    Matthew 6:22
    The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
    In that case, the fault lies with what we wish to commit ourselves to, rather than the knowledge being secret, mystical or for the elite who have progressed into or achieved by means other than faith in Christ.
    Thanks for clarity on that issue, guys!

  253. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    To be clear, of course it’s quite alright to ask questions if there’s something you don’t quite understand. It’s the bringing in of outside material of a speculative and dubious nature to help potentially bolster your view, which I find objectionable. It sometimes results in getting far off the topic at hand. When looking at someone’s work you have to ask yourself “has anyone else done this; and, if not, does the individual provide back-up material (i.e., references, footnotes).”

  254. Carolyn says:

    It just goes to show how even intelligent people (like myself :-)) can be fooled by Gnosticism. I’ve never been particularly interested in the scholarly/historical debates on the subject because it didn’t seem relevant to me. Still, practically speaking, it shows how people can get absorbed into cults, especially if they like the leader.

    Craig, I don’t go looking to get off topic. It just happens that it is my special gift. And I totally understand your point about bringing in outside sources. It’s a reference point only. There is no expectation of figuring out the overall doctrinal error. I will however cease in that regard.

  255. Craig says:

    I see in my attempt at explanation, to encourage you to ask questions if you don’t understand something, I’ve not been clear enough. I’m not quite sure how else to put this. Basically, I don’t mind you asking questions. Please do so. Just don’t bring in outside links. It’s too time consuming to look at the link, try to figure out what THEY’RE saying, when you could just ask a direct question, which I can then answer from scratch.

    Clearer?

  256. Carolyn says:

    Yes, I am clear….I think…I’m pretty sure….yes, yes…I’m almost certain…yes, I am. Thank you. I will ask you questions without dragging you through the long and winding rabbit trail that I am in the process of following.

  257. Craig,

    I just came across BJ’s blog at http://bjm.org/blog/ while looking for something else in my blog reader. Far out, there is some disturbing stuff on there.

    Example:

    “Our royal identity never shines brighter than when we pursue hidden things with the confidence that we have legal access to such things.”

    Actually, the whole post is an appalling mangling of proof-texts: http://bjm.org/2013/01/god-hides-things-to-be-found/. I know, I know. It’s just that when I see this stuff after a break for a week or more, it really hits me in the face!

    This is from ‘Dreaming With God’. I have this book. It doesn’t actually make any sense. Truly, it doesn’t (except as a new age text, of course). God hides things to be found? So does my five year-old. Sometimes she hides herself. Sometimes my keys. Does that make her God too?

    I was reading this book a while ago, but like so many of these false teachers, I end up with five pages of notes regarding errors and I haven’t even gotten through the preface. It was the same with Banning Leibscher’s book ‘Jesus Culture’. No joke…two pages of notes before I had reached the end of the endorsements at the front of the book. I say this in great admiration of you and your kind who write the articles you do, making sense of nonsense. Which reminds me, are we to expect a new article soon? No pressure :-)

  258. Craig says:

    Johnson is all about mysticism. The mystic realm being the “real”, while the physical is “a field trip”.

    I’m working on answering the Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church post. Just when I think I’m near finished I find something else to address. It should be done and posted within 24 hours or so.

    As for future articles, only as the Lord leads and/or the flesh overcomes weakness.

  259. Pingback: Thoughts on Craig Keener’s Review of MacArthur’s ‘Strange Fire’ | CrossWise

  260. Craig says:

    While studying Ephesians 2:6 in Andrew T. Lincoln’s Word Biblical Commentary on Ephesians (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1990), for another project I’m working on, I found that the author pointed to a specific Gnostic work referencing this verse (p 107). My point is that 2nd century Gnostics had already sourced Ephesians 2:6 / Colossians 3:1-3 to make the same heretical theological point as Johnson made here. This is found in “The Treatise on the Resurrection (I,4)”:

    45…The Savior swallowed up death – (of this) you are not reckoned as being ignorant – for he put aside the world which is perishing. He transformed [himself] into an imperishable Aeon and raised himself up, having swallowed the visible by the invisible, and he gave us the way of our immortality. Then, indeed, as the Apostle said, “We suffered with him, and we arose with him, and we went to heaven with him.” Now if we are manifest in this world wearing him, we are that one’s beams [ED: His light], and we are embraced by him until our setting, that is to say, our death in this life. We are drawn to heaven by him, like beams by the sun not being restrained by anything. This is the spiritual resurrection 46 which swallows up the psychic in the same way as the fleshly. (translation by Malcolm L. Peel, The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition, San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1988, pp 54-55)

  261. Craig says:

    Here’s the same text in The Gnostic Bible:

    The Savior swallowed death. You must know this. He laid aside the perishable world and made himself into an imperishable aeon, raised himself up, and swallowed the visible with the invisible. Thereby he gave us our immortality. Then, as the messenger Paul said of him, “We suffered with him, we rose with him, and we entered heaven with him.”* Now, since we are seen in this world, we wear it like a garment. From the savior we radiate beams, and we are held in his arms until our own sunset, our death in this life. We are drawn to heaven by him, like beams, by the sun, and nothing holds us down. This is the resurrection of the spirit, which swallows up the soul and the flesh. (“The Treatise on Resurrection” in The Gnostic Bible, edited by Willis Barnstone, Marvin Meyer, Boston & London: Shambhala, 2003, p 328.)

    The asterisk above (mine) is a substitute for an original footnote reference which reads, “See Romans 8:17, Ephesians 2:4-6, Colossians 3:1-3.

  262. Craig says:

    Later on in this same text:

    …do not suppose that the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion. It is truth. It is more proper to say that the world is illusion [ED: as Johnson says, it's "a field trip"], rather than the resurrection that is because our lord and savior, Jesus the Christ (p 330).

  263. Hi Craig,

    Just came across your blog. I appreciate your depth of research and conviction.

    I came out of the WoF background about 15 years ago. Though I still believe in the miraculous and am a continuist, my viewpoints have greatly changed over the years. I realize that there was so much “sincere” error in my ideas and beliefs re: the supernatural in those days.

    I am a pastor. About 18 months back I had an elder on our team suddenly come out fully espousing BIll Johnson type positions. He gave us no warning that he had been moving in this direction. Caused a bit of a rift in our body, from which we have recovered. I am still very sad about where this brother now is though. I was pretty severely maligned as a control freak for not permitting the freedom for other leaders to teach these errors in our body.

    I have come to believe that perhaps the smoking gun of the entire WoF and MSoG errors is the wrong interpretation of one verse: “…and by His stripes we were healed.” Seems to me that it’s been the quest to see perfect physical healing…that has usurped the authority of the Scripture and even the orthodox doctrine of Christ.

    Why does Johnson so seek to limit the operation of Christ’s divinity while He was on earth? So he can prove that we have no excuse to come short of the healing power that Jesus walked in. I think it’s that simple. He has deified physical healing.

    To me it seems that the entire economy of this heretical movement exists to see absolute physical healing happen now…in every case…

    So they force every other text and every other biblical doctrine into the narrow mold of this wrong presupposition.

    “God coming IN His people” is code for, “Don’t think you have to wait for Jesus physical return to get all the miracles and perfect healing you need now. Jesus wants to come and do these things in perfection now IN His people without the need to return. Stop talking about Jesus’ second coming. Just get in on the party now.”

    As much as I believe in “looking to the cross”, and the idea of “the finished work of the cross,” I find more and more that the NT writers were not simply looking to the cross. They were deeply grounded in and informed by the cross, true. But they were looking to the actual literal returning of Jesus Christ. Their great hope (and ours as well), is not the church taking dominion over the world now…but Jesus’ bodily reappearing on earth. Not all Christ’s work of redemption is now finished. He must return to the earth and bring a baptism of fire and finally do away with sin and devils. Furthermore, our physical bodies must be changed. We must put off corruption and put on incorruption. These are all events and “works” that Christ will do in the future.

    So sorry for probably taking this thread off topic…and for the length. Just needed to get this stuff out of my heart and head and felt a connection to your work here. Blessings to you.

  264. Craig says:

    Dane,

    Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about your (former?) elder imposing BJ type views on your church.

    I’m short on time at present, but I’d agree, in part, about your assessment about the misinterpretation of the “by His stripes we are healed” verse. But, as I see it, it goes further than that. I’m convinced we are witnessing a resurgence of 2nd century Gnositicism, a Neo-Gnosticism. It’s rebranded a bit (not that 2nd century Gnosticism was uniform).

    Also, I’ll agree in part with your take of ‘God [Jesus] coming IN His people’. I see this as an expressly Neo-Gnostic, New Age / New Spirituality understanding that Jesus will NOT return physically. In this view, He’s already here (He never left), as He’s IN each and every ‘christed’ person. Further, Jesus was not actually THE Christ in the sense of being the one, unique Person of Jesus Christ; He BECAME the Christ, a view which is quite explicitly antichrist, as it denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. According to this heretical view, Jesus came in the flesh, but ‘the Christ’ came in the form of the ‘Christ anointing’ (“the anointing”); and, it’s this “anointing” which made Jesus into the Christ. And, this same anointing is available to all, hence, we are all “christs”.

  265. Craig, I’d be very surprised if Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, or any of the NAR guys would totally sell away the physical return of Jesus. But they are so focused on signs and wonders, and as you say, the Christ anointing, that they seem to pity if not scorn those who do not understand their revelation of dominionism.

    For all the mixed up stuff about Jesus emptying Himself of His divinity and all, I do not think that BJ and his group are trying to take any glory away from Jesus. They are simply trying to create more reasons for believers to expect to walk in full authority and dominion on earth….just like Jesus did. Their motive is to see more believers move in signs and wonders. Pure and simple.

    There is a huge Marcionite fringe too. The elder that twisted off in our body was promoting a “Jesus in the Gospels” hermeneutic. Any revelation of God’s nature or activity that doesn’t perfectly square with the actual life and ministry of Jesus is inferior. Since Jesus was the fullness of deity in human flesh, then if Jesus never refused to heal anyone, God the Father doesn’t refuse to heal. If Jesus never said, “I’m not healing you now, because I’m teaching you something through this affliction,” then God the Father likewise never uses affliction to teach his kids. Did Jesus ever take someone’s life prematurely? Then God never is never responsible for that either.”

    I asked the elder, “Then who was responsible for Ananias and Saphira’s death? He said, “We don’t know. The bible doesn’t tell us who killed them.” I said, “Come on, you can’t be serious. It is obvious that Peter considered the Holy Spirit responsible for their deaths, “You have not lied to men but to God…”

    I asked, “Who was responsible for rendering Saul of Tarsus physically blind on the Damascus road?” At this point he got embarrassed and blushed. But he would not recant. He said, “Well, if we allow for God being responsible for these sorts of things, then how can we ever pray for healing with full expectation?”

    My answer to him was, “It’s a relationship with God. You have to go to Him, make your request, and then let Him be God. But you can’t just cut out all the parts of the Bible that don’t support your healing doctrine.”

    His new hermeneutic was rooted in the “by His stripes we were healed” dogma. You take away the “healing is in the atonement” doctrine and a ton of the WoF type dogma goes away. All the seed faith and word faith doctrines were all schemes designed to help bring into manifestation what they believe has already been accomplished in the atonement: our perfect healing and prosperity.

  266. Craig says:

    Dane,

    Just to be clear, the words “Christ anointing” are Johnson’s (which mirror some 2nd century Gnostic texts, as I’ve pointed more than once on here). And, the way Johnson frames his statements about Jesus’ ‘anointing’ (see the post immediately preceding this for the exact quotes and references) indicates that Jesus is no more special than any other man in this regard:

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

    Given Johnson’s phraseology about the “Christ anointing”, aka “the anointing” (again, see previous post), he’s essentially denied that Jesus IS the Christ, which necessarily implies that Christ will not be returning bodily (a New Age / New Spirituality doctrine as well). But, I’m sure if pressed on this he’d say that that’s not the case, thereby contradicting his previous words. I’ve seen him do it more than once (quotes on Facebook, Twitter).

  267. worshiping the anointing by some reminds me of the brazen snake the children of Israel had begun to worship which God had Moses commission to heal them. It starts out as God and heads elsewhere.

  268. IWTT says:

    I am a pastor. About 18 months back I had an elder on our team suddenly come out fully espousing Bill Johnson type positions. He gave us no warning that he had been moving in this direction. Caused a bit of a rift in our body, from which we have recovered. I am still very sad about where this brother now is though. I was pretty severely maligned as a control freak for not permitting the freedom for other leaders to teach these errors in our body.

    All I can say is thank you for having a backbone and standing up for the truth of the Gospel and being a true Pastor/Shepard over the flock!

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